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Deception: A Novel [Paperback]

Denise Mina
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Paperback: 311 pages
  • Publisher: Back Bay Books; Reprint edition (10 May 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316058572
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316058575
  • Product Dimensions: 20.9 x 13.9 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,301,485 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Denise Mina was born in Glasgow in 1966. Because of her father's job as an engineer, her family moved twenty-one times in eighteen years from Paris to the Hague, London, Scotland and Bergen. After leaving school at sixteen and a run of poorly paid jobs, she went on to study Law at Glasgow University and researched a PhD thesis at Strathclyde.

Misusing her grant, she stayed at home and wrote her first novel, Garnethill, which was published in 1998 and won the Crime Writers' Association John Creasy Dagger for best first crime novel.

Since 1998 she has written seven further novels, including most recently, Still Midnight. She also writes comics and in 2006 wrote her first play, 'Ida Tamson'. As well as all of this she writes short stories and is a regular contributor to TV and radio.

Author photo (c) Colin McPherson

Product Description

Deception "Glasgow writer Mina has carved a niche for herself writing about very mean Scottish streets and slums and very desperate and depraved characters. Mina takes a walk on the posh side here, as she examines the case of a woman psychiatrist convicted of murdering her serial-killer lover."--"Booklist." Full description

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I'M SHOCKED. I WOKE UP AFTER FOUR HOUR'S SLEEP THIS MORNING still trembling. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars i feel cheated 30 Jun 2005
I very much appreciated the previous books of Mrs Denise Mina. After the Garnett Triology I bought "Sanctum". Excellent work.
A few days ago I acquired "Field of Blood" and "Deception". Great was my deception(!) to realise that "Sanctum" and "Deception" are one and the same story. Readers should be warned. I feel greatly cheated by amazon .com.
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A little bit of deception 7 July 2005
By A Customer
I loved the Garnethill tilogy and have just finished The Fields Of Blood. When I came online to purchase Sanctum I also found deception and thought I'd buy that too. I was a bit surprised to realise they are one and the same novel! You should really notify your shoppers of this. Other than that, service great as usual. Can hardly wait to read Sanctum now.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Deception Indeed 9 Aug 2008
By Iain
Like the previous reveiwer, I enjoy Mina's writing. However, like him, I was tricked by this all too common con.
This book was previously published as 'Sanctum' in UK & Europe.
Deception indeed. Amazon is frequently guilty of this double-dealing. BEWARE.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Our Denise Knows the Cold Heart of Glasgow 11 April 2010
By Stephanie De Pue TOP 1000 REVIEWER
"Deception" is the American title given to the U.K.-titled Sanctum, a standalone mystery by Scottish author Denise Mina that is set in her hometown of Glasgow. It is her fifth novel: she is also the author of Garnethill, which won the John Creasey Memorial Dagger for best crime novel. Her novels have all been set in her native city, and all illustrate, by their wit, their bloody-mindedness, and their sheer bloodthirstiness, why she, like Val McDermid, must be considered one of the leading practitioners of that Scottish school of mystery writing, tartan noir. Furthermore, like the works of two other well-known British female mystery authors, Minette Walters and Ruth Rendell, they also have strong psychological components.

The book at hand is the intricately plotted story, apparently, of a hapless suburban house husband - though he'd more likely be called gormless by our cousins across the pond - Dr. Lachlin Harriot. He has quit his general practitioner's job to take care of their toddler Margie, while his wife, Dr. Susie Harriot, one of Glasgow's outstanding forensic psychiatrists, continues her highly-paid career in prison work. As the book opens, Susie is, shockingly, standing trial for the murder of a serial killer in her care. And Lachlan is ransacking her formerly locked home office, looking for evidence to clear her. In the attic cubbyhole he was once forbidden to enter, he discovers disturbing material: transcripts of private conversations, photographs, letters betraying illicit affairs and false identities.
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Amazon.com: 3.9 out of 5 stars  58 reviews
33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a compelling read: well worth the "sticking-out" factor 20 Aug 2004
By tregatt - Published on Amazon.com
Highly acclaimed mystery novelist, Denise Mina, has, in my opinion, penned another intriguing and compelling read in "Deception." Although, I'll have to admit, this novel may not be every reader's cup of tea. The chief protagonist, Lachlan Harriot, the husband of convicted murderess, Susie, is in turns pathetic, whinny, vindictive and unsympathetic. But, I'll have to admit, when he finally works out what has been happening, and finally took action (of a sort) I was on his side -- which probably does not speak well of me!

