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Books by the Blogger:

THE BATTLE OF ARGINUSAE :
VICTORY AT SEA AND ITS TRAGIC AFTERMATH IN THE FINAL YEARS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


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Kindle | paperback (UK)

KILLING ERATOSTHENES:
A TRUE CRIME STORY
FROM ANCIENT ATHENS
By Debra Hamel


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Kindle | paperback (UK)

READING HERODOTUS:
A GUIDED TOUR THROUGH THE WILD BOARS, DANCING SUITORS, AND CRAZY TYRANTS OF THE HISTORY
By Debra Hamel


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paperback | hardcover (UK)

THE MUTILATION OF THE HERMS:
UNPACKING AN ANCIENT MYSTERY
By Debra Hamel


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TRYING NEAIRA:
THE TRUE STORY OF A COURTESAN'S SCANDALOUS LIFE IN ANCIENT GREECE
By Debra Hamel


paperback | hardcover (US)
paperback | hardcover (UK)

PRISONERS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


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SOCRATES AT WAR:
THE MILITARY HEROICS OF AN ICONIC INTELLECTUAL
By Debra Hamel


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ANCIENT GREEKS IN DRAG:
THE LIBERATION OF THEBES AND OTHER ACTS OF HEROIC TRANSVESTISM
By Debra Hamel


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IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY TWEET:
FIVE HUNDRED 1ST LINES IN 140 CHARACTERS OR LESS
By Debra Hamel


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I've decided to stop accepting review copies. The downside of getting buried in free books is that reading increasingly becomes an obligatory act. After some seven years of blogging books, it's time for me to return to the simple pleasure of reading only the books I want to read, when I want to read them.



  
From a random review:

  

« Skolkin-Smith: Leora: Edges: O Israel, O Palestine | Main | Larsen, Deborah: The Tulip and the Pope »

Benedict, Elizabeth: The Practice of Deceit

  

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Houghton Mifflin © 2005, 268 pages [amazon]
4.5 stars

We know almost from the outset of his story that Eric Lavender's marriage is in trouble. He is, after all, telling that story from a holding cell in the Scarsdale Police Department, and it's a complaint from Eric's wife that's landed him there. But only a few weeks earlier Eric had been obliviously happy in his three-and-a-half-year marriage to Colleen, a divorce attorney known to her colleagues--if not her husband--as a barracuda when it comes to extracting blood from her clients' exes. Colleen's opening shot in a battle Eric had only dimly been aware was brewing is the police report she's filed alleging that Eric sexually molested his stepdaughter, Colleen's four-year-old from a previous relationship. Sitting on the hard bench in his cell with time on his hands, Eric begins to explain how things fell apart for him, a tale whose roots go back to the day he met Colleen. Four years earlier, still recovering from the emotional trauma of being abandoned by her husband while she was pregnant, Colleen boldly took the lead in wooing and winning Eric. In less than a year he'd left behind his apartment and his psychotherapy practice in New York and moved into her Scarsdale home, where he set about talking the community's pampered scions through their relatively uninteresting problems.

Sitting on the hard bench in his cell with time on his hands, Eric begins to explain how things fell apart for him, a tale whose roots go back to the day he met Colleen.The trouble in their marriage starts when the wife of one of Eric's patients hires Colleen as a divorce lawyer. Colleen's hostile behavior when confronted with the problem of this conflict of interest--she and Eric are now ranged on either side of a domestic dispute--prompts Eric to take a closer look at the enigmatic woman he's married to. He gradually uncovers evidence that suggests she has been less than truthful to him about her background. The story of Eric's relationship with Colleen becomes mesmerizing as he slowly peels back the layers of his wife's perfidy, discovering as he does that he hardly knows her, that he cannot trust the woman who, chillingly, is now, as he's telling the story, acting as sole parent to their daughters.

Elizabeth Benedict's The Practice of Deceit is one of those rare books one is loath to see the end of. Smoothly written and well plotted, the book manages to be both quiet and suspenseful. I would have preferred that the final chapter of the book not be epistolary in form, and there is one action taken by the protagonist that continues to confuse me (his call to a client while in prison), but these are minor quibbles about a very good book.

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Book-blog.com reviews by Debra Hamel are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial - No Derivative Works 3.0 License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/).

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About the blogger: Debra is the mother of two preternaturally attractive girls and the author of a number of books about ancient Greece, including Trying Neaira: The True Story of a Courtesan's Scandalous Life in Ancient Greece. She writes and blogs from her subterranean lair in North Haven, CT. Read more.

  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  






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Book-blog.com by Debra Hamel is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial - No Derivative Works 3.0 License.