First Look: The Good Liar by Nicholas Searle
The story revolves around Roy, a conman living in a leafy English suburb who’s about to pull off the final coup of his career: he’s 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?
“When the agent called to talk to me about Nicholas Searle’s debut novel he hooked me on the first sentence: ‘It’s about a conman about to set off on the last con of his career.’
It feels as if conmen were around a lot more in our culture when I was growing up in the 1970s and 1980s – from Arthur Daley to Delboy. And of course, there are the great conmen of twentieth century fiction – Highsmith’s The Talented Mr Ripley, or le Carré’s utterly compelling A Perfect Spy. And yet the modern age is as ripe for the conman as ever – whether it’s the Nigerian prince telling you in an email that he can make your fortune to the little cons we witness in everyday life (MPs’ expenses anyone?).
The Good Liar has all the riches that the title suggests – it encapsulates the sordid world of a postwar Britain on its knees, back to the end of the war in Germany. But what it has at its heart is one of the most memorable characters in recent fiction – Roy – the conman to beat all conmen. A man with terrible secrets and very few morals. I read it in one sitting – chilled, gripped, delighted. I absolutely had to publish it.”