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Act of Deceit (Harlan Donnally #1)

3.31  ·  Rating details ·  86 Ratings  ·  25 Reviews
Mt. Shasta is far from the San Franciscosidewalk on which Harlan Donnally’s lifenearly ended in a crossfire—

But all too close to a decades-old secretthat will force him into another.

The former detective swore he’d never play anyone’s postman. But a dying friend’s plea takes Donnally bearing a letter alive with tragedy toward a sister long dead—the victim of the bizarre cri
Paperback, 352 pages
Published August 30th 2011 by Harper
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Daniel Audet
Jun 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Steven Gore has very quickly, with just 2 books, established himself in the coveted marquee line-up of top male thriller authors. This, his third book, out Sept. 1st. is the first edition of a new series with a new character - Harlan Donnally.
I finished this advance copy of Act of Deceit by Steven Gore on saturday.
The remarkable aspect, which gives our hero Harlan Donnally such legitimate depth and believe-ability lies in Steven Gore's professional background as an investigator. The high end ki
Aug 30, 2011 rated it really liked it
Harlan Donnally started out to help a dying friend. He told a tale of catching his father molesting his five year old sister and killing him. Just fifteen himself, he knew he couldn't take care of her and left her at a commune.

Now in his twilight years, dying of cancer, he wanted Harlan to find the sister, tell her her history, and make sure she got his considerable estate.

Harlan had ran a cafe since a bullet to the hip forced his retirement from the San Francisco Police department. Mauricio had
Darcia Helle
This is the third book in Steven Gore's Harlan Donnally series but the first I've read. Perhaps my unfamiliarity with the characters altered my perspective. But here is what I liked:

The plot is intricate and full of mystery and suspense. The story starts out slowly, gradually building until all the pieces eventually tumble together. The subject is current and handled incredibly well.

What I didn't like: I found it difficult to relate to Harlan's character. I couldn't quite grasp his motivation fo
Dec 06, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Lost me early on and I just couldn't get in to it.
Nov 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I really liked the flow of the book and how I could turn each page and be enthralled each time.
Aug 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller-mystery
The third thriller for new author Steven Gore and first starring the character he hopes to build a series around, Act of Deceit (Harper 2011) introduces Harlan Donnally, ex-star detective and current bored mountain man. His backstory is he retired from police work at the top of his game, intending to devote himself to becoming one with the earth and getting to know his wife in the rural Northern California community of Mt. Shasta.

Until his sometime buddy and ex-fellow detective (a man whose wit
Glenda Bixler
Sep 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed-books
Note to the Reader: The idea for the story told in Act of Deceit arose out of a number of events...

Act of Deceit

By Steven Gore

Steven Gore hit on so many of the issues that are facing the world today in Act of Deceit. Then I found that he had personal knowledge of everything he had covered, based upon his own career.For many reasons, his Note to the Reader held even more drama than the novel itself...

As I started reading and getting into the novel, I began to wonder just who and what this Harlan
Mary Gramlich
Sep 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
ACT OF DECEIT by Steven Gore
A Harlan Donnally Novel
08/11 - HarperCollins Publishers - Mass Market Paperback, 352 pages

Will fulfilling a friend’s dying wish bring you closure?

Harlan Donnally wants to accommodate his friend’s dying wish to turn his estate over to his only living heir, the sister he had to part with when she was five. Burying his friend and finding the man’s sister are more complicated than he could have ever imagined as what starts out simple, turns into a hornets nest of trouble.
Barbara Mitchell
I requested this paperback book after reading Gore's A Criminal Defense which I enjoyed. I wasn't disappointed at all. Gore is a former private investigator and that shows in his plots. His hero is Harlan Donnally, a good man trying to make up for what he sees as the errors of his father's ways. Dad is a legendary Hollywood movie maker, famous particularly for a movie about Vietnam that Donnally believes got his brother killed in action.

In this story Donnally's friend Mauricio Aguilera confesse
Jul 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of thrillers and suspense
Recommended to Katy by: Vine
This review can also be seen on Amazon here.

Please note: I read this book in August, 2011 from a copy provided by the Amazon Vine program.

