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The Good Liar

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3.31  ·  Rating details ·  2,536 ratings  ·  456 reviews
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?

When Roy meets a we
...more
Hardcover, Deckle Edge, 352 pages
Published February 2nd 2016 by Harper
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Sarah.hiscoke I struggled at the beginning of this book and just finished reading it last night. I loved it, to the point that chapter 10 (which I found hard…moreI struggled at the beginning of this book and just finished reading it last night. I loved it, to the point that chapter 10 (which I found hard wondering what that was about) I went and re read before I got to the end. I will say persevere it's looking at someone's life kind of backwards when you get to chapter 15 or 16 it all begins to make sense. (less)

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3.31  · 
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 ·  2,536 ratings  ·  456 reviews


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Gary
Nov 21, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a very good debut novel by Nicholas Searle, who I am sure we will hear a lot more of.

I enjoyed this story of an elderly con man who is planning his last money making scheme only things aren't what they seem to be. The book goes backwards and forwards in time as his life story unfolds and gives the reader plenty of food for thought to the real Roy.

There were large periods in this book when I was completely absorbed in the story and found it very difficult to put it down. But overall I fel
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Liz Barnsley
Jan 07, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved The Good Liar. A clever and winding tale looked at all the wrong way round and upside down but so brilliantly addictive with a dry yet compelling style.

We start with Roy meeting Betty for the first time on a "blind" date. I was immediately hooked due to the way this was presented by the author and I knew right there that this was going to be one that would engage me. Saying anything else on the plot, bar the fact that it moves backwards in time in our learning curve about Roy, whilst movin
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Susan
Jul 26, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a very interesting, and assured, debut novel. In a way though, it is a little difficult to review without giving away the plot and I have no wish to do that.

The story begins with Roy, who is an elderly con man, who has a blind date with Betty. As the novel unfolds, we gradually learn more about Roy’s past and his string of escapades, which have left him financially comfortable. Still, he cannot resist the opportunity to pull off one last con and intends to rob Betty of her life savings.
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Joanne Sheppard
It seems from other reviews, both by readers and professional critics, that most people have enjoyed Nicholas Searle's first novel, The Good Liar. That puts me in a minority: while I felt The Good Liar was a confident debut, I found much of the story rather flat and even dull. I'd be hard-pushed to find much wrong with Searle's actual prose - his sentences are well-crafted and his descriptive details well-observed and well-chosen - but I found it impossible to really immerse myself in this book ...more
Roger Brunyate
Jun 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries-kinda
A Lifetime of Deceit
Quick inspection. Immaculate white shirt: yes. Creases of grey flannels: perfect. Spit-shined shoes: gleaming. Regimental stripe tie: well knotted. Hair: combed neatly. Blue blazer off hangar, and on. Fits like a glove. Glance in the mirror: he'd pass for seventy, sixty at a pinch.
In fact, Roy Courtnay is eighty, but meeting an online date for the first time, he must make a good impression. Establish a persona, in fact. There is something a little slick in everything he doe
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Bettie☯
Penguin(UK) Viking

Description: 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?


Opening: It is, Roy thinks, perfect. Kismet, serendipity, destiny, happenstance; call it what you will. All of these
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Blair
20 August 2015 - included in my 'catching up' blog post

Reviews of this are supposed to be embargoed until close to the release date, so I'll be publishing a more detailed write-up later. For now, I'll just say that I'm not surprised this is being talked about as one of Penguin's big debuts of 2016 - it's got that 'unputdownable' quality in spades. It starts as the story of Roy, an ageing conman who, after a series of dispiriting dates in gastropubs, appears to have found his perfect mark - Betty
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Rachel Hall
Much lauded by the critics and literary press, Nicholas Searle's debut seems to have garnered a more muted reception from readers and has divided opinion. The premise though, is irresistible, with conman Roy Courtnay setting out for one last scam to set him up nicely and ride off into the sunset. Although already comfortably wealthy from his previous escapades and underhand dealings, he sets out with a plan to fleece the unsuspecting woman who he selects via his internet dating account. That wom ...more
Betsy Robinson
Dec 30, 2015 rated it liked it
A good tale of the escapades of an inveterate con man named Roy. He lies for the joy of it: “it’s a weakness, a compulsion. The painstaking construction of the lie and its intricate underpinnings: they make the adrenaline flow. . . . It’s necessary not to ignore the endgame, but that’s not where the sense of accomplishment lies for Roy. It’s in the execution, the act of deception. (103)”

