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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 21 September 2008
When I started reading "Rules of Deception", I was immediately hooked. I wanted to know where the story was going to go and it felt like I was in for a great ride. Dr Johnathan Ransom is devastated when his wife is killed in a tragic skiing accident. However that evening he receives baggage checks in an envelope addressed to her, which leads him to a bag than contains another woman's clothing, the keys to a luxury Mercedes, an enormous wad of cash and a passport in an unfamiliar name but with his wife's photograph. Before he can even process this discovery, he finds himself a wanted man on the run - pursued by the police, but also by a mysterious assassin called The Ghost. There are multiple layers to the story and at least one major twist that completely took me by surprise. The story is very current and feels well researched.

The main problem with this book is that the plot tries too hard to be clever and thus becomes overly complicated and convoluted. There is more than one set of villains and keeping so many players juggled means that we don't spend enough time with Ransom, who is easily the most involving character. There's such a large cast of bland characters and I was always struggling to remember who they were and where they fitted in to the story. The plot also has some major plot holes that simply don't stand up to logic. Ultimately it all gets a bit silly. Instead of being gripped as the tension builds towards the climax, I found myself getting less and less interested.

This is a perfectly readable and mildly diverting thriller, but it's not as good as you think it's going to be when you start it.
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on 11 May 2009
Reich is one of those authors whom I feel I discovered all on my own. More than ten years ago, when he was making the rounds plugging his debut book, Numbered Account, I saw him on one of the morning shows and was immediately interested in him. He had an investment banking background and had lived for quite awhile in Switzerland where he got the inspriration for that first book he wrote. After Numbered Account, there came The Runner....a book that proved he was no flash in the pan. Here was the real deal -- two great books in a row and I discovered him!! I have followed Reich's career since then always buying his books the first day they hit the bookstores. I may not always read them that first day but I certainly do buy them.

I have to say that not all of Reich's books have been as good as those first two but he's still a huge cut above most of the other mystery/thriller authors out there. I'm particularly drawn to his books that have a financial background simply because that seems to be Reich's expertise. And then came The Art of Deception, a book that caught me right up in its web of intrigue but, unfortunately, got too convoluted for me in the end.

Many of the other reviewers here have already spelled out the story of part-time mountain climber and full-time surgeon Dr. Jonathan Ransom. He's affiliated with the Doctors Without Borders organization which becomes the perfect occupation for the backdrop of this book as these doctors travel all over the world to perform these surgeries . Ransom finds himself in the middle of a life and death struggle when he finds out his wife has been leading a mysterious double life. This book is a real cat and mouse chase and, as I look back at all of Reich's other books, they can also be described the same way.

When I finish reading a book, I usually like to do some research on the author and I found out some interesting tidbits when I researched both Reich and The Rules of Deception. Apparently Reich loves the character of Jonathan Ransom....so much so that this was the first book in a series featuring him as the main character. He said in a recent interview that "he didn't start out with the idea of it being a series but realized halfway through it that Ransom was the hero he'd always wanted to write. He said he came alive to him in a way that others hadn't." I can't tell you how surprised I was to read this because I just never felt the connection with this character while reading the book. When I was finished, I never felt the need to go back and visit with him once again although now I find I will be. I just hope that in the next book, Reich goes back and develops Ransom a little bit more so that his readers will feel the same way about him as Reich does.

The second very interesting thing I found out was that the inspiration for the book came from none other than General Tommy Franks. Apparently, the two were working on a TV show together as consultants and Franks told Reich some stories about members of the Joint Special Operations Command. But Franks was very clear on one point about these "operators." They never spoke about their missions and nothing could ever make them do so. So Reich began to wonder what would happen if you were married to one of these operators.

So after meeting Franks, the stage was set for this book. I can see now that the ending does leave itself open to some sequels and it will be interesting to see how Reich pulls this off. As a loyal follower of this author, I selfishly wish this series had a banking background to it as opposed to a medical one but that won't keep me from reading books by one of my favorite authors. I just have one question for Reich....."Why couldn't the series have centered around one of my favorite characters...Nick Neumann from Numbered Account?" Is that too much to ask?
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Rules of Deception is a Robert Ludlum book for people who don't like Robert Ludlum. All the Ludlum-esque elements are present; the innocent but capable hero thrust by circumstance into the heart of a hidden global conspiracy and framed for a crime he didn't commit, the central-European setting (in this case Switzerland) and plenty of double and triple crossing by a multitude of different characters. Unlike Ludlum however, Rules of Deception avoids verbosity, stays on just the right side of plausibility and remains exciting throughout.

That's not to say that it isn't an utterly disposable airport thriller with a plot that is regurgitated from any number of similar novels, but if you accept that to be the case then its enjoyable enough. Christopher Reich has certainly written better books (The First Billion and The Runner are particular favourites of mine) and this does have the whiff of a rehash of his debut 'Numbered Account', but he spins a good, albeit predictable yarn that moves at a fair pace.

So if you're looking for an easy read to get you through a long flight or to read by the pool and you don't fancy the latest Wilbur Smith or ghost-written Ludlum tome then Rules of Deception will serve you well. If you want something original, suprising and thought provoking you need to look elsewhere
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on 8 December 2010
Reich is an excellent writer. His narrative is compelling, scene description is evocative of having been there, or sufficiently capable of making us THINK he's been there. I like that level of confidence and authority in an author. However, his protagonist, however likable he becomes as the story moves along, is hard for me to accept. This shadow world of espionage and spycraft is far too difficult to manage for those trained from the cradle, to accept that a neophyt could stumble in, outwit the bad guys, and even best them in up close and personal combat. No matter the love and comittment Ransom has for his "deceased" wife, it would not automatically embue him with the special skills needed to survive in such a clandestine world. For this reason alone, I found sufficient reason to drop one star from what I thought, overall, was a five star story.

Gordon Ryan, Author
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on 27 January 2017
A thoroughly enjoyable read. Well written with lots of suspense
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on 4 August 2016
Good read, first in the series.
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on 14 July 2008
Rules Of Deception has all the individual ingredients that should have resulted in it being a sure-fire winning international espionage thriller -- e.g., lots of action and suspense, interesting locales, a plot based heavily on today's world events, high-tech weaponry, etc. However, Rules Of Deception in my opinion wound up being a just a notch above average. This is due to Reich's being just an okay writer in terms of developing multi-dimensional, real-life characters and credible dialogue. While Rules Of Deception held my interest from beginning to end, I rarely felt compelled to stay glued to my seat in order to find out what was to happen next, and much of what does happen you'll probably be able to anticipate well in advance. Rules Of Deception is not a bad book. In fact, it is an okay read and the type of book that would be good for a day at the beach or a long airplane ride. It, however, is not one I'd recommend that you rush out to buy and put at the top of your to-be-read list.

A book that I would very highly recommend you put at the very top of your reading list is Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith.
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on 9 May 2016
Going to buy book two
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on 29 June 2009
What to say about this book? It is not badly written, but its style is not outstanding either. There are plenty of twists and turns, but none of them are really surprising. The author is obviously knowledgeble of international politics, but foreign affairs are only a shallow flaire to this book. Characters are far from being unforgettable. When Emma, the protagonist's wife, reappers by the end of the book after having been thought dead for a few days, she is as a realistic and credible character as Paul Gascoigne would be as a bird watcher. If you want to read something quick (although predictable), just go for Patterson...this one was not fun.
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on 6 November 2009
i never received the book I ordered as the book of reich was NOT available, although I ordered it.

I got my money back
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