About the Book: The first in a new series by author Steven Gore, Act of Deceit introduces us to Harlan Donnally, a former police detective who now runs a small restaurant in Mt. Shasta, California. When Mauricio, who had worked for him for years, lies dying in a hospice, Harlan learns that Mauricio has been living a lie for decades. On the run since he was a t
Sep 01, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In “Act of deceit” by Steven Gore, detective Harlan Donnally goes on a dangerous mission—find the sister of his dying friend Mauricio Aguilera, Anna, whom Aguilera left on the front steps of a commune some thirty odd years ago, after they escaped from their father who molested her.

The main problem confronting Donnally is that Anna was murdered back in 1986, and her killer—Charles Brown—was seen as unfit for trial, instead scuttling between different medical facilities and detention centers. Exc
Aug 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I received an advance copy as a good customer gift from a bookstore in San Francisco. I took it down to the Ferry Building Saturday morning, bought a cup of coffee, and started reading. This is the first time I was actually sitting right where a scene in a book took place right when I was reading it. The first few pages are kind of lyrical, then I hit a line that started me turning pages until I'd read straight through to the end. Great plot, great twists, and a great character in ex-SFPD cop Ha ...more
Harlan Donnally was a former SFPD detective who was retired on a disability after being shot on the job.

He promises a dying friend to find the friend's younger sister who his friend placed in a home when she was five. Tragically, when Harlan finds the girl, Anna, he learns she was murdered years ago and her kiler never brought to justice.

He feels he wants to resolve the case for his friend and learns that the accused killer got off because he was found incompetent. When Harlan brings the man to
Nov 03, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Harlan Donnally is asked by a dying friend to locate the sister he placed on the doorstep of a commune many years ago and show her the letter of the crime he committed and why he did what he did. But, in his words, Donnally isn’t going to be anyone’s postman. Yet, he goes and takes it upon himself to locate this girl, Anna. Turns out she was murdered some years ago and nobody was ever convicted for the crime. The investigator in Harlan kicks in. It leads him into worlds never expected.

This crimi
Feb 21, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very busy book that just didn't do it for me.

I enjoyed meeting retired detective Harlan Donnally who was forced to retire due to an injury sustained during a shootout. He goes about his business with a battered body but a world class commitment to following the trail to wherever it leads.

But, the book has so many twists and turns that it felt like the author was whipsawing the story around just build an artificial sense of tension...

Read more at:
Joyce McKune
Oct 12, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: suspense, detective
After being shot, Donnely was retired out of the SPD and bought a rural California cafe. His neighbor left him a letter of confession on his death bed, asking him to find his sister who'd been molested by their father, who he'd killed. He'd left is 5 year old sister at a commune and new she was in good hands because he'd gone back to see her from a distance when she was in school. Donnely was nearly killed a few time trying to fulfill this dying wish.
Rj Hirshkind
A car accident of a book. Enough story to keep you reading but nothing to want you to read the next Harlan book. A main character that is hard to like, who whines to much about social injustice, and has relationship problems with everyone.
May 22, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book is TERRIBLE! Lots of characters I didn't care about doing things I didn't care about. I couldn't even bring myself to read the last 10 pages. I just wanted to put the book down as fast as possible and never waste my time on another Steven Gore book ever again.
Neil Mudde
Aug 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
A complicated but very interesting story, taking all sorts of twists and turns, you will find falsely pious and the wealthy abusing the young and the poor, a worthwhile read, I enjoyed it from beginning to end, must get some of his other books
John Hanscom
Actully 3 1/2. It is a good story, based on some real incidents.
Read about 10%...I wasn't enjoying it at all and when the woman he was sent to find was found long dead, I just didn't see a point. I guess I'm in an impatient mood...
Oct 13, 2012 rated it it was ok
It's ok. Wouldn't mind reading if desperate at an airport, otherwise no need to find more books by this author.
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Sep 02, 2012
Shaun Regis
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Jun 08, 2017
Ron Davis
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Nov 09, 2017
rated it it was ok
Sep 19, 2011
rated it it was ok
Dec 18, 2017
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Sep 13, 2014
Cora Kostjuk
rated it it was amazing
Dec 14, 2017
Bill Holden
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Oct 01, 2012
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Steven Gore is the author of the Graham Gage thrillers and a former private investigator in the San Francisco Bay Area. He has been honored for his investigative achievements, has been featured on 60 Minutes, and has lectured to attorney and investigator organizations on subjects ranging from police misconduct to the design of investigative databases.

* Graham Gage
More about Steven Gore...

Other Books in the Series

Harlan Donnally (3 books)
  • A Criminal Defense (Harlan Donnally #2)
  • Night Is the Hunter (Harlan Donnally #3)