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Takes One to Know One

Review

Takes One to Know One

When a new Susan Isaacs novel comes out, her fans take notice. Not an extremely prolific writer, Isaacs takes her time and writes a book every few years. But all have been New York Times bestsellers, and she succeeds in writing books that people love to read.

In TAKES ONE TO KNOW ONE, Isaacs presents a protagonist who, like many of her main characters, is a Jewish woman who is not quite content with her life. Corie Geller has an exciting career in the FBI's Terrorism Task Force. But when, in her early 30s, she meets uber-handsome federal judge and widower Josh Geller, her priorities change. Josh has left a lucrative spot in a top litigation law firm where lots of travel is involved, so he can be around for his daughter, Eliza, following his wife’s death.

Once she gets over the shock that this gorgeous, successful man (with family money to boot) wants to marry her, Corie thinks that she will be able to be a better mother to 14-year-old Eliza if she quits the FBI and gets a job with less stress. Although she loves her work, it is all-encompassing, and after adopting Eliza, Corie wants to be the best mother she can possibly be. She is also trying to figure out if she wants to have a child of her own with Josh, and the clock is certainly ticking on that decision.

"As the suspense builds and builds, we can't put the book down. As in all of Isaacs' work, we truly like the protagonist and are happy to go along on this adventure with her step by step."

In the meantime, Corie works for a few literary agencies scouting Arabic books that might be successful in the American book market. She is fluent in Arabic, which is why she was successful in the FBI, and enjoys reading books for a living. After moving to Shorehaven, the tony suburb where Josh and Eliza live, she feels the need to connect with other professionals, so she joins a Wednesday lunch group of people who are self-employed and want to network. During these lunches, she is bothered by the certain mannerisms of a fellow diner.

At first, Corie notices that at every single lunch, Pete Delaney sits in the same seat and looks obsessively out the window at his car, a high-end Jeep. Then she observes that he often has different phones. When he shares stories about his work, designing packaging, he doesn't give details. She also learns that while he meets with his clients for only a day or two, his trips out of town are always longer. Her powers of observation heightened by the feeling that something is off with Pete, she first tries to find out if he's former intelligence, which might explain his careful demeanor and reluctance to disclose any real information about his life. He reminds her of herself.

Corie also discretely asks the other members of the group what they know about Pete. Under the nondescript, unstylish and loose clothing he wears, he is built like an athlete. One member of the group had seen him in shorts and a t-shirt at a carwash fundraiser with his daughter. And, apparently, he has a terrible temper.

Because life as a mom and a literary scout is a bit boring after being an FBI agent, Corie decides to investigate who Pete Delaney is and what he is hiding. She enlists the aid of her father, a retired NYPD cop, who has been suffering from depression for quite a while, and her best friend from childhood, Wynne, who is a "lifestyle coach" to the rich and famous. She doesn't tell her husband what she’s doing.

Along the way, we learn about Josh's first wife, Dawn, and how different Corie's priorities are from hers. We find out about the house that Dawn built (figuratively) and that Corie has made few changes in the decor --- and we wonder why. But most of all, we identify with Corie's curiosity about Pete, and we, too, want to know what the truth is about this very white-bread guy who isn’t exactly what he appears to be.

As the suspense builds and builds, we can't put the book down. As in all of Isaacs' work, we truly like the protagonist and are happy to go along on this adventure with her step by step. Read this combination character study/action novel slowly. Get to know Corie, because Isaacs' website informs us that TAKES ONE TO KNOW ONE is the beginning of a series. Rest assured that all of us will want to read more of Corie Geller's excellent adventures.

Reviewed by Pamela Kramer on October 18, 2019

Takes One to Know One
by Susan Isaacs

  • Publication Date: October 1, 2019
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press
  • ISBN-10: 0802147550
  • ISBN-13: 9780802147554