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 Margot’s 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 Gottlieb’s standing as “a master” (Denver Post) and, in the words of essayist Phillip Lopate, “an enthralling stylist who[se] . . . characters are shockingly, electrically alive.” – Publishers Website
I was looking forward to digging into this book, heard so many good things about it online and from the publishers. I was a bit disappointed, I will explain in a bit.
Opening the book is the story of an unknown woman in the hospital regaining consciousness. Her name isn’t known at the time, but as you read further, she has this uncanny ability to deceive people to get what she wants. It was cryptic, getting you deeper and deeper into the novel. At one point, I thought that it was going to be a really good ending, the suspense was adding up getting bigger and bigger as the end neared. Just at the point where the plot was going to show itself, at least for me, it fell flat on its face on page 211. I did finish the book, but was a bit disappointed at how the author had or hadn’t made the ending with more of a bang so to speak. If you read the novel, I think you may agree with me…It would have been a far better book if the ending was more thought out.