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The Face Thiefby Eli Gottlieb
Synopses & Reviews
Eli Gottliebs previous novel, Now You See Him, was acclaimed by reviewers as “irresistible … moving” (New York Times Book Review), “a triumph…of literary suspense” (Los Angeles Times), and “gorgeous” (USA Today). With The Face Thief, he returns with a driving, compulsively readable novel that probes the wellsprings of human greed and loyalty beset by temptation.
Gottlieb introduces the mystery of the charismatic Margot, a promising journalist who morphs—with stunning panache—from a high-achieving affluent twentysomething into a grifter making her living preying on the weaknesses of men. Having studied the ancient Chinese art of face reading, she becomes an expert at reading people and is also able to rearrange her look and persona with uncanny skill to fit any social situation. She is an avenging angel, shattering marriages and draining bank accounts.
What drives her quest to deceive and disarm? Exploring this question, The Face Thief moves fluidly forward and back in time, drawing vivid portraits of Margots rocky childhood and her adult victims: an amiable, newly married man enticed into a catastrophic fraud; an esteemed teacher outwitted by his most dangerous student; and a well-meaning New York City cop tripped up by his belief in redemption.
Ingeniously constructed and exquisitely written, The Face Thief swirls a hypnotic dance of predator and prey, creating a contemporary landscape where the educated are violent, the beautiful ugly, and the well-intentioned hapless. And yet we never give way to despair, because the protagonists of the book push back against the maelstrom and attempt tirelessly to right their toppled lives. Rich in suspense, psychological depth, and nuance, The Face Thief confirms Gottliebs standing as “a master” (Denver Post) and, in the words of essayist Phillip Lopate, “an enthralling stylist who[se] . . . characters are shockingly, electrically alive.”
"At the start of Gottlieb's third novel, a taut psychological thriller, an unnamed woman, later identified as Margot Lassiter, sustains grievous injuries as she tumbles down a long flight of stairs. Flashbacks reveal the enigmatic and charismatic Margot, before her near fatal fall, as a consummate schemer. Soon after Margot hired Lawrence Billings, a self-professed expert at reading body language, to give her private instruction, she tried to seduce him. Also, under an alias, Margot enticed 42-year-old John Potash, who spent most of his career as the vice principal of a small alternative Manhattan high school, to invest much of his family's fortune in a fraudulent financial firm. Meanwhile, in the present, police detective Dan France takes a deep interest in Margot's well-being as she recovers in the hospital. Not just a gifted storyteller, Gottlieb (Now You See Him) provocatively explores human relationships and the lies we tell ourselves and each other. Agent: Dunow, Carlson & Lerner Literary Agency." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Author of the New York Times Notable Book The Boy Who Went Away—winner of the Rome Prize and the British Society of Authors McKitterick Prize—Eli Gottlieb returns with The Face Thief. A powerfully dark and gripping tale of two men obsessed with one very charismatic, very damaged woman whos determined to con from each of them everything she needs to survive, The Face Thief offers highest quality psychological suspense—an ideal follow up to the authors masterful Now You See Him. A writer who can do no wrong, Eli Gottlieb shines with The Face Thief—an effective, provocative, and all around extraordinary novel, written with the literary flair and power of Ian McEwan and rich in its searing portraits of fallible lovers and marriages under siege.
About the Author
Eli Gottlieb's New York Times Notable Book, The Boy Who Went Away, won the Rome Prize and the 1998 McKitterick Prize from the British Society of Authors. His second novel, Now You See Him
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