Thursday, July 22, 2010

Past Perfect by Susan Isaacs

38. Past Perfect
by Susan Isaacs
fiction, 2007
unabridged audio read by Randye Kaye
finished, 7/16/10

Katie Schottland is almost 38 years old when we meet her; happily married with a wonderful ten-year old son and living in New York City. She is a writer for a television program called Spy Guys. Fifteen years ago she worked for a short time at the CIA. She adored her job and felt like she was doing something worthwhile for her country. Then she was fired, with no explanation. It has haunted her all these years. It hurt her self-esteem. She keeps wondering what on earth she did wrong. This isn't a huge part of her life, but it is always in the background of her thoughts and feelings. One day, completely out of the blue, she gets a phone call from a former colleague. Lisa says there is something she needs her help with, something of national importance. When Lisa calls, our heroine is preoccupied with getting ready to bring her boy to a camp for overweight children in Maine. She has a lot of guilt about this because she doesn't want him to think she doesn't accept him as he is. She is concerned about the childhood obesity stories she reads everywhere, but she recognizes that her Nick is not the norm in this instance. He is a 'foodie.' He loves all foods, particularly more 'adult' choices. Anyhow, she is absorbed in her feelings and thus doesn't give the call the attention she might have at another time. She is also reluctant and Lisa tells her if she'll agree to help, she will tell her why she lost her job. Lisa says she will call again the next day at four o'clock. And of course she doesn't.

The book continues with Katie trying to find out if Lisa is alright. She has a CIA connection who helps her out with the details of her tv show, and through him she meets someone else who knows about the time period when Katie worked for the agency. The past and the present collide in an interesting and suspenseful way.

I was vastly entertained listening to this book. The narrator was excellent. It is a great combination of mild wise-cracking humor and mystery/intrigue. I'm quite sure I read something by Susan Isaacs years ago, and this book reminds me that I really enjoy her writing and must read more. Someone recently gave me Lily White and I want to read it soon. You may read about the author's inspiration for the book here, and visit her website for information on all her other books.


  1. Well, my library has it!! And the request is in :)

  2. Nan, sounds like a good book! Thanks for your review!

  3. It's a fun book, Niki and Sherri!

  4. A narrator can make or break a book...glad that this one was a great listen for you!

  5. Staci, in my experience with many audio books, I have very, very rarely been disappointed with a reader. Recorded Books especially has fantastic narrators.


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