Tuesday, June 25, 2013

"The Practice of Deceit," by Elizabeth Benedict

“The Practice of Deceit” (Mariner, 2005), by Elizabeth Benedict, made me feel itchy. The novel definitely caught and kept my interest, but it felt slightly disturbing, slightly uncomfortable, slightly off-putting. Well, perhaps that was the point. Psychotherapist Eric, a lifelong bachelor, meets and is not very subtly seduced by lawyer Colleen Golden, who also has a cute, sweet daughter. Colleen convinces Eric that they should move to Scarsdale. Every step of the way, she is controlling him, yet he does not realize it for quite some time – too long, in my opinion. For a therapist, he seems remarkably dense about Colleen’s motivations and actions. But -- partial spoiler alert ahead -- eventually Eric is shocked to find everything falling apart, and realizes he has been had, so to speak. The main interest of the novel is finding out the details of how this happens, and hoping against hope that justice will be restored. I won’t tell you the ending, but I will say that the novel is a page turner. And it still left me feeling itchy….

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