Once a Liar by A.F. Brady
Park Row Books: 1/29/19
eBook review copy; 384 pages
Once a Liar by A.F. Brady is a highly recommended thriller.
Peter Caine is an eminent, successful Manhattan defense attorney. He
is handsome and charming to those he meets, those who could be some use
to him, but Peter is, in reality, a sociopath with no remorse, guilt, or
shame for any of his actions. His life and career have been carefully
constructed on a foundation of lies and the certainty that he deserves
When his ex-wife, Julianne, dies, Jamie, the estranged son Peter
gave up custody of and has no relationship with, comes to live with
Peter and Claire, his current girlfriend. Peter has been living with
Claire for eight years while simultaneously having an on-going affair
with Charlie (Charlotte), the step-daughter of his arch nemesis, New
York County DA Harrison Doyle. In fact, it was his on and off affair
with Charlie that broke up his marriage. When Charlie is found murdered,
the evidence increasingly seems to point to Peter's guilt.
As the narrator of Once a Liar, Peter Caine is an intensely
dislikeable character. The story, through Peter's eyes, follows events
from the past and present and offers insight into his character, or lack
thereof. Peter is a very well-developed character, even as his
integrity is increasingly in question and his sociopathy becomes
progressively clear as the plot advances. He is an unreliable narrator,
but an honest one based on his point-of-view.
Once a Liar is a well-written novel, especially in terms of
the character development of Peter. Initially Brady doles out
interesting insight into Peter's back story and character, which grips
your attention, but then the pace of the novel slows for a bit in the
middle. Keep reading, however, because all the little insights will
matter and the pace quickly picks up again. The ending twist is great.
Some readers might guess parts of it, but probably not the complete
picture. This is a very satisfying thriller.
My review copy was courtesy of Park Row Books.