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Deception Pass (Thomas Black Mysteries) Mass Market Paperback – Jul 1998


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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine; Reprint edition (July 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345400690
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345400697
  • Product Dimensions: 17.4 x 10.7 x 2.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,503,081 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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First Sentence
FINISHED WITH MY BICEPS, I WAS WRAPPING the tape measure around my skull when Kathy stepped into my office with a client. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Deception Pass is the tenth Thomas Black mystery by Earl Emerson. The books are suspenseful PI novels set within the framework of the relationship between Thomas, a quick-witted, smart-mouthed private investigator and his best friend, Kathy Birchfield. The friendship between the two will feel familiar to anyone who has had a very good friend of the opposite sex and who has wondered, at times during that friendship, whether it could deepen into something romantic.
In early Thomas Black books, Thomas and Kathy's friendship provides both context and subplot. Then in the third book, "Yellow Dog Party," the relationship shifts and leads into "The Portland Laugher," where it takes center stage. "Laugher" is Emerson's darkest, most complex book, sending the reader on an emotional roller coaster that ends satisfyingly in the following book, "The Vanishing Smile."
Two books later, though, you might wonder what else there is to say. In "Deception Pass," Thomas and Kathy are happily married. Neither has an incurable disease, has been kidnapped or is cheating on the other. So now what? Must we just to do without the funny verbal sparring, the sexual tension, that has characterized the other books?
Happily, the answer is no. In "Deception Pass," Thomas and Kathy have settled into the kind of easy relationship they had in the first books, except that Kathy lives upstairs with Thomas instead of downstairs in the basement apartment, and they fool around occasionally.
One October morning, Kathy brings Thomas a new client. The client is Lainie Smith, Seattle's "Mother Theresa with a bankroll," as Thomas puts it.
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Format: Hardcover
Ultra-Rich businesswoman and renowned philanthropist, Lainie Smith hires
Seattle private investigator Thomas Black to find out who is blackmailing
her and how he or she obtained information that should not be known by
anyone. Lainie refuses to provide specific information on what she is
actually being blackmailed for, but does tell Thomas that she has paid
$2,000 a week for the past three weeks. She is not worried about the
money, but how far the blackmailer will go and especially what will happen
if "the cat got out of the bag". Thomas' wife, attorney Kathy, accepts
the job for him even though he admits he has little experience with
blackmail cases.

Apparently, seventeen years ago, a drug crazed Lainie was involved in a
mass murder at DECEPTION PASS in which her man was tried, convicted, and
executed for the crimes, while she disappeared into the night. Meanwhile,
Thomas uncovers several potential perps, but the obvious individual, the
money collector, is found dead. As more information surfaces, Kathy and
Thomas realize that their client faces a potential murder charge that will
probably convict her if the law finds out about her involvement.

DECEPTION PASS is a refreshing spin on the guilty client twist. The
story line rapidly moves forward and the support cast (especially Kathy and
Lainie) is very interesting as they provide a genuine feel to the tale.
Thomas is quite good when he glibly explains sleuthing techniques, but at
times his constant witticisms (at a faster rate than Henny Youngman in his
prime) overwhelms segments of the novel. Still, Earl Emerson's tenth
Thomas Black story is quite a powerful book that fans of cleverly written
mysteries will immensely enjoy.

Harriet Klausner
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By A Customer on 10 April 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I was lucky enough to catch Earl Emerson on television recently and now I'm hooked on his books. Not being a reader of mysteries I have found his writing to be a nice change of pace from my usual fare. Mr. Emerson has a style of writing that I refer to as conversational. His dialogue is witty and informal. It's as if he is speaking rather than writing and I find it to be a nice change from many of the history writers I read. Without giving away any of the story Deception Pass seemed to be wrapped up in the first fifty or so pages. I wondered what could possibly be left to tell in the next 250 pages? Little did I realize that the story was only just beginning rather than concluding. I knew there had to be a reason why the eventual murderer was introduced to the story, but I never would have guessed he was the one. To the bitter end I suspected it was somebody else (I don't know who. Just somebody else.) I had a great time trying, in vain, to identify the killer. In summary Deception Pass is a quick read that is also thoroughly enjoyable.
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