As promised last week, I finished Once a Liar by A.F. Brady and wanted to share my thoughts with you!
Let me start off by saying that this book is DARK. If you are looking for cuddly characters who warm your heart with whimsy…this is NOT your book. I love a good warm, whimsical novel myself but, let me tell you: I can get behind a look into the minds of some really evil folks. I really loved this book and it had a level of ‘couldn’t put it down’ ness that I really appreciated!
In Once a Liar, we follow Peter Caine…a hard-charging, cut-throat defense attorney who prides himself on his ability to be ruthless in getting his clients off of any and all charges against them. Caine has secrets, as you can imagine, and has used his charm and good looks to enchant the Manhattan upper echelons. There is nothing charming, however, beneath his handsome exterior.
Caine is not just a liar…he’s a cheater, a thief and a philanderer. So, when he’s implicated in the death of the daughter of one of his primary rivals…it’s easy to imagine that he’s heartless enough to have done it. He maintains his innocence, however, and fights to maintain his secrets while defending himself.
I was fascinated by how Brady developed her characters. This may sound sexist (and I’ll own my implicit bias) but it wasn’t until halfway through the book that I realized that the author was a woman. That revelation blew my mind in that I expected descriptions of such socio- and psychopathic thinking and behavior to come from the male mind. After reading the author bio in the book, I realized that Brady is a psychotherapist and has likely gained her understanding of these personality types from working with patients. If you like truly horrible characters, Brady draws them with precision!
You won’t know for sure until the very end whether or not Caine did it…and I, for one, love being kept in the dark. A number of possible suspects are presented throughout the book and I found myself chasing down each and every lead. Not many of the book’s characters are particularly sympathetic (even the victim herself is pretty sleazy) so it was easy to make a case in my mind for how any of them might have ‘done it.’ Often, in these kinds of books, I find the ending trite and too contrived. This one, however, kept me guessing but left me satisfied that justice would be served.
As I said, this is neither the ‘feel good’ book of the year nor perhaps the most profound work in the literary sense, but it is both riveting and truly disturbing. If you like a good mystery with a dose of pure evil, (and really, who doesn’t now and then? ) pick up Once a Liar and prepare to be enthralled!