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Assuming Names: A Con Artist's Masquerade

3.51  ·  Rating details ·  13,394 ratings  ·  222 reviews
When it was over, there were a lot of questions.

The detectives were embarrassed but they still wanted answered, "How did a 15-year-old runaway successfully pose as a world traveled countess?"

The newspapers turned it back on them, practically sneering, "How did she do it while under investigation by the FBI, DEA, and Interpol?"

The Mafia had been demanding the same thing
ebook, 280 pages
Published March 2014 by Thompson Books
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Trista Callaghan Yes, this is about a sociopath. Though now the diagnostic manual calls them antisocial personality disorders. No one could tell the psychopaths and…moreYes, this is about a sociopath. Though now the diagnostic manual calls them antisocial personality disorders. No one could tell the psychopaths and sociopaths apart so the sociopath got a new name. But the book is about a lot of sociopaths and psychopaths. It would have made a better movie than the 7 Psychopaths, that's for sure.(less)

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3.51  · 
Rating details
 ·  13,394 ratings  ·  222 reviews

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Jul 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Edit: Story is easily verified through the Dallas Morning News archives. Search for title: Teen-ager untangles her web of deceit. Date: May 1, 1986

I normally don’t get involved in these discussions because I find someone has already said what I want to say so I don’t have to say it. This time however no one is weighing in with the obvious. The vitriol in the one star reviews is either ignorance or personal. I’m not slinging insults, I use the word ignorance in the strictest definition. The revie
Chrissy (The Every Free Chance Reader)
Did I enjoy this book: I did enjoy this book. I read it numerous times during the editing process and enjoyed it more and more each time I read it.

As is often said, the truth is stranger than fiction. If I didn’t know this was a true story, I would have thought it was too far-fetched to be a fiction novel. I mean, you have a 15-year-old girl outsmarting so many law enforcement agencies it isn’t even funny. Yet, I laughed. A lot. I shook my head. A lot. I gasped. A lot. I think my favorite part o
Jenny Blossom
Aug 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone
Recommended to Jenny by: friend
Shelves: true-crime
This seems the place to share Postal prints. My favourite photographer hangs in the White Gallery. He’s got a way of capturing the essence of things and what he’s captured here is Tanya’s most mischievous personality. It comes through in the book just as vivid as it does in the image. Love the picture and love the book. Both are just so much fun!

Niyati Em
Aug 21, 2014 rated it liked it
I've been thinking about what I can say about this book. It did underline the old adage that 'An Empty Mind is a Devil's Workshop'

The book starts off on a very interesting note. When I got down to reading it, the first thing I did was to go to the author's website and check out the articles. It seemed too good to be true.

I've always been a lover of conspiracy stories and theories but this book confounded me. On one hand, I felt Tanya was smart with the cons she kept playing and on the other hand
Bailey Breese
Apr 01, 2014 rated it did not like it
Con Artist indeed. Interesting that just about everyone who reviewed this book did so on March 14, 16, 18th or 21st. They all joined in June 2013. And they all wrote the SAME reviews on Amazon. My guess is that maybe two of these are actually real reviews..the others sound way too much alike. They all give 5 stars. Numerous people claim they went to the library and read the microfilms...really? That's funny because there are almost NO libraries that even have microfilms anymore. They were replac ...more
Jul 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
Mind blown.
This book is crazy.
At first I wasn't sure if the author was "the Countess" or maybe she was writing on behalf of the real woman. But by the end, I was sure that the author is "Tanya" or whatever her real name is. It's almost hard to believe all of the things that she went through and all of the things that she did. But you have to believe them because there is evidence supporting it.
Aug 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone!
I read the excerpt of this book and my brainmeats said, wait, WHAT? Then I slowed down and read it again. Born and raised in Dallas, and only 9 years younger than the author, I was intrigued more than I can describe.

