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Allure of Deceit Paperback – February 3, 2015
All Books, All the Time
Read author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more at the Amazon Book Review. Read it now
Praise for Allure of Deceit:
“A smart, sharply plotted thriller that puts the reader on the ground in Afghanistan. Susan Froetschel delivers.”
—DANIEL STASHOWER, author of The Hour of Peril
"Allure of Deceit is a complex stew of hidden ambitions, good intentions and lies that unravel to devastating consequences. This novel captures the reader in much the same way as an intricate puzzle."
“Celebrity philanthropy. Baby trafficking. A mysterious compound in the Afghanistan mountains. Allure of Deceit is an IED of a novel. Trust no one, and step carefully.”
—MARTIN J. SMITH, author of the Memory Series crime novels, including the Edgar Award nominee Straw Men
“Froetschel’s crystal clear picture of Afghanistan and its people fascinates me. Though her characters’ lives differ from ours, they are like us in the ways that really matter. They laugh, they love, they seek answers when things puzzle them. This is a mystery with a stunning sense of place.”
—PEG HERRING, author of the Loser Mysteries
“In Allure of Deceit, Susan Froetschel brings alive a country foreign to many readers. This provocative novel blends social conscience, long-held secrets, murder, and the reality of village mores.”
—MIKE BEFELER, author of Mystery of the Dinner Playhouse
Praise for Fear of Beauty:
♦ 2014 Mary Higgins Clark Award Nominee
♦ 2014 Love Is Murder Best Suspense Lovey Nominee
♦ 2014 National Federation of Press Women Communications 2nd Place Winner for Best Novel For Adult Readers
“An exceptionally well-written tale of love, loss, trust, and greed with appeal that reaches far beyond mystery fans.” —Publishers Weekly
“A great societal thriller…. Action-packed, readers will feel they are in [Afghanistan]…. One of the top novels of the year….” —Mystery Gazette
“This fictional woman halfway across the world isn’t so different from you and me. Froetschel has great respect for the Afghan culture and deftly provides a slice-of-life tale that moves, informs and even surprises.” —Shelf Awareness
“Froetschel pulls the reader in almost from the first word with her dynamic plot twists.”
—Women’s Book Reviews
“Susan Froetschel makes the Afghanistan conflict real on a personal level, in a tale rich with thought-provoking themes. . . . Fear of Beauty is a wonderful novel.”
—Sandra Parshall, Agatha Award-winning author of Bleeding Through
“Froetschel is a superb storyteller. She brings the rugged beauty of Afghanistan, its simple folk, and its many dangers together in a spine-tingling tale."
—Nayan Chanda, author of Bound Together
About the Author
Susan Froetschel is the author of four previous novels—Fear of Beauty (named top mystery/suspense by the Military Writers Society of America and nominated for a Mary Higgins Clark Award), Alaska Gray, Interruptions, and Royal Escape. She has taught at Yale University and Southern Connecticut State University. She lives in Michigan and is currently an editor with YaleGlobal Online at Yale University's MacMillan Center for International Studies.
Top customer reviews
With the eye of a reporter and the voice of a diplomat, Froetschel compellingly unfolds the layers of decisions that bring ordinary people to make strategic decisions, remain always on guard.
Returning to the remote Afghan area of her previous novel, Fear of Beauty, in this tale an American aide worker with her own agenda visits a secluded compound, arousing suspicion. Powerfully illustrating how much we are all truly the same with the characters' back stories, the story forces us to suspend judgement. Each character is fighting for survival, protecting family, community. This way of life requires cunning and well placed trust.
Froetschel reveals motives for each character's actions, giving us unique insight into this region, its history and culture. The reader is led to decide who each is really vying to do good for. The agenda is personal, the repercussions global. The sad and dangerous consequences of hate, greed, ignorance make the story one we know too well, yet Froetschel masterfully gives a more authentic face to the history we are living. A beautifully told page turner!
Allure of Deceit takes us into a world where many non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from outside Afghanistan are competing for contracts and clients within that troubled nation. And some are throwing around money and promises with little understanding of their unintended consequences.
At the same time, some Afghans, Americans and others are taking advantage of the financial possibilities by helping NGOs find "worthy" programs or individuals to support. "The foreign charities prefer a neat, simple story," a lawyer counsels a woman prisoner in an Afghan prison at one point in the story. The prisoner has a less-than-simple past, of course, but the NGOs want to just see her as a victim of an acid-in-the-face attack. And her lawyer wants to keep it that way as organizations compete to get her freed, get her some surgery and offer her a brand-new life.
Out in the isolated countryside, meanwhile, ancient and very delicate tribal, family and cultural balances are being distrupted, directly and indirectly, by NGO representatives and by deeply rooted beliefs now crashing against unwanted influences from outside. When some of the Americans end up missing, the searches to find them cause even more unravelings in families and lifelong friendships. And several lives soon are put in danger.
The story moves carefully at first, while complicated relationships, customs and remote locales are set up and put into conflict. Then, in the second half of the book, the action speeds up, and the tensions and dangers quickly expand.
Allure of Deceit surges to a dramatic, unexpected conclusion that will keep echoing in readers' minds long after they finish the book.
(My thanks to Seventh Street Books for sending a review copy prior to publication.)
All of that requires a carefully constructed, well-written narrative with characters that speak to us even through the veil of poorly understood history and culture. And here it is. Add the setting, that mysterious –to Western sensibilities—culture of the Middle East, and one has the makings of an enthralling novel. And here it is!
The writing is superb, the tension almost unrelenting and the incisive eye of this author is everywhere available. This is a fine novel and deserves every rave it will acquire.
Most recent customer reviews
The topic of well-meaning but misguided Westerners and their foreign aid projects is one that has fascinated me for years.Read more
Susan Froetschel's most recent book Allure of Deceit brings us back to Afghanistan where we encounter an odd assortment of...Read more