The Good Liar by Nicholas Searle – a review

This was a novel that I picked up at the festival last year, mainly because I liked the bright red cover with the snake on the front. The blurb itself didn’t give away a lot about the story so it ended up quite low down on my to be read pile. I recently saw a couple of good reviews of it which intrigued me so picked it up to give it a go. I’m very glad I did.

Roy is an aging con-artist who despite already being very comfortably off can’t help trying to fleece more people. He meets lonely widower Betty via internet dating and is soon worming his way in with her and her family. It’s not long before he moves in and starts dispensing financial advice. As this story moves forward we also start to see what happened to Roy during his life as we go backwards through his history.

The Good Liar was an utterly engaging read. I must confess it started off quite slowly and I nearly gave up during the first few pages, but it soon dragged me in. The story at first seemed as though it was just a simple story of a con artist attempting to take an innocent old women’s savings. Yet it soon became completely engrossing and much more than just a replay of a long con. Whilst at no point did I find myself having sympathy with Roy I did find his history fascinating as we follow him back through his lifetime.

The writing in the book is excellent and I found the twists and turns to be very clever. The switching chapters were easy to follow and once you got into the style of them it was a good read. I thought it was interesting that the flashbacks go backwards which added to the suspense.

It is very difficult to review this book without giving away the plot and for me part of the enjoyment was that actually I didn’t have a clue what was going to happen until I read it. Therefore I don’t want to spoil it for others by giving too much away. I can imagine it is going to be a big hit with book groups as it is a story that needs to be talked about and will divide opinion. However I thoroughly enjoyed it and whilst sadly the cover is no longer red, the snake is still there so I would definitely recommend picking it up.



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