The Good Liar by Nicholas Searle

good liar

I received an advanced reader copy of ‘The Good Liar’ by Nicholas Searle from the publisher in return for an honest review. ‘The Good Liar’ is published in ebook and hardback by Viking on January 14th 2016 and is available on Amazon UK and Amazon US a well as from all good bookshops.

Roy Courtnay is a con man of the highest order. He ensnares women through Internet dating sites and is working on Betty to be the latest of his victims. But there is more to Roy than initially meets the eye and the lies of his past may be catching up with him more than he knows.

I’m finding it difficult to review ‘The Good Liar’ by Nicholas Searle as I can’t decide if I thought it was brilliant or I didn’t like it at all.

To deal with the negative first, I couldn’t bear the insidious, creepy and foul Roy to the extent that I felt uncomfortable reading about him and I was unable to empathise with him or to feel an emotional connection with the text. However, this suggests a high quality of writing that the author can make me feel this way and ‘The Good Liar’ is well written other than for a few cliched phrases.

The descriptions are excellent, and appeal to all the senses so that it is easy to picture the scenes in a kind of literary tapestry. The depiction of the sordid underbelly of criminality is sublime and at times there is a real elegance to the writing.

The plot is interestingly structured as it travels backwards in time, uncovering layers of Roy’s past so that it is difficult to know what is true and what is a fabrication. It is as sinuous as the snake on the cover. I found a couple of events slightly too far fetched, but then I think Roy has no moral compass except with regard to himself, and I’m not entirely familiar with those who appear to be psychopaths so this might be acceptable behaviour. I enjoyed the denouement of the story as I felt there was a closure for me as a reader as well as the characters, but I couldn’t decide if the final two chapters were superfluous.

I’m not sure what it was about ‘The Good Liar’ that didn’t fully appeal to my taste as a reader. I thought it was interesting but equally I felt as if I were detached from the reading experience rather than immersed within it. I’m sure others, however, will find Nicholas Searle’s style gripping and enthralling.

You can follow Nicholas Searle on Twitter.

7 thoughts on “The Good Liar by Nicholas Searle

  1. Not sure the premise is one that has me thinking I must read this but I’m intrigued by the author’s ability to create such a ‘creepy’ protagonist… and the authors ability to be able to work with such a character for the period of writing a novel… I saw Val McDermid talk a couple of times last year and she seemed to value short stories for her darkest, creepiest characters so she didn’t have to spend so much time with them… and also by you being detached rather than immersed – such a good topic to explore!


  2. Yvonne Richardson says:

    Hi. I’m interested in how you became a reader reviewer of advanced copies direct from the publisher? 5he review for t
    ‘The Good Liar” by Nicholas Searle was clear and honest. It certainly has me intrigued enough to seek it out. Thanks.


  3. I’m reading this just now for my book group. I remembered you had reviewed it and thought I’d have another look at your review. I’m not really sure what’s happening in it to be honest, but will keep at it for a while. Roy is a truly awful character!

    Liked by 1 person

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