Judi's Reviews > The Face Thief

The Face Thief by Eli Gottlieb
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's review
Jan 29, 2012

liked it
bookshelves: read-in-2012
Recommended to Judi by: Guy
Read from January 29 to February 10, 2012 , read count: 1

Guy Savage was on the one to recommend Eli Gottlieb's book NOW YOU SEE HIM (http://swiftlytiltingplanet.wordpress...), which I considered a 5 star read... so when Guy mentioned that he was reading an arc of THE FACE THIEF, I was very curious and anxious to hear his comments... and to read it for myself.

Guy was not very forthcoming regarding comments on this book... but offered to send the arc to me when finished with it.

It is very hard to love a book that doesn't have any nice characters in it... and this is what I found with THE FACE THIEF. Also, as someone who does not believe that there is any quick way to make loads of money and if there is, there is probably something morally wrong about how that money is earned... well the premise of the book is no more pleasant than its characters.

To summarize briefly, THE FACE THIEF involves 3 people; each story being told in separate and alternating chapters.

It opens with Margot Lassiter in a hospital room having experienced some kind of bad tumble down a steep set of stairs that results in memory loss. As the story reveals itself it is very probable that Margot did not have an accident, that someone had every intention of messy her up very badly and the question becomes whom, since it seems any number of people might like to hurt her as she recalls her life as she regains her memory.

Lawrence Billings is an expert on body language and facial ticks, teaches seminars on how to gain financially from reading the face and body, which ultimately means learning to manipulate one's own body/face. Margot attend one of these seminars and signs on for some private lessons. Billings admits to having slipped in his marriage a couple times in the past, and Margot makes it difficult for him to keep his promise to be faithful... but he does, which does not sit well with Margot who is not used to getting what she wants. Anyway, this whole thing blows up in his face (hah, I had to say it), and his wife leaves him, possibly for good. Billings is out to exact revenge with Margot.

Meanwhile John Potash, a schmuck who is on a second marriage with a younger, beautiful and sexual wife but is unemployed after relocating to the west coast for said new wife. John meets one Jeanette Styles of Greenleaf Financial, "a consortium of forward-seeking investment advisors and analysts" who "roamed the world seeking the latest cutting-edge sustainable products." An investment firm that was "predatory, cash-rich, not averse to opportunistic bottom-feeding." Being able to increase their nest egg -- which in my opinion is sizable enough to begin with -- is a way he feels that he can show worth to his new bride. So after what he considers careful consideration - he invests not only his money, but his mother's and his wife's money, without consulting them. He considers the sizable gain will be a nice present to each. Nearly as fast as he wires the money, Janet Styles and Greenleaf disappear off the planet along with the money. Potash is frantic, especially after learning that the FBI may take years to recover the money, if at all.

It is unclear at first that each viewpoint has its own timeline... but once that is established and as more is revealed it is easier to see the how & who as to Margot's accident. But the story doesn't stop here. When it ends you get the feeling that the moral of the story is that men are stupid because they can be so easily manipulated by lust (i.e. body language), at least that's Margot's approach to the world.

While the concept of the seminar The Physique of Finance: The Art of Face Reading and Body Language for Professional Advantage is interesting and we do learn a bit during the Lawrence Billings chapters, it is not new if anyone is familiar with the TV Series "Lie to Me." Of course, in the TV show the techniques are used to sort out a variety of human folly and backed with lots of real life people/situations that helps us see how it works. Even so, with the TV show and the book I take it at "face value" that these techniques work but it is like learning a foreign language, something I am absolutely unskilled at.

Gottlieb is a decent writer or else I never would have finished this book. While there are no sympathetic characters and, in fact, each seems morally corrupt, the story hangs together and it is somewhat "compulsively readable" if only to confirm what you already think will happen. Like Guy Savage, I can't so much recommend the book, but I will send you my copy if you want to see for yourself. However, if you haven't explored this author before, I suggest reading NOW YOU SEE HIM.
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01/22 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Guy (new) - rated it 3 stars

Guy Judi: I didn't mind the fact that the characters are so unlikeable, but I thought that the novel's early promise never really panned out. I was expecting more with Billings and Margot (the strongest aspect of the book IMO).

Judi Hmmm... I think you are right. I normally don't mind unlikeable characters but these just don't go any place interesting or new. Anyway, I'm still glad that you sent the book to me. Thanks!

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