Reich is one of those authors whom I feel I discovered all on my own. More than ten years ago, when he was making the rounds plugging his debut book, Numbered Account, I saw him on one of the morning shows and was immediately interested in him. He had an investment banking background and had lived for quite awhile in Switzerland where he got the inspriration for that first book he wrote. After Numbered Account, there came The Runner....a book that proved he was no flash in the pan. Here was the real deal -- two great books in a row and I discovered him!! I have followed Reich's career since then always buying his books the first day they hit the bookstores. I may not always read them that first day but I certainly do buy them.
I have to say that not all of Reich's books have been as good as those first two but he's still a huge cut above most of the other mystery/thriller authors out there. I'm particularly drawn to his books that have a financial background simply because that seems to be Reich's expertise. And then came The Art of Deception, a book that caught me right up in its web of intrigue but, unfortunately, got too convoluted for me in the end.
Many of the other reviewers here have already spelled out the story of part-time mountain climber and full-time surgeon Dr. Jonathan Ransom. He's affiliated with the Doctors Without Borders organization which becomes the perfect occupation for the backdrop of this book as these doctors travel all over the world to perform these surgeries . Ransom finds himself in the middle of a life and death struggle when he finds out his wife has been leading a mysterious double life. This book is a real cat and mouse chase and, as I look back at all of Reich's other books, they can also be described the same way.
When I finish reading a book, I usually like to do some research on the author and I found out some interesting tidbits when I researched both Reich and The Rules of Deception. Apparently Reich loves the character of Jonathan Ransom....so much so that this was the first book in a series featuring him as the main character. He said in a recent interview that "he didn't start out with the idea of it being a series but realized halfway through it that Ransom was the hero he'd always wanted to write. He said he came alive to him in a way that others hadn't." I can't tell you how surprised I was to read this because I just never felt the connection with this character while reading the book. When I was finished, I never felt the need to go back and visit with him once again although now I find I will be. I just hope that in the next book, Reich goes back and develops Ransom a little bit more so that his readers will feel the same way about him as Reich does.
The second very interesting thing I found out was that the inspiration for the book came from none other than General Tommy Franks. Apparently, the two were working on a TV show together as consultants and Franks told Reich some stories about members of the Joint Special Operations Command. But Franks was very clear on one point about these "operators." They never spoke about their missions and nothing could ever make them do so. So Reich began to wonder what would happen if you were married to one of these operators.
So after meeting Franks, the stage was set for this book. I can see now that the ending does leave itself open to some sequels and it will be interesting to see how Reich pulls this off. As a loyal follower of this author, I selfishly wish this series had a banking background to it as opposed to a medical one but that won't keep me from reading books by one of my favorite authors. I just have one question for Reich....."Why couldn't the series have centered around one of my favorite characters...Nick Neumann from Numbered Account?" Is that too much to ask?