Monday 25 November 2019

Book review : Once A Liar - A. F. Brady

Once A Liar tells the story of hotshot American lawyer Peter Caine. Starting out from nothing, he has worked his way up to the top, securing a job working for Marcus Rhodes in an influential law firm that gives him both power and money. It has also given him a wife, in the form of Marcus's daughter Juliette, who falls for his charms and ends up having a son with him. But that was before. The book is split into alternating "now" and "then" chapters and in the now parts, we watch Peter and his new live-in girlfriend Claire comforting Jamie, the now adolescent son, at Juliette's funeral. Peter and Juliette divorced many years ago and he had little to do with his son's upbringing, but now he will have to step up to the mark and adopt him.

This, however, ends up being the least of his worries. Peter is the kind of man who thinks he deserves anything and everything he wants, so, unsurprisingly, he has a lover, Charlotte (or Charlie). They started having the odd fling when he was married to Juliette and now sneak around behind Claire's back. Claire eventually finds out and tells Peter it has to stop. This is ultimately what happens, but Peter doesn't have much choice in the matter : Charlie is found dead. He soon turns into the prime suspect, but did he really commit this heinous crime? He calmly states that he is innocent and he clearly believes this, but does that necessarily make it the truth ?

The problem that I had with this book is that Peter is such an arrogant, masochistic, self-loving character that I didn't really care what happened to him. He is clearly incapable of actually feeling anything real, either for his women or even his son. This may not be entirely his fault, in terms of psychology, but he is so manipulative, emotionless and self-serving that it becomes hard to take his word on anything (a sentiment apparently shared by his fellow lawyer). This made it very hard to actually care what happened to him. Having mistreated people throughout his whole life, it actually seems almost fair for him to get a taste of his own medicine.

I found the first half of the book to be very long and slow. I understand that it was necessary to set the scene and give a good description of his behaviour and mentality, past and present, but it ended up seeming a bit tedious. The pace did pick up for the second half of the book though, and I didn't actually see where the book was headed until the final chapter.

Overall, I wasn't a huge fan of the book, but I think this was largely because the main protagonist is so selfish and uncaring.

star rating : 3.5/5

RRP : £7.99 (but I picked it up at The Works in their 3-for-£5 deal)

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: HQ (13 Jun. 2019)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1848457340
  • ISBN-13: 978-1848457348


  1. A new author for me - sounds brill Thankyou for the review

  2. Oh dear, the main character sounds awful, a kind of person we like to loathe. I'm curious as to what the ending was. I've just finished a book set in 1903, with another misogynistic man as one of the characters. Looks like not much has changed in this world in the last hundred years.


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