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Product Details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio; Unabridged edition (February 13, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9781423338888
  • ISBN-13: 978-1423338888
  • ASIN: 142333888X
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 5.3 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,472,413 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Isaacs's 11th novel has fewer sparks flying than nets dragging, but most fans won't mind a bit, given the amount of outside-the-bedroom adventure. Despite reinventing herself as the author of the novel Spy Guys and the creator of the resultant TV show, Katie Schottland remains wounded by her still-unexplained firing from the CIA, where she wrote intelligence briefs as the Cold War ended, 13 years earlier. When she gets a distress call from an old co-worker, Lisa Golding, who subsequently disappears, Katie plunges back into the notes she smuggled out of the office. She seeks help from an old flame and another ex-agent (now a log-cabin recluse) who helps her trace three of Lisa's former charges at the CIA, East German asylum seekers transported to America and given new names. When two of them turn up dead within weeks of each other, Katie decides to give chase to locate the third before the woman becomes the next casualty. And she still hopes she'll coerce her ex-employer to give up the truth about her termination. The operations stuff is well-done throughout. Katie's relationship with her sweet vet husband adds little, but TV show–based scenes are diverting, and her fixation on her last job is sharply funny and true-to-life. (Feb.)
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 Booklist

By turns sassy and serious, Isaacs's best-selling novels (including Any Place I Hang My Hat, 2004) offer variations on a theme: "What's a nice Jewish girl doing in a predicament like this?" In the opening pages of her latest offering, former CIA analyst Katie Schottland receives a call from Lisa Golding, an old colleague who desperately needs her help. Katie, who was inexplicably fired from the agency some 15 years before, has since turned her experiences to profit, penning a successful cable-TV show based on her novel, Spy Games. But she remains clueless about the circumstances surrounding her termination. Lisa, it seems, knows all the devastating details and offers to offer them up in exchange for Katie's assistance. But can Katie, now ensconced in upper Manhattan, with a nice (if somewhat milquetoasty) husband and a 10-year-old son, leave behind her safe, comfortable life long enough to learn the truth? Past Perfect has cliched prose and a plot that pushes the limits of believability (skeptical readers may wonder how the scattered Katie ever got a CIA post in the first place). But Isaacs, veteran novelist and screenwriter with a sterling track record, can be counted on to ring cash registers, and if this isn't her best effort, it does offer a cast of reasonably engaging characters headed by Katie, a woman determined--once and for all--to make peace with her past. Allison Block
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author


First, here's what the critics say::

AFiction done well and done with a difference...A sophisticated storyteller, with a wry view of the world.@ - Washington Post


AJane Austen brought up to date...Highly amusing.@ - Atlantic Monthly


ASusan Isaacs is a witty, wry observer of the contemporary scene.@ - New York Times Book Review

ASardonic humor and dead-on commentary.@ - Houston Chronicle


ASusan Isaacs knows the art of dialogue the way J.S. Bach knew the art of the fugue.@ - Seattle Times


Blockbuster writers tend to be no more than terrific storytellers. Susan Isaacs=s talents go far beyond that. She is a witty, insightful, and elegant writer.@ - Mademoiselle

AI can think of no other novelist--popular or highbrow--who consistently celebrates female gutsiness, brains and sexuality. She=s Jane Austen with a schmear.@ Maureen Corrigan- National Public Radio Fresh Air


AWho....., is our best popular novelist? The nominee for this quarter is Susan Isaacs....[She] is a comic realist, an astute chronicler of contemporary life in the tradition of....Anthony Trollope.@ - Sun Sentinel



Susan's biography

Susan Isaacs, novelist, essayist and screenwriter, was born in Brooklyn and educated at Queens College. She worked as an editorial assistant at Seventeen magazine writing everything from book reviews to advice to the lovelorn. In 1968, Susan married Elkan Abramowitz, then a federal prosecutor. She became a senior editor but left Seventeen in 1970 to stay home with her newborn son, Andrew. Three years later, she gave birth to Elizabeth. During this time she freelanced, writing political speeches as well as magazine articles.

In the mid-seventies, Susan got the urge to write a novel. A year later she began Compromising Positions, a whodunit set on suburban Long Island. It was published in. Her second novel, Close Relations, a love story set against a background of ethnic, sexual and New York Democratic politics (thus a comedy), was published in. Her third, Almost Paradise, was published in 1984. All of Susan's novels have been New York Times bestsellers. Her fiction has been translated into thirty languages.

In 1985, she wrote the screenplay for Paramount's Compromising Positions, which starred Susan Sarandon and Raul Julia. She also wrote and co-produced Disney's Hello Again. The 1987 comedy starred Shelley Long and Gabriel Byrne.

