Nicholas Searle: The Good Liar

The premise of the novel was what originally drew me in and made me want to buy the book. But after reading the novel, I’m not sure it was such a wise choice . . .

The Good Liar follows Roy and Betty. Roy is a conman who is attempting to complete his final job and rid Betty of all her life savings by becoming friendly with her and building a relationship on companionship and trust. But Roy is elusive; he holds a past that is riddled with lies and, as the cover conveniently mentions – ‘only a lie will reveal the truth.’

It’s clear to see why I was drawn to the premise of the novel. A book about deception, truth, and lies had me imagining a novel filled with mystery and suspense – exactly what the book was lacking. I never once found myself sufficiently intrigued as to who Roy really was, accepting that his character was deceptive to everyone around him. Around halfway through the book you start to become aware of who Roy is, and I found this slightly upsetting that the ruse had been given away well in advance of the novel reaching its climax. There are no scenes of complex questioning, there are no subtle hints as to the identity of Roy and, alongside the writing style, I wasn’t particularly drawn to the narrative in general. It was all a bit slow and mundane.

Without spoiling the book, the most interesting part would definitely have been the last 100 or so pages where the book finally reaches the end of the narrative and Roy’s identity is finally revealed to the secondary characters. It was at this moment that I became more intrigued as the ‘lie’ revealed the ‘truth’ about Roy and the novel came to an almost calm, and typical ending.

I feel bad saying this given the hype surrounding this book on Twitter, but I really did not understand why the book was being hyped up so much. It is not a book I would typically recommend to another reader and I found myself overall, quite disappointed.

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