The Good Liar

The Good Liar

by Nicholas Searle


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Spinning a page-turning story of literary suspense that begins in the present and unwinds back more than half a century, this unforgettable debut channels the haunting allure of Atonement as its masterfully woven web of lies, secrets, and betrayals unravels to a shocking conclusion.

Veteran con artist Roy spots an obvious easy mark when he meets Betty, a wealthy widow, online. In no time at all, he’s moved into Betty’s lovely cottage and is preparing to accompany her on a romantic trip to Europe. Betty’s grandson disapproves of their blossoming relationship, but Roy is sure this scheme will be a success. He knows what he’s doing.

As this remarkable feat of storytelling weaves together Roy’s and Betty’s futures, it also unwinds their pasts. Dancing across almost a century, decades that encompass unthinkable cruelty, extraordinary resilience, and remarkable kindness, The Good Liar is an epic narrative of sin, salvation, and survival—and for Roy and Betty, there is a reckoning to be made when the endgame of Roy’s crooked plot plays out.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062407498
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 02/02/2016
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 392,802
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Nicholas Searle grew up in the southwest of England and studied languages at the University of Bath. He spent more years than he cares to remember in public service before deciding in 2011 to leave and begin writing fiction. The Good Liar is his first novel. Nicholas lives in the north of England.

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The Good Liar: A Novel 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous 4 months ago
A good mystery with surprising twists.
KrittersRamblings More than 1 year ago
At the heart a con story, but beyond that an interesting story about how one's past informs their future. Roy has been a con man since an early age and even in his old age he is ready for one last con and has found an older woman who he thinks he can completely con out of her money. Betty the woman he has found to con has more than meets the eye and as the story unfolds I fell more and more in love with her. Once the story establishes itself, the chapters start to alternate between the present con and through Roy's history in reverse almost from one con to another. For the longest time I was wondering why it went in reverse and it almost bugged me til the end and I understood why and I finally liked how it was formatted. Can't tell you why! As this book totally hinges on the reveals, I can't talk too much about it, but I can say keep reading because it starts slow and you stay confused for a long time, but it is so worth it. There were actual moments in this book where I almost shut it and gave up, but stay til the end.
gloriafeit More than 1 year ago
In the early pages of this debut novel by Nicholas Searle, we met Roy, who, we are told, could “pass for seventy, sixty at a pinch,” but he is a decade older than that. He is meeting a woman on a blind date, each initially giving the other a “nom de guerre,” but they quickly admit the truth and re-introduce themselves to the other. He tells her “I can promise you that was the last time I will lie to you, Betty, everything I say to you from now on will be the truth. Total honesty. I can promise you, Betty. Total honesty.” As the title suggests, however, this in itself is as far from honesty as one can get. Instead, he sees in her little more than a mark, a very vulnerable woman. But once the bloom is off the rose, so to speak, she still things it can work, “for the sake of the satisfaction and security she craves.” The book is replete with flashbacks, each one rather lengthy, harking back decades earlier, first to mid-1998, then early 1963, mid-1946, and finally back to December of 1938 and a time of war. The writing is beautiful. One early scene in particular I would like to cite as an example: “Boys of secondary school age are mere blustering rhinos, carried on a wave of hormonal surges of which they are the helpless victims and to which they are utterly oblivious. Their female peers have gained an awareness. And with awareness comes uncertainty, expressed in various ways. The plain and studious invest in their faith that diligence and intelligence may help them navigate the horrors, away from loneliness and failure. The fresh-faced, pretty girls of the class - - pretty vacuous too, most of them - - sense inchoately that their attractiveness may be ephemeral and dependent on the vagaries of their coming physical development.” Roy turns out to be surprisingly likeable, this reader found, to her surprise. But be assured, please, that this novel is nothing at all what one expects, whatever that may be. From the publisher: “Roy’s entire life is a masterfully woven web of lies, secrets, and betrayals that will blindside you.” If anything, that understates the case. This is a book that stayed with me long after the cover had been closed and the last page read. And it is highly recommended.
Twink More than 1 year ago
The Good Liar is Nicholas Searle's first novel. Roy is an octogenarian......conman. When we first encounter Roy, he is trolling Internet dating sites, looking for an older woman he can separate from her money. His latest date is Betty - and he thinks she's perfect for his needs. "I do it because I can, because I'm good at it. And these people, these stupid complacent people...They need shaking up." But is she as clueless as Roy believes? Perhaps not - small snippets of dialogue led me to believe she wasn't. From Betty's thoughts..."Evidently he sees her as the gullible type." Searle is very adroit in his storytelling technique. Chapters flip from current day to the past as Roy's life is exposed in reverse. We begin in the immediate past and travel back to his childhood, as the present unfolds. Searle has plotted an inventive, complex life for Roy. As each chapter revealed more, I had an inkling of where the end (or beginning) was going. Although I was partially correct, Searle still surprised me. This is a slow building story, but Searle kept me engaged throughout. I was so curious after every chapter in Roy's life as to what would come next (or before) And throughout it all is Betty - an unknown quantity. What game is she playing at? Are they both good liars? Roy is, quite frankly, despicable. I grew more and more disgusted as his past came to light. Although we don't know as much about Betty, I was quite drawn to her, hoping......well, I had a certain ending in mind. I thought The Good Liar was quite a clever, unusual debut - one I enjoyed.