Her fourth novel, Shining Through, set during World War II, was published in 1988. The film adaptation starred Michael Douglas and Melanie Griffith. Then came Magic Hour January 1991, After All These Years in 1993. Lily White in 1996 and Red, White and Blue in 1998. In 1999, Susan came out with her first work of nonfiction, Brave Dames and Wimpettes: What Women Are Really Doing on Page and Screen. During 2000, she wrote a series of columns on the presidential campaign for Newsday. Long Time No See, a sequel to Compromising Positions, came out in September 2001. Anyplace I Hang My Hat, was published in 2004. Past Perfect is her eleventh novel.

Susan Isaacs is a recipient of the Writers for Writers Award and the John Steinbeck Award. She serves as chairman of the board of Poets & Writers and is a past president of Mystery Writers of America. She is also a member of the National Book Critics Circle, The Creative Coalition, PEN, the American Society of Journalists and Authors, the International Association of Crime Writers, and the Adams Round Table. Besides writing innumerable book reviews, Susan has also written about politics, film and First Amendment issues. She lives on Long Island with her husband.

Customer Reviews

The main character, Katie, was just plain annoying.
Marilee Brothers
The book had an suspenseful teasing start, a slow middle and I never found out what kind of ending it had because I finally just gave up.
Kindle Customer
I was half way through the book, put it down, and tried to pick it back up to finish.
N. Gargano

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By N. Gargano VINE VOICE on March 4, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I am a huge Susan Isaacs fan, and although I have liked some of her books better than others, I have never read one of hers, well, tried to read one of hers, that had bored me to tears. I was half way through the book, put it down, and tried to pick it back up to finish. Oy vey, could not do it. This story is so boring, and the characters are so boring, I just can't believe this is Susan Isaacs. I wonder if she was busy and someone else wrote it for her!!! Sorry Ms. Isaacs, I'll try again next book.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By C. Schaefer on February 22, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I am sooooo struggling to finish this book. It just drags on and on. The plot is thin. There is a dearth of action. But what really makes it bad for me is how very very cutsie the lead character, Katie, is. Bleah. I expected better from Isaacs. I'm not sure I'll finish it.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By CT Book Lover on February 18, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I used to love Susan Isaacs' books -- "Shining Through" being one of my all-time favorite books. Unfortunately, this books continues the trend of her more recent books: namely, short on plot, long on the cutesy cleverness of our heroine, in this case Katie Schottland. Katie has it all -- adorable son, handsome, caring husband, doting parents, great job, financial success. But she just can't seem to get over the only bad thing that ever happened in her charmed life: her firing from the CIA 15 years ago. "Past Perfect" gives us 337 pages of explanation of why and how that happened, blended in with a less than enthralling back story of CIA dealings at the time of the fall of East Germany in 1990. Excuse me while I snore.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By L. Quido VINE VOICE on June 14, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I have to finish a Susan Isaacs book - but as I approached the end of "Past Perfect", I almost wished I hadn't. The single stream of consciousness I have for the heroint, Katie Schottland is "get over it already!". Katie, like most of Isaac's heroines, is interesting, has found her way into a great career in television, and has a strong marriage and great kid.

But she cannot forget the fact that she was fired from the CIA for no apparent reason....a call from a former colleague (that she didn't even like) promises to shed some light on her release, and Katie begins to dig and dig, in a way I can only describe as paranoid.

2 stars instead of 1 for the great character that is Katie's father! I like the fact that Isaacs takes time between her novels (instead of producing one a year) so that she can develop a great story and a sassy heroine. This time, she failed.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A. Brown on February 28, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This is my second long-anticipated but utterly disappointing book in a week (the other being The Double Bind). Past Perfect took forever to get moving and then nothing much happened. I started thinking about giving this book up after Katie recounted for at least the fourth time that there had been armed guards watching her pack her office after she was fired. Then when I started skimming and came to the sentence "at last I knew why I had been fired from the CIA" and realized I had 1) missed that explanation and 2) didn't care in the least, I thought I'd donate this to the public library for some other unwitting victim.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Christine L. Gilman on March 13, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This book is so boring I couldn't believe it. I have read all her books but this one couldn't engage me initially, and I finally skimmed my way through it just so I could see what happened in the end, not that I cared. Very formulaic, if there's such a word. After awhile one gets very tired of all the wise cracks and side comments, and you want to take the author by the shoulders and say "enough already! get back to the story!" what little of it there was.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A. Wood on May 25, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I'm afraid I have to agree with the majority of other readers here who were disappointed in this Susan Isaacs novel. Again, I've read all of her other books, and loved or at least liked them all. I'm afraid she's way off the mark here. If you're a huge Isaacs fan, you'll probably go ahead and read it anyway, but you'd be better off passing on this one, for all the reasons others have already described.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By MAF on August 11, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Brought this book to the beach, and it was so bad I contemplated throwing it into the ocean, but I decided burning it might be more satisfying. I kept hoping the plot would pick up and get exciting, or maybe the main character would stop being so pathetic, but this book proved to be a waste of $4.98. I'm surprised that "a strong drink" isn't listed as one of the items customers buy immediately after viewing Past Perfect, because that's what I was wishing for after reading 2/3 of this novel.
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