The Art of Deception by Louise Mangos

Okay, I often find it funny how the crime fiction publishers choose to market a book – basically to reach as many readers as possible (hey, no complaints there), but this often leads to a description which just doesn’t do the book justice. This is certainly the case with The Art of Deception by Louise Mangos.

So here’s the blurb:

Art college dropout Lucie arrives in a Swiss ski resort looking for work – but instead finds Mathieu.

Handsome, charismatic and from a good family, Matt seems like the perfect man. But as Lucie soon discovers, he has a dark side – one that will drive their relationship to a dramatic conclusion, and tear the life she has built for herself and their son apart.

Left fighting for her freedom in a foreign prison, and starting to lose her grip on reality, Lucie must summon all of her strength to uncover the truth and be reunited with her son before it’s too late.

The clock is ticking . . . but who can she trust?

Honestly – that sounds like a typical run of the mill crime fiction title which so many writers are churning out faster than you can say, “Should we make the title yellow or orange?” But this book is much better than that.

First of all, it’s two stories in one – the experiences of a young mum in a foreign prison, her day to day incidents and the drama between the inmates she’s doing time with. This is the story in which we find out ‘the truth’, however, when we first start reading, it’s the back story which is the most riveting – that of a teenager meeting a dangerously handsome ski instructor (yes that’s a bit Mills and Boony) and the minutiae and drama of their everyday domesticity.

Yes, this kind of split time is nothing new, but the way Louise Mangos handles it is well thought out and brilliantly paced. Through the most innocent of prison activities the protagonist Lucie finds out a significant secret (no spoilers) which could change her destiny.

As Lucie is in prison and is reflecting on what got her put away, it may seem obvious that she will (must!) find a way out – but this could have been easily (and disappointingly) accomplished by bringing in a new inmate to provide the details (as they tend to do in Orange is the New Black). But let’s just say – that doesn’t happen.

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The end result is a very satisfying crime fiction read, which ties up all the strings and doesn’t offer a fashionably explosive ending. Now, if it said that in the blurb, not many people would pick up the book. Everyone’s looking for a page-turner. But if you speed-read this book, skipping descriptions to get to the dialogue, you’ll be missing out. The pleasure of this crime novel is that it’s a real story (not true obvs) but it reads like a considered work, well researched, written by an author with respect for her characters. I really enjoyed it.

The Art of Deception is out 6th June 2019 with HQ Digital

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