I received this book free from TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Good Liar: A Novel by Nicholas Searle
Published by Harper on February 2nd 2016
Source: TLC Book Tours
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Spinning a page-turning story of literary suspense that begins in the present and unwinds back more than half a century, this unforgettable debut channels the haunting allure of Atonement as its masterfully woven web of lies, secrets, and betrayals unravels to a shocking conclusion
Veteran con artist Roy spots an obvious easy mark when he meets Betty, a wealthy widow, online. In no time at all, he’s moved into Betty’s lovely cottage and is preparing to accompany her on a romantic trip to Europe. Betty’s grandson disapproves of their blossoming relationship, but Roy is sure this scheme will be a success. He knows what he’s doing.
As this remarkable feat of storytelling weaves together Roy’s and Betty’s futures, it also unwinds their pasts. Dancing across almost a century, decades that encompass unthinkable cruelty, extraordinary resilience, and remarkable kindness, The Good Liar is an epic narrative of sin, salvation, and survival—and for Roy and Betty, there is a reckoning to be made when the endgame of Roy’s crooked plot plays out.
‘He is not sure he believes in fate, or whether he believes in anything but the very present. Then again, life has treated him well generally.’
Roy is now in his 80s but is set on doing another con, after all it’s what he’s done his entire life. Betty is a widow of a similar age and has agreed to have a drink with a man named Roy whom she met on the Internet. The two develop a quick familiarity with one another and little to no time passes before they’ve agreed to something of a companionship and begin living together. It all seems very easy and Roy is already considering this con to be a slam dunk, however, Betty is more aware of what’s actually going on than he knows.
The story initially splits POV between Roy and Betty and their new life together before diving into the past where bit by bit Roy’s background is revealed. His past details are what make up the majority of this story and is ultimately where The Good Liar left me struggling to stay involved. Every aspect of his past is something that needs knowing for the most part, you just don’t realize it at the time because it’s something you need to know in order to understand the plot twist near the end. But while immersed in his past, it becomes extremely difficult to understand how it’s in any way relevant to the story. Roy is also one of those characters you have a hard time feeling anything for, being a rather unemotional guy himself, this left him somewhat uninteresting for the most part. He was your cardboard cutout con man whose real motivations in life didn’t narrow down to much. Once we’re fully in the know in regards to Roy, the author switches to Betty’s past. Much less time is spent on her background which was a real shame seeing as that portion of the story was its biggest strength. Betty’s troubled past is handled deftly and managed to finally draw me into the story, albeit near the end. The twist managed to be interesting yet still expected once all the facts were revealed.
The Good Liar is being marketed as a crime story yet it should be said its primarily a character study. The pacing of the story is at times exasperating but the author skillfully disperses small nuggets of import to keep you curious throughout. The mystery itself may have taken too long to unravel but this was nonetheless a finely written debut novel.
This post was a part of ‘The Good Liar’ blog tour.
Check out the other tour stops below!
Tuesday, February 2nd: From the TBR Pile
Wednesday, February 3rd: Priscilla and Her Books
Thursday, February 4th: I’m Shelf-ish
Monday, February 8th: Ageless Pages Reviews
Tuesday, February 9th: Vox Libris
Wednesday, February 10th: Curling Up by the Fire
Tuesday, February 16th: Book Journey
Thursday, February 18th: Kritters Ramblings
Monday, February 22nd: Jenn’s Bookshelves
Tuesday, February 23rd: Books and Bindings
Wednesday, February 24th: she treads softly
Thursday, February 25th: FictionZeal
Thursday, February 25th: A Bookworm’s World