In The Good Liar by Nicholas Searle, Roy is a con-man finding and hooking up with elderly women on dating websites. He is calculating and cold, with a charm that just touches the surface as he finds the woman he is looking for. When he finds the one woman who is his ideal, and though he understands that Estelle is not her real name for purposes of the dating game, once he meets her, he realizes that she has all the qualities that he is looking for. She is refined; she has money and most of all she seems to be easy to be around. For him this is a snap, he has done this all before, and he is ready for his new game. He is not finding it as easy as he once did when he was younger.
She, on the other hand is no fool, but she is ready to take a stance. She is lonely and finds him to be attractive and attentive. Once she realizes that he is the man she is looking for they become closer and she reveals her name is really Betty. She also introduces him to her son, Stephen. She seems quite close to him and he seems very protective of her. Roy knows that it will be a challenge to get what he is after, but knows the rewards outweigh the risks.
After moving in together, Betty wonders if she has made the right decision. Stephen is not pleased, but he must be made to understand that her relationship with Ray is all for the best. For Ray, his life is both what he expects but some odd things are happening. Not sure he understands, he knows in his heart that he will get a big payload at the end of this con. But Betty seems different, yet he can’t quite put his finger on it. He will certainly miss her, but he is all about the con, and this will be a good one.
Can Betty find her way to understand the real man behind the mask, or has she known all along and just willing to put up with him for the sake of her loneliness?
Searle has given us characters that you either adore, or just hate. They are so real that you find you have a stake in the outcome, but be prepared for he has also given twists and turns and red herrings that change the game at each juncture. He gives us a great deal of history as well without us really even realizing it as his steady pace holds you enthralled and he keeps you wondering how the story will play out.
If you enjoy mystery, suspense and thrillers with history as part of the background this will be a great addition to your library. If you are looking for a strong protagonist, both Ray and Betty fit the bill in this strange, psychological work by Searle. This is his debut novel, so look out for more of his work in the future.