Author: Nicholas Searle
Genre: general fiction, mystery
Published: February 2016
Source: TLC Book Tours for review
This is a life told back to front.
This is a man who has lied all his life.
Roy is a conman living in a small English town, about to pull off his final con. He is going to meet and woo a beautiful woman and slip away with her life savings. But who is the man behind the con?
What has he had to do to survive a life of lies?
And who has had to pay the price?
Nicholas Searle's The Good Liar has a lot of promise and a lot of potential; for a debut novel it succeeded more than it faltered. At times, though, it also feels quite cluttered and confusing as a narrative. The first half of the novel really was an uneven experience with the lack of connection and the frequent flashbacks, but the last half helps to rectify the earlier missteps into a more cohesive story.
One thing The Good Liar does really well at is establishing a real sense of suspense and distrust. From the beginning of the book it is obvious there's more to what's going on than what it seems on the surface. It can be a bit frustrating to wait so long and through so much detail before piecing the elements together, and that fact made it hard for me to really care about the characters, whether in the past or in the present.
I have to admit that the twist was pretty well done, but the end of the novel felt a little short. It wasn't a terrible ending, but it lacked the feeling and resolution the story needed. The Good Liar ends better than it started but it just lacked an emotional core and that made it hard for me to invest. I can appreciate the narrative sleight of hand though; it also does feel like a novel told in reverse.