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Deception: A Novel Paperback – May 10, 2005

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 311 pages
  • Publisher: Back Bay Books; Reprint edition (May 10, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316058572
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316058575
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,516,316 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

When psychiatrist Susie Harriott is convicted of murdering Glasgow serial killer Andrew Gow, her husband, Lachlan, embarks on a frantic search for material that may help with her appeal. But in going through her files, he finds layer upon layer of nasty secrets... or does he? Lachlan's diaries tell the dark and complicated story, claiming, variously, both absolute fact and deliberate fantasy. In medical school when he met Susie, Lachlan gave up his day job to be a house husband and dream of being a writer after the birth of their daughter, Margie, now a toddler. Deception (and self-deception) abounds, including the inevitable dalliance between Lachie and the au pair, Yeni, who shares her employer's primal hunger for sticky childhood candies. But it's voice, not event, that grabs hold of the reader and won't let go. Lachlan Harriott immerses us in his obsessions; like Nabokov's Humbert Humbert, he repels and commands sympathy in the same instant. He is a charming, comic, intelligent narrator—and a man who might happily see his wife rot in prison, not for murder, but for the greater sin of rejecting him. Susie herself is seen as if through a long lens that can barely contain her beautiful, sorrowful image; what she did or didn't do is less compelling than what her husband reveals (or invents) about himself in his new life after her conviction. Mystery lovers have lately been looking to Scotland, in part because of Mina's fast-growing reputation; this stunning new work can only bolster the trend.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Bookmarks Magazine

Deception marks a departure from Mina’s earlier work, award-winning crime novels set in the dark underbelly of Glasgow. Most critics agree that her use of the “unreliable narrator” is masterful. She slowly reveals that all is not as it seems; even self-deception abounds. As Mina peels away the onion, the househusband with tenacious loyalty to his convicted wife has his own questionable agenda. Deception keeps you guessing, yet manages to be much more than a mere whodunit, thanks to Mina’s strong psychological characterizations. These create a story, as it unfolds in the form of the protagonist’s diary, which is “car-crash irresistible” (Washington Post).

Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Denise Mina was born in Glasgow in 1966. Because of her father's job as an engineer, the family followed the north sea oil boom of the seventies around Europe, moving twenty one times in eighteen years from Paris to the Hague, London, Scotland and Bergen. She left school at sixteen and did a number of poorly paid jobs: working in a meat factory, bar maid, kitchen porter and cook. Eventually she settle in auxiliary nursing for geriatric and terminal care patients.
At twenty one she passed exams, got into study Law at Glasgow University and went on to research a PhD thesis at Strathclyde University on the ascription of mental illness to female offenders, teaching criminology and criminal law in the mean time.
Misusing her grant she stayed at home and wrote a novel, 'Garnethill' when she was supposed to be studying instead.
'Garnethill' won the Crime Writers' Association John Creasy Dagger for the best first crime novel and was the start of a trilogy completed by 'Exile' and 'Resolution'.
A fourth novel followed, a stand alone, named 'Sanctum' in the UK and 'Deception' in the US.

In 2005 'The Field of Blood' was published, the first of a series of five books following the career and life of journalist Paddy Meehan from the newsrooms of the early 1980s, through the momentous events of the nineteen nineties. The second in the series was published in 2006, 'The Dead Hour' and the third will follow in 2007.
She also writes comics and wrote 'Hellblazer', the John Constantine series for Vertigo, for a year, published soon as graphic novels called 'Empathy is the Enemy' and 'The Red Right Hand'. She has also written a one-off graphic novel about spree killing and property prices called 'A Sickness in the Family' (DC Comics forthcoming).
In 2006 she wrote her first play, "Ida Tamson" an adaptation of a short story which was serialised in the Evening Times over five nights. The play was part of the Oran Mor 'A Play, a Pie and a Pint' series, starred Elaine C. Smith and was, frankly, rather super.
As well as all of this she writes short stories published various collections, stories for BBC Radio 4, contributes to TV and radio as a big red face at the corner of the sofa who interjects occasionally, is writing a film adaptation of Ida Tamson and has a number of other projects on the go.

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 37 people found the following review helpful By tregatt on August 20, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Highly acclaimed mystery novelist, Denise Mina, has, in my opinion, penned another intriguing and compelling read in "Deception." Although, I'll have to admit, this novel may not be every reader's cup of tea. The chief protagonist, Lachlan Harriot, the husband of convicted murderess, Susie, is in turns pathetic, whinny, vindictive and unsympathetic. But, I'll have to admit, when he finally works out what has been happening, and finally took action (of a sort) I was on his side -- which probably does not speak well of me!