When Dr. Susie Harriot, former psychiatrist of Sunnyfields State Mental Hospital, is found guilty of the murder of Andrew Gow (a former patient and paroled serial murderer-rapist), her husband, Lachlan decides to try and discover new evidence that will help in her appeal. Lachlan firmly believes that his wife is completely incapable of having brutally murdered Gow, or having had anything to do with the disapperance of Gow's new young wife, Donna. The prosecution had contended that Susie was having an affair with Gow while he was her patient, and that she had murdered Gow (and by inference the missing Donna) out of revenge for being dumped in favour of Donna. And while Lachlan may not be sure about the supposed affair between Susie and Gow, he knows that his wife is incapable of murder. Or is she? For once Lachlan begins to nose about Susie's papers, in her own private study (one that she had locked him out off), he begins to discover all kinds of things, and comes to the conclusion that he may not know his wife all that well after all. Could Susie have had an affair with Gow after all? And is the mother of his young daughter a vicious murderess? Desperate for answers, Lachlan decides to follow all the clues to the bitter end...

Strangely enough, "Deception" turned out to be a very compelling read. Lachlan Harriot may not always be a very sympathetic narrator, and the urge to kick him in the seat of his pants (not because of his constant whining) because of his frequent non-active stance really grows as the book progresses. But Denise Mina's incisive portrait of a fractured marriage, and of one partner's total obliviousness to what was going on, and the totally unexpected (and completely chilling) plot twist at the end, made "Deception" a book well worth recommending the sticking out factor. The novel may take a while to unwind and to get into, but it is well worth it!
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Humor is a funny thing 22 Aug 2005
By Glenn - Published on Amazon.com
If you glance over the reviews already present, you'll see a VERY MIXED bag of how terrible or how wonderful this novel is. I believe those results are based on different expectations from different readers.

I'll start off by saying I haven't read Denise Mina's other books. Perhaps if I had, I'd be disappointed in this one. Instead, I went into this novel with no expectations whatsoever. What I discovered was a novel with some repetitive passages that was nonetheless delightful. It's rare for me to laugh out loud while reading a novel, but while reading Deception, I laughed too many times to count. No, there isn't all that much of a typical mystery plot. Yes, the narrator can be quite whiny and pathetic when viewed against the rigorous demands of a typical novel protagonist. But when compared to people I have known who were going through troubles in their marriage--people who didn't want to admit their relationship and their happy homes were gone forever--I found Mina's portrayal to be right on the money.

Will you like this book? I think that depends on your sense of humor. Not that I'm saying this is a humorous novel; far from it. But if you get as much amusement from the characters as I did--if your sense of humor is in line with the author's--I think you'll find it very easy to ignore the slights other reviewers have mentioned. If instead you find the characterizations and the late night rantings of the main character to be boring, you will probably hate this book.

All I can offer is that of all the books I've read, this is one of the few that I still miss reading weeks after I put the book down. I can hear the narrator's voice inside my head and I wish I had the chance to read more work from this author that ran along the same vein. Perhaps, since I read this novel first, I'll be sadly disappointed in Denise Mina's earlier work. But I'm certainly willing to take that chance.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark, intimate, disturbing 27 Sep 2004
By Lynn Harnett - Published on Amazon.com
After her Glaswegian mean-streets trilogy ("Garnethill," "Exile," "Resolution"), Scottish award-winning author Mina turns to the diary form and the bourgeoisie to deliver a dark, discomfiting tale of murder and obsession.