I’ve known pathological liars and the times I’ve been an unwitting personal witness to blatant lies and fabric
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Kari
Jan 02, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: for-review, 2016
The Good Liar is a debut novel that involves lies, lies and more lies. The story goes back and forth between the past and the present. In the present, 80 something Roy is looking for his last big con. He hopes to find it with Betty. She seems to have her own motives as well. The rest of the book takes you back through Roy's past in reverse order in which you find out more about him and his life as a con man.

I'm not sure this book really worked for me. I wanted to like it more than I did. For me
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Jill
Jan 20, 2016 rated it liked it
Roy is a bona fide liar but he’s not at all good. As the layers of his life are peeled away, we experience him at different junctures – starting at the present and going back in time to the late 1930s – and with each revelation, he becomes more and more heinous.

Lying is sport to Roy. “One big lie is all you ever need, he knows through experience, and to feel the joy solely internally is gratifying enough. It’s necessary not to ignore the endgame, but that’s not where the sense of accomplishment
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♡ Kim ♡
Dec 31, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: i-own, giveaway-wins, arc
Thank you Harper and Goodreads First Reads for my copy of The Good Liar! :) I am looking forward to reading it!
Paul
Jan 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: crime-thrillers
The Good Liar – A Great Debut Thriller

Nicholas Searle makes his debut with the much spoken about book The Good Liar a book that will grip you and horrify you in equal measure, but make you smile at the end. This book could also be described as the continuing fight of good versus evil; a good heart verses a dark heart, which makes for an intriguing read and a quite compulsive thriller.

Roy has been a conman for as long as he can remember, his working life since the war has been about grifting, it
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Julie
Mar 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
The Good Liar by Nicholas Searle is a 2016 Harper publication. I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I’m still at a loss for words here in regards to this book. Categorized as a mystery thriller, I was ready to dive into a what seemed like a good, complex, and smart novel. All of those elements are here, but I must warn anyone interested in this title, that this book is nothing like the typical suspense thriller. If you are looking fo
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Laura
Jan 11, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an engrossing page-turner which starts out being one kind of story but ends up being something very different. For a debut novel, it’s quite astonishingly good.

Eighty-something-year-old Roy is a con artist. And he’s not a twinkly-eyed, light-fingered rogue either; Roy, we learn very quickly, is a malevolent, hateful old man. Despite having pulled successful scams for much of his adult life and having the resources to retire in comfort, Roy craves the adrenaline of one final wheeze. Ente
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Joanne Robertson
Dec 13, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
I was looking forward to this book as I thought a more mature character was something a little bit different. This is a very intelligent and self assured debut from the author and although it turned out to be not quite up my street, it is certainly a book that will be well received by others.
Roy, an aging conman is on the lookout for his last "Mark" and meets her in the form of Betty. Betty is about to be fleeced of every penny she owns but first we have a few little trips back in time to discov
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Bonnie
Dec 30, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery, blog-tours, arcs
My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars

‘He is not sure he believes in fate, or whether he believes in anything but the very present. Then again, life has treated him well generally.’

Roy is now in his 80s but is set on doing another con, after all it’s what he’s done his entire life. Betty is a widow of a similar age and has agreed to have a drink with a man named Roy whom she met on the Internet. The two develop a quick familiarity with one another and little to no time passes before they’ve agreed to somet
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Salima Bensalah
The Good Liar is a fantastic debut about a narcissistic con-man known as Roy. In his old age, he tries his luck in online dating and eventually strikes gold with Betty: a wealthy grandmother. The relationship quickly intensifies,while the novel flashes back to the past, revealing the truth behind Roy's past, and ultimately the woman he grows to know. With an explosive start, a gripping climax and a brilliant twist at the end, The Good Liar is a clever thriller that really plays with your head, a ...more
switterbug (Betsey)
Dec 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
It is astonishing that this is a debut novel from British author Nicholas Searle. It is balanced and alluring; the more you read, the more it ropes you in. He has paid careful and loving attention to plot, character, rhythm, structure, pace, tone, and prose, so that the reader stays fully engaged through to the long end game.

