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The Art of Deception
by Ridley Pearson
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Seattle police psychologist Daphne Mathews has her hands full with a pregnant, addicted, runaway teenager, a murder victim's brother whose strange behavior unnerves her, and a deputy sheriff she once treated who's now stalking her. She's frightened enough to move in with Detective John LaMoia, a development that doesn't exactly thrill Lou Boldt, their boss and Daphne's ex-lover. But Lou's too busy with his own cases to brood over John and Daphne: the recent disappearances of two local women, and the death of Billy Chen, the nephew of Mama Lu, an old friend and a powerful figure in Seattle's Chinese community, which appeared to be an accident but turns out to have been murder. The only thing the disappearances and murder have in common is location; all three victims were last seen in a part of downtown built over the Underground, a dark and dangerous warren of buildings abandoned after the fire that leveled Seattle more than a hundred years ago. While Seattle's Underground has been the setting for several mysteries by other authors (Earl Emerson, J.A. Jance), Pearson makes the most of its creepy-crawly atmosphere in a gripping thriller whose solid plotting pulls all of Daphne's, LaMoia's, and Boldt's cases together. It also wisely reconfigures the personal relationships among the three central characters, which bodes well for their future adventures in this long-running series (Middle of Nowhere, The Pied Piper). --Jane Adams
From Publishers Weekly
Seattle police detective Lou Boldt, Pearson's engaging cop hero, retired from the force a few years back when personal problems started stacking up, then returned when those same problems faded. These days, he's in more of a paper-shuffling role, letting his younger charges mix it up on the street. Taking center stage here, in the eighth Boldt entry (after Parallel Lies), are two longtime prominent series sidekicks, forensic pathologist Daphne Matthews and the skirt-chasing stud cop, John LaMoia. Together, they investigate the perplexing murder of a woman who was pushed off a bridge. The case turns creepy when the evidence against the prime suspect falls apart and the victim's brother, Ferrell Walker, simultaneously courts and lashes out at Matthews. Meanwhile, Boldt pursues his own case, following the trail of two missing women who appear to have been stalked before disappearing. As with many of Pearson's plots, the two story lines eventually mesh into a wild, drawn-out finale. The setting this time couldn't be better. It's Seattle's Underground, a subterranean ghost town of abandoned shops and homes now underneath the newer, more flood-resistant city built on top a century ago. It is within this spooky, cavernous landscape that Pearson's forte the manhunt bursts through with all its usual bone-tingling drama and suspense. And what of the somewhat marginalized Boldt? Longtime fans may feel a touch of sadness, yet Pearson ably layers Matthews's personality with new depths to make an appealingly quirky character. As for LaMoia, even he shows that he's more than just a pretty face with an insatiable sex drive.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
In Pearson's latest thriller (after Parallel Lies), deception is raised to the level of an art. Lou Boldt is back, but Daphne Matthews and John LaMoia take the spotlight in this Seattle-based suspense novel. A young woman is thrown off the Aurora Bridge, two women have vanished in the tourist area of the Seattle Underground, and a worker drowns under mysterious circumstances. These three cases are just the beginning, as Daphne discovers that she is being stalked. She starts to believe that same man has committed all three crimes and she is the next target. Her strong will keeps her involved in the case, even as her stable life starts to crumble around her. Pearson keeps the sense of danger and paranoia intense as the various characters' emotions spill from each page. The atmospheric descriptions of Seattle are dead-on, causing this Seattle-based reviewer to feel uneasy when moving around town. This is hands-down one of the best thrillers of the year. - Jeff Ayers, Seattle P.L.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Beginning with Mary Ann Walker's jump off a Seattle Bridge, then turning to the investigation of two missing women, a murdered road crew worker, and a peeping tom, this police procedural tells a complex tale. As the police follow leads, the killers leave a multitude of false clues in an attempt to confuse the detectives. Chilling murders and creepy midnight stalkings, described in Pearson's own relentless gravelly voice, add to the story. Pearson reads in a slow, even voice that dips to inaudibility at the end of sentences. Nevertheless, his captivating story never ceases to disturb. M.B.K. © AudioFile 2003, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine
*Starred Review* Pearson's last novel, Parallel Lies [BKL My 1 01], a stand-alone thriller about railroad terrorism, seemed a bit predictable, at least for a writer who is usually a master of unpredictability, but this time he's back at the top of his game. The eighth installment in the Lou Boldt-Daphne Matthews series finds the Seattle police lieutenant and his forensic psychologist colleague investigating two cases that ultimately become one. Boldt is tracking a serial killer, and Matthews is investigating the death of a woman who was thrown from Seattle's Aurora Bridge. Circling around both cases is John LaMoia, a longtime member of Boldt's team now struggling with both a lingering addiction to pain medication and the attraction he suddenly feels to Matthews, who was once involved with Boldt. Pearson has always excelled at interweaving human drama with the constantly building suspense of a murder investigation, and he does so again here. As both cases come to focus on the same suspect, a stalker who haunts Seattle's Underground, Boldt, Matthews, and LaMoia are thrown together in a dramatic finale made all the more exciting by the roiling emotions the three characters feel for one another. Pearson makes particularly good use of his Seattle setting this time; the legendary Underground (created when the city was rebuilt after its great fire of 1889) has often appeared in mysteries, but Pearson's detail-rich treatment goes well beyond the typical cliches of dark passages and abandoned storefronts. On every level, this series remains one of the mystery genre's great pleasures. Bill Ott
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
New York Post
"Ridley Pearson has been called the best thriller writer alive, and . . . theres no disagreement here."
"Pearson excels at writing novels that grip the imagination."
Los Angeles Times Book Review
"Ridley Pearson tells an irresistible tale."
"Realistic police work, real people, real suspense."
"A killer combination of Patricia D. Cornwell and John D. MacDonald with a soupçon of Thomas Harris."
"Ridley knows cops, knows crime, and knows how to make the hair stand up on the back of your neck."
Ridley Pearson "grabs, he twists, he tightens the screws."
"Handsome command of detail and breathless pace still bring it to the top of the summer's pile of procedurals."
"Better than a guilty pleasure."
The New York Times Book Review
When the body of a young woman is found beneath the Aurora Bridge, forensic psychologist Daphne Matthews is first at the scene. The victim's name is Mary-Ann, her boyfriend has a record of violence, and her grieving brother is out for revenge. Detective Lou Boldt is investigating a series of mysterious disappearances, and both Boldt and Matthews are led into the 'Underground' - a perfectly preserved city-under-a-city, hidden beneath Seattle. Then the stalking begins: eerie phone calls, noises outside the house, shadows in the night. Someone has their eye on Matthews - but do they want to stop her, kill her, or help her solve the crime?
"eBOOK SPECIAL FEATURE Includes a preview of Ridley Pearson's next book, THE BODY OF PETER HAYES Friendship comes at a cost. For beautiful Mary-Ann Walker, who struggled with the challenges of a difficult family history, that cost proves to be her life. With Mary-Ann's past as its only guideline, the Seattle homicide unit must delve into the relationships between a misguided young woman and her family, friends, and lover. Let the psychological games begin. The pace is always racing, the detail always exacting, the characters fascinating. This is classic Ridley Pearson, keeping tension and excitement up until the climactic ending, which of course involves a life in jeopardy, a fantastic chase scene, and a plot twist."
About the Author
Ridley Pearson is the New York Times bestselling author of twelve previous novels. He was the first American to be awarded the Raymond Chandler/Fulbright Fellowship in detective fiction at Oxford. He lives in Hailey, Idaho.
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