Lachlan Harriott, 29, is the distraught husband of ambitious psychologist Susan Harriot, newly found guilty of the brutal slaying of Andrew Gow, a convicted serial killer and former client of hers at a prison for the criminally insane. Gow had been released after the killings resumed while he was in prison, casting doubt on his guilt.

The diary begins the day of Susan's conviction. Lachlan, convinced of her innocence and determined to find something to exonerate her, smashes the heavy lock on her study door and helps himself to her computer. Almost immediately he happens on secrets that shake his confidence. He remembers how in love they were, her more than him even, and wonders how things got to this pass, where she tells him nothing, and won't even look at him in court where she's portrayed as Gow's scorned lover. "She was my sweet, soft-hearted Susie, and then, quite suddenly, she was someone else."

Lachlan, a doctor and would-be writer who gave up his career at the birth of their daughter 19 months earlier, may have been clueless where his wife was concerned, but he has full control of this narrative. Truth, objectivity, deception and self-deception are elusive from the beginning, and more so as he explores the darkest corners of his marriage and pieces together a new puzzle picture of the murder. He digresses at will, obsessing about his image in the papers, and enjoying the pitying flirtations of the mothers at his daughter's nursery school. He rants and whines, and gorges himself on sweets and self-pity. He flays himself open on the page, and then admits to agonizing over sentence structure as if crafting a story for posterity.

We sympathize with his plight and his passion while we cringe at his venality and passive-aggressive self-absorption. Lachlan is utterly, nakedly human and his compelling voice drives the narrative to a stunning, fitting conclusion. Claustrophobic and insightful, this is probably too creepy to be Mina's breakout book, but it adds to her considerable reputation.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great mystery! 17 May 2007
By Theresa Leone Davidson - Published on Amazon.com
Lachlan and his wife Susie appear to be a perfect couple. She is a respected psychiatrist working in an institution, and he is a doctor who has chosen to stay home and be a househusband (despite one other reviewer's opinion on this, it seems to make perfect sense that if women can stay at home and take care of the children and the house, men can as well). They have a beautiful, healthy daughter. They have a lovely home. But soon, Lachlan, who is narrating the story, gets the shock of his life -Susie is arrested for the murder of Andrew Gow, a notorious serial killer who had previously been held at the institution in which she works. While Gow was Susie's patient, he married, then it comes to light that more murders occurred exactly like the ones for which he had been convicted. Is it a copycat or is Gow really innocent? He is released from the institution, and ostensibly goes off to live happily ever after with his bride. Shortly thereafter, he is found murdered, his tongue carved out of his mouth, the same as the victims he was accused of killing. His psychiatrist, Susie, is arrested, convicted and sent to prison. It is at this point that Deception begins, with Lachlan vowing to himself to find proof of his wife's innocence. He begins searching her home office, pouring over court transcripts, interviews with the accused serial killer, interviews with his bride, and interviews with Susie. He finds her own notes as well, and it is during this search for proof of her innocence that Lachlan, and the reader, uncover secret after secret, until finally all is revealed. Denise Mina is one of my favorite recently discovered authors. Her novel is so well written you will find yourself going back over lines and repeating them to yourself. This perhaps explains why, even when Lachlan behaves less than admirably, the reader is still rooting for him and for Susie. No one's intentions are crystal clear until the end of the book, and no one is above suspicion. It is truly a remarkable and entertaining novel, very suspenseful, and a fun read. An added plus: a terrific ending. Many crime novels have a lot of build up, a lot of suspense and excitement, but then a less-than-satisfying conclusion; not so with this one. I highly recommend it.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Who do you believe? 9 Oct 2007
By Carl of Mariemont - Published on Amazon.com
Denise Mina is an exceptionally talented writer. She spins an interesting yarn, told from the perspective of the husband of a convicted killer. There's plenty going on here. My one complaint is that half the book felt like prologue. The quality of the writing makes that easy to endure. A hilarious voice in spots, and an intelligent premise. Reminded me of Barney's Version, by Mordechai Richler. Another good read, if you like this one.
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