The main character, Roy, is an imposing man, and a strident one at times, no matter that he is 80-something years old. We know early on that he is a professional confidence
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Katy Noyes
Nov 20, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars

Stories about conmen always interest me - I love The Sting, Hustle, Paper Moon - but they don't show up often in fiction. I'd heard good things about this from other early reviewers and wanted to try it.

At first, it seems simple enough - we have an elderly man scouting for a final 'rich widow' victim, Roy finds Betty on a dating website and easily schmoozes his way into her life.

It seems that all we are waiting around to see then is the long con, the eventual wearing down of the widow
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Col
Jan 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016, s
Synopsis/blurb……

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 leafy English suburb, about to pull off the final coup of his career.
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 and what has he had to do to survive this life of lies?

And why is this beautiful woman so willing to be his next victim?
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My take.....

A fantastic debut from Nicholas Searle.

Roy’s a bit long
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Sarah
Mar 22, 2016 rated it liked it
I've been plodding away on this for quite a while, which perhaps should have been a good indicator to myself that I wasn't exactly finding it absorbing. That said this is a very interesting premise - an older conman working on his 'easy mark' - a lady named Betty he finds online as he works to get his hands on her life savings. Of course it's not that simplistic, and the story jumps all over the place, (which at times I found a little confusing) and although it does unravel it's done very slowly ...more
Kit Waal
Jul 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Clever and slick, great writing with a plot that never falters and keeps you engaged right to the end. The beautiful child of Graham Greene and John le Carre, highly recommend if you like both.
oshizu
Feb 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019-read-in
3.5 stars rounded up. I fear my inclination to round up might be influenced by the fact that Sir Ian McKellen will star--alongside Helen Mirren--in this book's adaptation to hit movie theaters this autumn. Starts out rather slow but deserves being read to the end.
Renita D'Silva
Apr 26, 2017 rated it liked it
Loved this - funny and subversive. A clever story.
David Reviews
Aug 13, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

This is an enjoyable read that builds from a slow start to dissect the eventful and dishonest life of con-man Roy. The book begins with him in his eighties just as he lines up his next victim to relieve of her money. Betty seems the right age, pleasant enough, likeable and gullible enough to facilitate his next con. But Betty has a few surprises of her own which Roy and the reader discover in the author’s own good time. This develops into a good read with plenty of interest and an excellent twis
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Kasa Cotugno
Meet Roy Courtnay. Better yet, don't. Roy, a master of the very long con, does not want to meet you unless there's something in it for him, particularly if it's at your expense. Before you know it, you may find yourself staring off wondering, What the hell just happened? This debut novel is a lot of fun, but more so, has a lot to say.

Even though he doesn't need the money, Roy has decided on one final coup. He's in his advanced 80's, but he is hardwired to be a scoundrel and will go down smirkin
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Babus Ahmed
Dec 27, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This debut literary fiction novel by Nicholas Searle really is told back to front. A career conman, Roy, seems to have flitted through life moving from Mark to mark. He's experienced, instinctual and self-assured, but as he ages he decides to pull off one more job, which leads him to meet the charming Betty. As he woos her into position, he remains unaware that there's more to Betty than he bargained for.

I must say when I started reading this book I did find it incredibly dull until I got about
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Becky
Jul 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Not at all what I was expecting and very good indeed. This is set to be thriller of the month but to my mind this is not really an adequate classification of the book. In some ways it reminded me of Norwegian by Night, something about the themes and the tone perhaps. There was also the chance at times that this would take a slightly comic turn, certainly the idea of a geriatric con artist having one last shot at the long con and maybe biting off more than he can chew has comic possibilities. How ...more
Mo
Jan 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
3 1/2 stars

This novel is the story of 2 people, a man and a woman, each with their own agenda.

My notes while reading this book:
• Depressing! Best read by a young person
• 4 stars right now
• There is lots of flitting around in time – actually, too much. I like the current story better than the backstory.
• The story is starting to drag
• Christ, enough with all of these hints. What is happening and where is this story taking us?
• Page 194 - the lightbulb just went off over my head – WOW!
• I now see
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