Review by Booklist Review
Liana Dector, the title character in this debut thriller, is a master at reinventing herself, and, early on, her boyfriend, George Foss, becomes ensnared in her schemes. George and Liana then known as Audrey Beck became a couple in their freshman year at college in Connecticut, with their semester-long romance ending when Audrey presumably committed suicide at home in Florida during winter break. When George learns that Liana and the real Audrey have switched identities, and that Liana may have killed her cohort, he continually watches for her until, nearly 20 years later, he spots her at a bar in Boston. Liana, now known as Jane Byrne, asks for a favor, trusting that George will help her rather than turn her over to the authorities; George, both smitten and curious, is hooked. In alternate chapters, Swanson unreels the story of the teenage lovers and advances to the present-day quagmire into which George steps. Driven by the power of first love, this dangerous mix of sex and lies tumbles to an inevitable conclusion. Optioned for a feature film.--Leber, Michele Copyright 2010 Booklist
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
At the start of Swanson's Machiavellian debut noir, magazine business manager George Foss spots Liana Decter, a college girlfriend he hasn't seen in nearly two decades, in a Boston bar. Back then, George got off relatively unscathed: a broken heart and only peripheral involvement in a murder probe. But this time promises to be far more dangerous. Liana, a wanted fugitive going under the alias Jane Byrne, asks George for a big favor-she wants him to serve as a go-between to return most of the half million she stole from her married sugar daddy, shady furniture magnate Gerald MacLean, and to persuade Gerald to call off the goon who's been threatening her. Predictably, little of this goes according to plan. Swanson gives readers an adrenaline rush through all the hairpin turns, but is less successful in making his central femme fatale either convincing or interesting. Cast Michelle Williams in the film version and it might be a different story. Agent: Nat Sobel, Sobel Weber Associates. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Kirkus Book Review
In Swanson's debut crime thriller, a sedate man encounters the mysterious woman who ignited his passion years agoand now plunges him into the depths of noir. George Foss is the accountant for a well-heeled old Boston literary magazine, and he lives a staid and quiet life: Red Sox on the tube, a cat, a low-heat semiromance with a co-worker. But one night in his local bar, he spots his long-lost first love from college, a woman whom he knew as Audrey. Her real name, he's since discovered, is Liana Decter. In the novel's most affecting and effective scenes, we see George, a lovelorn college freshman, head to Florida after "Audrey's" suicide is reported over Christmas break. He gets himself clumsily, boyishly embroiled in the mystery surrounding that deathonly to discover that Audrey/Liana is not the corpse. By the time George retreats northward to resume his freshman year, she's suspected in two murders and has disappeared for good. Or not quiteit is Liana in the neighborhood pub, and soon, she's pressed her loyal sap into service as a go-between in returning some stolen money to a wealthy and shady man with whom she's been involved. George recognizes that she is that most durable noir trope, the belle dame sans merci, but if anything, the knowledge only enhances her appeal. Soon, he finds himself several coils of intrigueand levels of dangerout of his depth. The pace is fast, the prose mostly smooth, and the plot genuinely twisty. But the characters aren't quite fully fleshed; George is sometimes too one-note in his role as helplessly enamored milquetoast, and Lianawho has great potential, possibly to be explored in the sequel this book points towardis a little too purely a femme fatale, with the emphasisas usualon the second word rather than the first. We know her almost exclusively by her effect on men. Seemingly pre-measured for the movies, sometimes to its detriment but often to good effect; all in all, a quick, deft, promising first crime novel.]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.