Growing up in the lower income parts of Dallas will show you that the soap opera you see on TV, is definitely shot in a prettier part of the city. The Dallas Tanya describes in this book is two blocks from the streets I was willing to walk down. I was immediately captivated and trav
AnnMarie Stone
Assuming Names by Tanya Thompson
Let us start off by saying that I love this book. It was overall very well written and extremely entertaining. I basically read it in two sittings. Love it.
In the foreword, the author explains that the compliment of beautiful is not nearly as good as the compliment of brilliant. This elicited two reactions. First, I was reminded of A Disreputable History of Frankie-Landeau Banks by E. Lockhart, which I loved. Second, I immediately felt a connection to the main ch
Philip Tha- B. Toole
Aug 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
What an amazing story-- I'm floored by the sheer audacity. My first, second, third.... twentieth thought was, 'this can't be real?' But, is it? After having gone through it, I don't even know! :D)

Who didn't get attracted/ensnared in this young woman's fantasy life?? Other than myself, lol. Governments, police organizations, organized crime, civil rights orgs, Hollywood, I mean there is a trail of hooks that caught everyone.

Smuggling, sex slavery, and the fascinating thing about this is that the
Michael DeAngelo
Aug 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
These days, the antihero has become somewhat of a fan favorite in terms of a reader's choice of protagonist. Thompson excels at writing a character with shades of grey, rather than strict blacks and whites. Not so much corrupt as mischievous, the Countess is a persona that is interesting to see evolve, even as she unravels.

There are countless times when you read this story, and all the times that "Constance" is duping one official after another that you wonder if Thompson is actually getting the
Aug 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
This was a hard book for me to rate. It was wildly amusing and entertaining.

Often I would shake my head and wonder what was she thinking, then I would remember the author's excuse, fifteen. I remember being that age, and making poor decisions. I too found silence to be a good way of dealing with things I couldn't answer. It does tend to make the ride more fun when other people are jumping to conclusions.

Teens make weird decisions that fit logic only they can understand. That being said, the gir
Barbara Carey
Aug 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book is like nothing I've ever read before! The author has taken what is a true story and created this masterpiece out of it. I can see a lot of people out here who seem to question the legibility of this 'true story' but that's the beauty of it. Not everything goes as expected, and not everything that happens seems possible, does it?

This is the story of a 15-year-old runaway who turns out to be this brilliant con artist, posing as a world-traveled Countess. What seems impossible about this
Aug 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: true-crime
A vivid visualization of the protagonists and antagonists characters of the story. An experience which made me felt as if ‘I was there.’ Besides the interesting true-to-life story, all I can say about this eBook is it's ‘an eye opener.’ I don't really like to read 'true crime stories’ but at the moment I opened this eBook on my electronic reader and started reading, it driven my thoughts to go on and browse to read it bit-by-bit of every pages. In fact, I read it again twice before I've written ...more
Jessica Lorraine
Aug 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
“Assuming Names” is a highly entertaining book that is filled to the brim with thrilling and unbelievable stories. At times I forgot I was reading non-fiction. I was quickly swept into the wild and fast pace story of the 15 year old con-artist. Part of the books appeal was the irony; although she set off to Dallas to transform herself into a rich and worldly countess she gets off to a rough start as her innocence to the world left her as being mistaken for a sex slave. Even with this failure, sh ...more
Ann Kazutomi
Aug 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: true-crime
This is an incredible, on the edge of your seat story.

I have to admit, I am usually not one that is interested in reading true crime, simply because it is usually so depressing, but I found that after I began reading this book, it was difficult to remember that it was a true story. I found it not only entertaining, but I could not put the book down.

The fact that this is a true story, makes it that much more impressive. I feel that it took a lot of courage for the author to write about her own
Ryann Hall
Aug 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed the fact that this is a true story with plenty of evidence to support it such as newspaper articles. When you finish reading this book, the author gives you links to all the articles to prove that this book is a true story. This book is very entertaining and keeps you reading to learn more about what happened. This book is also well written and easy to understand and follow. I agree with another review I read about this book, it is like the movie Catch Me If You Can. This story ...more
Missy Rapp
Aug 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book, love Tanya. Couldn't put it down. I am curious if she ever served jail time for any of the crimes mentioned in the book.
Jul 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: true-crime
There is life in each word; beginning from the first page that you keep forgetting this book is not fiction, but a true-life story. A dare devil individual named Tanya, not only doesn’t fear superstitions but can grab horror and danger by the horns, making this character one you would try to stay clear of. Throughout this book, you learn in the background while gaining access to the views of a mischievous con artist, liar, thief and an absolute fearless individual.

Both the mood and setting was w
Aug 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: true-crime
Assuming Names is an interesting and rather peculiar book that had me shaking my head with disbelief at some places and made me laugh out loud at others.

