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Review: Practice to Deceive

October 31, 2013

Practice to Deceive

When Russel Douglas’s body was found after Christmas of 2003, no one could imagine who could have committed such a crime on quiet Whidbey Island, Washington.  With little evidence and no motive to go on, police were stumped.  Detectives stuck with the case and, with the help of an informant, solved the case almost nine years later, convicting the killer and accepting a plea bargain from his accomplice.

I’ve been a fan of Ann Rule‘s books ever since I read The Stranger Beside Me in the early 1980s so I was excited to read her latest, Practice to Deceive.  As usual, Rule’s research is meticulous and she presents the facts in a compelling way.  She captures the emotions and human spirit of the events she writes about so readers sympathize and empathize with the victims.  I was drawn to this book from the beginning and was always anxious to get back to it but, in the end, it left me somewhat unsatisfied.

The book follows the case from the discovery of the body until both of the suspects were sentenced but, to me, it seemed to veer off course at times.  There was quite a bit written about the family of one of the suspect’s half siblings and, while it was tragic and heartbreaking, I couldn’t really see the relevance.  I’m not sure the state had a solid case and suspect that’s why they accepted the plea bargain they did.  They also seemed to ignore the possible involvement of another person.  I think the thing that bothered me the most was that I wanted answers the author wasn’t able to give.  I wanted to know the motive behind the murder and the only one given was speculation.  So, I did enjoy the book but didn’t find it completely satisfying as I usually do with Rule’s books.

I listened to the audio version of Practice to Deceive and felt Anne Twomey’s narration was perfect for the story.  The audio book is on 8 CDs and lasts approximately 9 hours.

Review copy provided by Simon & Schuster.  I am an Indiebound Affiliate.

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15 Comments leave one →
  1. sandynawrot permalink
    October 31, 2013 6:53 am

    I can totally see why you were dissatisfied. The hard part for Rule, I would imagine, is that she isn’t making this stuff up. She has to write about the facts that she has, and if they are sketchy, she can’t fill in the gaps. My favorite part about her books is when she DOES have insight into motive and psychological profiles of the perpetrators. Still I do love true crime!

  2. October 31, 2013 6:57 am

    I agree with Sandy – she probably couldn’t get all the answers.

  3. talesofwhimsy permalink
    October 31, 2013 8:40 am

    Bummer. Left you wanting more. I hate when that happens. It’s like eating something good but not coming out full.

  4. October 31, 2013 8:40 am

    Sounds perfect for a Halloween read. Thanks for your great review.

    How are you liking THE FUNERAL DRESS? I loved it.

    Have a great day!! Rainy here, but not too cold.

  5. October 31, 2013 8:49 am

    This sounds a little like In Cold Blood… I’m not much for true crime, but I’m glad this one lived up to your expectations. 🙂

  6. October 31, 2013 9:17 am

    Sounds like it would be good for Halloween…

  7. Patty permalink
    October 31, 2013 9:57 am

    I wondered about this one….I have read her before…it sounds interesting….but perhaps just too long?

  8. October 31, 2013 12:48 pm

    Kathy, I’m glad you enjoyed the audio version of this, for the most part. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  9. October 31, 2013 8:27 pm

    I do like answers when I invest time with a story like this.

  10. November 1, 2013 7:34 am

    The author is new to me. Thank you for the review.

  11. November 1, 2013 8:51 am

    sounds interesting…but the tangents must have been distracting.

  12. November 1, 2013 5:00 pm

    I have this from NetGalley and was really looking forward to it until I started seeing many of the same type reviews as you have posted here. 😦

  13. November 1, 2013 11:05 pm

    I still haven’t read Rule, I think because I always feared what you talked bout here, being dissatisfied because she doesn’t have all the answers. It
    s nice to see that you don’t feel that way with her other books. I should probably give her a try someday!

  14. November 4, 2013 11:12 am

    This does sound good but it is a bit of a letdown when you have issues with it like that.

  15. bookingmama permalink
    November 10, 2013 9:31 am

    I think this one is next for me. I understand what you mean about having a more clear cut resolution, but I guess it’s a true story so what can you do as an author?

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