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As Husbands Go: A Novel Hardcover – July 6, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Bestseller Isaacs draws on tony Long Island, gritty New York City, and a tabloid-friendly murder for this smart-alecky whodunit/surprisingly sweet love story. Susan is left alone with her three boys, big suburban house, and nagging questions when plastic surgeon hubby Jonah Gersten turns up dead in a hooker's Upper East Side apartment. Though the police and prosecutors wind up their case against call girl Dorinda Dillon, it's far from settled for Susan. It simply didn't add up, in either my head or my heart, she confesses. And what better sidekick to track down the truth than Susan's rogue granny, Ethel. What follows is an intricate and fascinating dissection of Susan's marriage, family, husband's medical practice and partners, and the unwitting call girl at the center of it all. Isaacs (Past Perfect) brings it all together in this fast and furious ride through wanton greed, fragile relationships, and love worth fighting for. (July)
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She may not be as brainy as her famous Manhattan plastic-surgeon husband, Jonah, nor as proper as his snooty rich parents. And she may be clueless about mothering, thanks to her wildly deficient Brooklynite parents (picture schlumpy, depressed Roz Chast characters), but nonetheless Susie loves her triplets, three rambunctious four-year-old boys. She also takes unabashed pleasure in her happy marriage, her floral design company, her humongous Long Island home, and her designer wardrobe. She may be shallow, as she’s the first to admit, but she does have heart. And ethics, even though she’s not sure what that means. And so when her husband is found stabbed to death in a prostitute’s apartment, Susie is devastated, skeptical about the open-and-shut case touted by the district attorney and her impossible in-laws, and determined to unearth the truth about Jonah’s killer. Her best ally turns out to be her glamorous renegade grandmother Ethel, a woman so cold she abandoned her daughter. But maybe Ethel is due for a thaw as these two queens of chutzpah and couture conduct a brazen investigation. Isaacs’ latest Jewish-gal-in-distress adventure purrs along perfectly––sharply funny, all-knowing, and marvelously diverting. --Donna Seaman
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Top Customer Reviews
This line, found in the third chapter of this book, is a perfect example of why I've lost my patience with the books of Susan Isaacs. Nearly every one contains some snide references to anyone not Jewish or from New York City. It's always gotten on my nerves, but more so in this book, which isn't even a very good one.
Isaacs is as wordy as ever, as usual she uses twenty words when ten would suffice. I read my first Isaacs novel when I was in my twenties, and at almost fifty, I've lost patience. She's clever, and writes a good mystery. This one is no exception, although I figured out who the bad guy was about halfway through it. But her novels seem to get more snide as they get more tediously worded, and her characters, in this book at least, were shallow. Lots of descriptions about their negative qualities--the rude and bitchy "best" friend, the malodorous detective, the stereotypical cold mother-in-law.....I don't know who peed in Isaacs' Wheaties the day she came up with this bunch of characters, but couldn't one of them have some redeeming characteristic that could make you like them? I loved the warmth and life of the characters in "Compromising Positions" the first Isaacs novel I ever read, and I can't believe it's the same author who wrote this snotty and shallow story. The only character who seemed human and decent was the murder victim himself.
Ms. Isaacs does give us some memorable characters such as Susie, her parents, in-laws and brother-in-law, her best friend and partner at a flower shop, the partner's husband, and especially her Grandma Ethel who came to the aid of her granddaughter Susie even though she had long ago abandoned her own daughter. I was hoping to learn more about why Ethel had seemed to be so thoughtless in her past.
There were a few red herrings and I'll admit I was fooled about the identity of the murderer for most of the book, but in the end the story was resolved with more of a whimper than a bang.
I did like the book, which is why I gave it four stars, but that is more for the good writing than the mystery itself. Ms. Isaacs is still one of my favorite authors and I hope we don't have to wait as long for her next novel.
At least that's how Susie sees her world. But then one day, Jonah doesn't come home from work. And after several days, during which police detectives and private investigators are consulted, the police arrive at her door to announce that her husband Jonah is dead. Murdered. In the East Side apartment of one Dorinda Dillon, a call girl.
Absorbing the shock and horror, Susie is numb. But then, after the initial few hours and days, she has questions. And not just about the fact that her husband was in a call girl's apartment, or that he was murdered--but about her life and what she believed to be true about it. So Susie begins asking her own questions, much to the chagrin of her "proper" in-laws; she even enlists the help of her grandmother Ethel--who has been estranged from the family for years--and together they form a team of proactive investigators. For Susie is not at all sure of the facts, as the police lay them out, nor is she as convinced as they are that Dorinda, whom they arrested, is the perpetrator.
As Husbands Go: A Novel, by Susan Isaacs, is one of those perfect mixes of comedy, mystery, and thought-provoking social satire that kept me reading and reading. I loved the characters, finely drawn and true-to-life, especially Susie and Ethel. I didn't care for Babs and Clive, the in-laws, but that was a natural reaction. This story was told in the first person narrative by Susie, so everything was viewed through her perspective.
Throughout this tale, I kept trying to piece the puzzle together, and I must admit that, in the end, I was quite surprised. But then again, the clues were there.
As much as I enjoyed this story, I didn't find it nearly as compelling as some of this author's other works, which is why I'm giving it four stars. But it is definitely a book I'd recommend for anyone who loves to laugh and try to figure out a mystery at the same time.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
up for a very thin plot...Read more