When Dr. Susie Harriot, former psychiatrist of Sunnyfields State Mental Hospital, is found guilty of the murder of Andrew Gow (a former patient and paroled serial murderer-rapist), her husband, Lachlan decides to try and discover new evidence that will help in her appeal. Lachlan firmly believes that his wife is completely incapable of having brutally murdered Gow, or having had anything to do with the disapperance of Gow's new young wife, Donna. The prosecution had contended that Susie was having an affair with Gow while he was her patient, and that she had murdered Gow (and by inference the missing Donna) out of revenge for being dumped in favour of Donna. And while Lachlan may not be sure about the supposed affair between Susie and Gow, he knows that his wife is incapable of murder. Or is she? For once Lachlan begins to nose about Susie's papers, in her own private study (one that she had locked him out off), he begins to discover all kinds of things, and comes to the conclusion that he may not know his wife all that well after all. Could Susie have had an affair with Gow after all? And is the mother of his young daughter a vicious murderess? Desperate for answers, Lachlan decides to follow all the clues to the bitter end...
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on August 21, 2005
Format: Paperback
If you glance over the reviews already present, you'll see a VERY MIXED bag of how terrible or how wonderful this novel is. I believe those results are based on different expectations from different readers.

I'll start off by saying I haven't read Denise Mina's other books. Perhaps if I had, I'd be disappointed in this one. Instead, I went into this novel with no expectations whatsoever. What I discovered was a novel with some repetitive passages that was nonetheless delightful. It's rare for me to laugh out loud while reading a novel, but while reading Deception, I laughed too many times to count. No, there isn't all that much of a typical mystery plot. Yes, the narrator can be quite whiny and pathetic when viewed against the rigorous demands of a typical novel protagonist. But when compared to people I have known who were going through troubles in their marriage--people who didn't want to admit their relationship and their happy homes were gone forever--I found Mina's portrayal to be right on the money.

Will you like this book? I think that depends on your sense of humor. Not that I'm saying this is a humorous novel; far from it. But if you get as much amusement from the characters as I did--if your sense of humor is in line with the author's--I think you'll find it very easy to ignore the slights other reviewers have mentioned. If instead you find the characterizations and the late night rantings of the main character to be boring, you will probably hate this book.

All I can offer is that of all the books I've read, this is one of the few that I still miss reading weeks after I put the book down. I can hear the narrator's voice inside my head and I wish I had the chance to read more work from this author that ran along the same vein. Perhaps, since I read this novel first, I'll be sadly disappointed in Denise Mina's earlier work. But I'm certainly willing to take that chance.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Lynn Harnett VINE VOICE on September 27, 2004
Format: Hardcover
After her Glaswegian mean-streets trilogy ("Garnethill," "Exile," "Resolution"), Scottish award-winning author Mina turns to the diary form and the bourgeoisie to deliver a dark, discomfiting tale of murder and obsession.

Lachlan Harriott, 29, is the distraught husband of ambitious psychologist Susan Harriot, newly found guilty of the brutal slaying of Andrew Gow, a convicted serial killer and former client of hers at a prison for the criminally insane. Gow had been released after the killings resumed while he was in prison, casting doubt on his guilt.

The diary begins the day of Susan's conviction. Lachlan, convinced of her innocence and determined to find something to exonerate her, smashes the heavy lock on her study door and helps himself to her computer. Almost immediately he happens on secrets that shake his confidence. He remembers how in love they were, her more than him even, and wonders how things got to this pass, where she tells him nothing, and won't even look at him in court where she's portrayed as Gow's scorned lover. "She was my sweet, soft-hearted Susie, and then, quite suddenly, she was someone else."

Lachlan, a doctor and would-be writer who gave up his career at the birth of their daughter 19 months earlier, may have been clueless where his wife was concerned, but he has full control of this narrative. Truth, objectivity, deception and self-deception are elusive from the beginning, and more so as he explores the darkest corners of his marriage and pieces together a new puzzle picture of the murder. He digresses at will, obsessing about his image in the papers, and enjoying the pitying flirtations of the mothers at his daughter's nursery school. He rants and whines, and gorges himself on sweets and self-pity.
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