Title: Once a Liar by A. F. Brady
Publisher: Park Row Books
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 384 pages
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
In this electrifying psychological thriller, a high-powered sociopath meets his reckoning when he’s accused of the brutal murder of his mistress.
Did he kill Charlie Doyle? And if he didn’t…who did?
Peter Caine, a cutthroat Manhattan defense attorney, worked ruthlessly to become the best at his job. On the surface, he is charming and handsome, but inside he is cold and heartless. He fights without remorse to acquit murderers, pedophiles and rapists.
When Charlie Doyle, the daughter of the Manhattan DA—and Peter’s former lover—is murdered, Peter’s world is quickly sent into a tailspin. He becomes the prime suspect as the DA, a professional enemy of Peter’s, embarks on a witch hunt to avenge his daughter’s death, stopping at nothing to ensure Peter is found guilty of the murder.
In the challenge of his career and his life, Peter races against the clock to prove his innocence. As the evidence mounts against him, he’s forced to begin unraveling his own dark web of lies and confront the sins of his past. But the truth of who killed Charlie Doyle is more twisted and sinister than anyone could have imagined…
Narrated in first person by sociopath lawyer Peter Caine, Once a Liar by A. F. Brady is an absolutely compelling mystery.
Peter is a cold, calculating man whose every decision is based on how his choices benefit him. A completely remade, successful defense attorney, his marriage to Juliette ended not long after the birth of their only son, Jamie. Seeing little advantage to paying any attention to Jamie, Peter is content to ignore both son and ex-wife until tragedy strikes. After Jamie comes to live with him, Peter is still aloof and indifferent to the teenager and he leaves his live-in girlfriend Claire to parent the young man.
Peter has recently ended his long time, on again/off again relationship with Charlotte “Charlie” Doyle. However, after she is brutally murdered, suspicion falls on Peter. Fearing his simmering feud with District Attorney Harrison Doyle will result in his arrest, Peter and his partner/attorney Sinan Khan try to unearth evidence that will point to Charlie’s killer. Will Peter uncover the perpetrator’s identity before he arrested for Charlie’s murder?
Peter is an incredibly manipulative man who will do anything to succeed. Except for one memorable (and regrettable) time, he is also quite secretive and cagey about his past. At first completely enamored with Juliette, it does not take make for his love to turn to disdain. Although Peter makes no effort to hide his affair with Charlie during his marriage to Juliette, he is much more circumspect with Claire. He has been completely upfront and honest with Claire about what he does and does not want from their relationship. Fully aware that she has put aside her dream of having kids for him, he puts her yearning for motherhood to good use once Jamie comes to live with them. Having finally seen an advantage to being a parent, Peter’s attempts to get to know his son are rather awkward and stilted.
The investigation into Charlie’s murder immediately focuses on Peter. With a former client publicly pointing the finger at him, Peter is desperate to change the narrative in hopes of avoiding arrest. Despite his strenuous claims of innocence, it is impossible for Sinan to completely believe Peter. With the noose slowly tightening, Peter makes one last desperate attempt to clear his name. Will his plan succeed?
Once a Liar is a fiendishly clever and highly entertaining mystery. Peter is easy to hate as he carelessly breaks the hearts of the people who love him. With a series of stunning twists and diabolical turns, A. F. Brady keeps readers in suspense about who murdered Charlie and why until the novel’s shocking conclusion. A devilishly fascinating read that I absolutely loved and highly recommend to readers of the genre.