Nicholas Searle’s The Good Liar – an enthralling start to a book that got deeper than I expected

Book Reviews, Book Thoughts, Writing

  Aged Roy and Betty find each other online, and go on a date – but neither of them are looking for love. Their relationship continues nevertheless, but each of their ulterior motives guide their actions. At the same time we delve into Roy’s past, through war, tricks, blackmail and more learning just how he came to be the way he is – and why he and Betty have embarked on this final enterprise.

The start of this book was just genius. I love a. con stories b. stories about online dating (is this just me? I always read the articles that pop up on Facebook!) and c. stories about old people… and this had all three! So I embarked upon the book with high hopes for a hilarious tale of old people trying to con each other. And that element was there and I did enjoy it, but after the initial set up things were getting a bit deeper.

??’s backstories were intriguing and varied in themselves – and the mystery of why he is doing what he is doing now, and how on earth all these things can fit into one life. It was fun to try to piece everything together; and there were twists that I certainly was not expecting.

But it frustrated me too – I was forever wanting to find out what is going on in the present; and more, to learn more about Betty’s life, as her motivations were by far the more intriguing. They didn’t seem to be just money based. I was hoping for a book about both of them rather than mainly about Roy, but I had to wait a long time until my curiosity about Betty was addressed!

And indeed they were not. I did enjoy this book, but it was far from the light-hearted con story that I expected from the start of it. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I admit to being a little disappointed. I was looking forward to a good con story – but perhaps it wouldn’t have filled such a long book.

The end was pretty satisfying, and it was a good read with a lot of intrigue and twists that were unpredictable. I was kept reading throughout despite my confusion and frustration at where all the threads were leading – and if I was hoping for something a little more shallow it is probably my own fault! It’s out next January and has fantastic cover art – look out for it!

Thanks to Penguin and to Netgalley for my review copy – which of course in no way affected my review.

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