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by Susan Isaacs
Atlantic Monthly Press, October 2019
368 pages
ISBN: 0802147550

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

When Susan Isaacs begins her newest novel with "Last night I dreamt I went to Queens Boulevard again" you know you're in for more of her suburban wryness.

Her main character, Corie Geller, is indeed married to a handsome widower, but this comedic thriller diverges widely from Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca. Although Corie feels she lives in the shadow of the beautiful Dawn, in an overly decorated suburban Long Island home, it's really the boredom of her lifestyle that gets to her. She has a career many of us would love—scouting new Arabic fiction for literary agencies—and she has the almost-perfect husband, Josh Geller, a brilliant federal judge, as well as a lovely fourteen-year-old stepdaughter, Eliza. But Corie used to be an FBI agent and it's clear she misses the adrenaline rush of that job.

At her weekly lunches with a group of suburbanites who work from home, she notices that one of the members, Pete Delaney, always sits in the same spot, never takes his eyes off his parked car, and always has a different cell phone. Although Pete, a package designer, seems mild-mannered and even friendly, Corie has her doubts. She knows he is hiding something. It takes one to know one. She, after all, has been hiding her FBI past from everyone except her close family and friends. Although she has absolutely no proof that Pete is anything but what he says, Corie talks her father, a retired New York Police Department cop, into helping her investigate. Is Pete another former law enforcement official, a criminal, or someone with a shady past life?

Like most of Isaacs' books, she blends comedy well with the actual mystery. But the story does bog down in places, especially in the middle, and it becomes laborious to read. Fortunately, the story picks up in the end and becomes quite riveting. I would recommend other of Isaacs' books before this one, but a fan will still appreciate her trademark humor.

§ Lourdes Venard is an independent editor who divides her time between New York and Maui.

Reviewed by Lourdes Venard, November 2019

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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