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Deceptions: A Novel Paperback – May 3, 2011

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“A compulsive thriller with echoes of Ruth Rendell…Superb.” —The Times

“Great psychological insight lies at the heart of this disturbing, gripping story.” —Daily Mirror

"Clever, unpredictable and utterly gripping from start to finish." —Heat Magazine

"A stylishly written page-turner by a novelist of skill and authority." —The Daily Mail

"A masterful thriller" —The Sunday Express

"This is a book that grabs you from the opening pages and will prove very difficult to put down." —Reader's Digest

"Fans of Zoe Heller's Notes on a Scandal will love this" —Red

“Gripping emotional drama. Unsettlingly compelling." —Easy Living

Aborbing...It’s the sort of book that as soon as you think you can see where it might be going it takes a quite unexpected turn...A truly gripping read that had me hooked from the first page" —Bookbag

"A thoughtful thriller…will evoke deserved comparisons to authors like Laura Lippman and Ruth Rendell." —Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Reminds us that truth is often stranger than fiction. Will appeal to fans of mystery and psychological suspense.” —Library Journal

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Prologue

Ask me why I have never told this story before and I will tell you quite straightforwardly. I’ve always believed one must strive to put painful episodes behind one with the minimum of fuss and bother. In an age obsessed by introspection I may be out of step, but it’s nonetheless a strategy that has served me perfectly well.

Until this morning, when the letter came—one glimpse of that distinctive handwriting enough to conjure her out of the darkness again, tentatively smiling that pearly smile of hers.

More in apprehension than hope, I tore the envelope open. Inside, a birthday card! After all these years of silence, she has sent me a birthday card … I suppose the vagaries of the overseas post must have sabotaged its punctual arrival. On the front of the card was a painting by Constable, while inside she had added nothing but her name. It was only as I was about to throw the envelope away that the newspaper cutting fluttered free. Overcome by foreboding, I hastily secreted it in my pocket, where it has remained ever since. I will read it presently. Of course I will. But for the time being, the possibility that our private misfortune could have excited further publicity is more than I can bear.

Once work is over, I drive to the coast in the hope that the sea will soothe me. But the attic door stands ajar now—forbidden memories clamoring and agitating as if in deliberate defiance of my authority. At the time I considered myself a man more sinned against than sinning. Why then does the view backward suggest a rather more sinister interpretation?

© 2010 Rebecca Frayn
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Washington Square Press; Reprint edition (May 3, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439196397
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439196397
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,200,507 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By book lover on May 22, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I ended up giving this book only three stars for reasons I'll detail below, but it could, and should, have been a five star book. The writing is wonderful and the author does a good job of shifting perceptions about what's true and what isn't. The book held my interest all the way through. Why then the three stars? (STOP if you haven't read the book as this will contain a few indications of SPOILERS).
I had trouble finding Annie believable at all. I know what the author was trying to achieve in portraying a character who allows herself to be deceived because she wants to be, but Annie is so unrealistic as to be off-putting. I had trouble identifying with the narrator, as well. He's an unemotional wimp, although he does make an interesting narrator. Neither character has any depth, nor do they show any emotion. I connected with them in the beginning but as the book went on they seemed stuck and we get the same dynamics all the way through. But what really got to me were the major holes the author glossed over. For one thing, A DNA analysis would have made everything clear, and while the narrator makes a fleeting reference to this (far too late in the story for a man with a brain), he brushes it off. I kept screaming at him (if not Annie) to do the obvious thing! Another thing that seemed a major hole is that Annie gets word a boy with her phone number in his pocket has been found. That's ALL it takes for everyone involved to determine it's Daniel. There are not questions asked, even by the police. Further, the neighbors, friends, Daniels friends etc know he's come home, but not the press or the English police. It's true that the press finally gets wind and shows up hoping to get a comment, but even that, with all the headlines you'd think it would bring, doesn't result in any contact from the police who are working the missing child case.
Bottom line, it was an intriguing story, but ended up annoying me more than it pleased me.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By LaurenC on January 2, 2012
Format: Paperback
The synopsis of this book seemed interesting, but I must say that the book lost it about a quarter of the way through when I realized that the same thing kept happening over and over. I must say that this book was a bit boring and took me about two weeks to finish a book that is 264 pages. I stayed within the first 30 pages for about a week because I couldn't get into it before finally forcing myself to finish it (i'm one of the people that always has to finish a book).

Now on to the book (may have a SPOILER or two:)...

So this story is about an annoying lady who has an obnoxious, surly, rude son who up and disappears one day. It is determined that the son was becoming out of control. The fiance whom is the narrator is on the outside looking in as the mother falls apart with depression because the son is gone. Fast forward 3 years when they get a phone call about the son, and the son comes back home.

While all of this is unfolding, I must say that the mother was TERRIBLY annoying! I can imagine her devastation, but after the son came home she was just blatantly stupid it made it impossible to sympathize with her. The fiance was just as annoying. He was absolutely spineless, begging to be a rug for this unbalanced woman who clearly wasn't trying to have a relationship with him.

Most of this book was very monotonous, with most of it the mom crying and rolling around about the son being missing, then being happy that her son is back home, then back to letting him do whatever he wants to do and turn a blind eye on common sense and I must say a very predictable outcome. Seriously, the same thing happened over and over again, this could have been a short story.
The narrator was so silly, I wanted to reach through the pages and shake him awake.
Read more ›
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kcorn TOP 500 REVIEWER on July 9, 2011
Format: Paperback
I picked this one up on a whim and later learned that the writer is a critically acclaimed filmmaker. As I read this novel, I wished that it had been written with more action as well as psychological tension....just like a well- paced film.

Instead, the main focus of the book seems to be on one couple,Julian and Annie,and the stresses they endure after Annie's son,Dan, disappears. The tale is told from the first person viewpoint of Julian.

As even author Rebecca Frayn admits ( in the author question and answer section at the back of the book) Julian is not the most appealing suitor for Annie and their upcoming marriage is a bit of an enigma. Of course marriage plans are put on hold when Dan vanishes.

As good mysteries do, suspicion falls on many characters. Did Dan,age 12, lead a secret life and decide to run away? Or did Julian have something to do with it-especially since his relationship with Danw was often strained?

If you are looking for a decent mystery, this one is about average,neither terrible or spectacular. I guessed the truth well before the ending. My main issues had to do with the novel's pacing as well as characters who didn't seem fully described. But there are pluses as well. The author creates plausible tension between Julian and Annie. It was also easy for me to grasp the intense pain and longing Annie felt for her missing son.

The author of this one shows great promise and I look forward to reading her upcoming works. She seems fully capable of producing a riveting mystery.
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Deceptions: A Novel
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