Author: Rebecca Frayn
Release Date: May 3, 2011
Publisher: Washington Square Press
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 2.5 out of 5
Julian is adjusting to life as a soon-to-be stepfather when his future stepson, twelve-year-old Dan, fails to come home from school. He and his fiancée Annie frantically search for Dan, but to no avail. He has completely disappeared, and no one knows whether he ran away on his own or was kidnapped. Julian tries to rebuild his life with Annie, but even after years, she refuses to let go of her grief and allow Julian back in. But one day, Julian receives the news that Dan has been found, and he knows nothing can ever be the same again.
Deceptions is a psychological thriller about how a boy’s disappearance can affect a relationship. From the beginning, it’s clear that Julian is a bit of a doormat. He does his best with Annie and his stepchildren, but she runs the show. After Dan disappears, Julian tries his best to move on with life, but it’s clear he wants to do that with Annie. What she wants is less certain; she needs to blame someone for her son’s disappearance, and that person ends up being Julian.
Indeed, Annie starts out as a difficult character and, over the course of the novel, transforms into a completely impossible one. She’s unpleasant, manipulative, and completely self-deluded. She doesn’t listen to common sense and it’s clear she’s completely lost touch with reality. Of course she lost her son, and that does elicit a great deal of sympathy, but she’s just too unpleasant for that to explain away everything. The way she acts once Dan returns is completely idiotic and it makes her absolutely impossible.
Overall, Deceptions is interesting, but the characters just make it too difficult to really be enjoyable. It’s sad because the premise has so much potential, which makes it frustrating the characters ruin it so completely. However, if you’re curious about the title (which becomes very important over the course of the book) and the art of manipulation, this is a book you might want to consider.