I really did enjoy reading it even if I wasn’t entirely convinced that everything I read actually happened. And to tell you the truth, I doesn’t matter that much to me. If it’s all true, then wow, congratulations to the author, you’ve earned my respect. If it’s not – I still very much liked the story of Tanya, the Countess of Conland. I think i
Nnenna Igbokwe
Aug 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This Book was so utterly amazing and underrated. I personally can't understand why it isn't being advertised on a national scale; it's better than any of these book being shoved down our throats. I love this book and it is being carefully placed in my topped five.
Joy Michelle
With this book I had to do exactly as the author instructed. The moment I started thinking, no way this could be true, I went and read the proof that it was. I was probably only a dozen pages into the book at that point. I was reading the part about her at the local sheriff’s department and I did not believe a 15 year old girl could so effortlessly lie and charm her way out of arrest.

Still uncertain if this was not an intricate joke, I went and read the other reviews to make certain I hadn’t mi
Miranda Prather
Aug 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Reading through Assuming Names, I am certain that I will not be alone in scratching my head and wondering if art imitates life or is it life imitating art? Whichever the case may be, I guarantee that readers will find themselves ensnared in the web of a masterful artist. They will have to decide for themselves if the story is indeed fact or a clever play on the con contained in the tale.

Pleasantly, the author surprised me with a well-written, carefully composed narrative that is so rare to find
Jul 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing

My first thought when I read that was “huh… they really do look awfully similar to a Tic-Tac.”

In this book were a lot of little phrases that stuck in my mind. Not only were there phrases that stuck, but there were extravagantly long, breathless sentences that were designed to impress. I like it when a book makes you stop to reread a sentence simply to appreciate it.

The book’s strength isn’t in its prose though. It’s in the mind-blowing audacity of its author. She took on everyone from the FBI t
Gabriella Nerina
Aug 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: true-crime
If I had to use two words to describe this book, I definitely would use the word MIND BLOWING. This book tells a story about this young con artist. She went on a runaway and tried to fool lots of people, including FBI, Interpol... she was just doing her specialty.

Assuming Names is like a roller-coaster read for me, I got to feel the emotions, the thrill, the dark comedy. Suits someone like me who has a quite dark sense of humor :)

I just can't wait to read the next book, I know it's going to be a
Taylor Alexander
Jul 23, 2015 rated it did not like it
Before reading this book, I had very high expectations from reading the reviews on this website. Once I began reading, I soon realized the book would not live up to these standards. The books is quite poorly written, jumping around and leaving many strange gaps for the reader. The grammatical errors are plenty and the author develops herself as an extremely unlikable character. Hopefully seasoned readers will not be mislead by the reviews on this book by this website.
Apr 02, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: con-artists
This girl is crazy. I'm not giving it 5 stars because her schemes are not as mind-bendingly intelligent as those in "Catch Me if You Can," and that was what I was expecting, but it was still a very interesting book.
Jul 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: true-crime
If I wanted to be derisive about this book, I could call it "Female Catch Me If You Can", and be done with it. But it does deserve more than that, honestly. The basic premise of the book is that a young con artist is doing what she does best, and better than anyone could have ever expected. DEA, FBI, Interpol - she was able to keep every single one of them in the dark for a disturbingly long amount of time (disturbing in the sense that THEY should be better than that...). It follows her exploits ...more
Marina Spirova
Aug 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone. The book is amazing.
Recommended to Marina by: dear friend :)
This book was recently suggested to me by a friend. I thought a lot about reading it, since it is not exactly my type of literature, but once I started reading it I just couldn't stop and at the same time I didn't want it to finish.

Have you ever felt something like this? To like the main character of a book so much, that you don't want the book to end, but at the same time, you can't wait to see what happens next? I had only two times before Tanya, her heroin became a kind of a friend to me, and
Eric Cosentino
Overall a good read. Thinking back after I read it, they're times in the book when I question if she is manipulating the reader as well. One I can recall is when she is met the 2 Eastern Europeans and Sergu at the airport and was showing them guns. She claims she knew nothing of sports and was genuinely trying to make conversation, but for someone with such a high IQ she would obviously know that showing guns is not a top sport in america. She could have easily shown them a football or baseball ...more
Lisa Warring
Sadly, I didn’t have the opportunity to get my copy of this book free on what sounds like the greatest book tour to ever roll through Europe. I didn’t get to meet the author in a bar, on a train, or in the company of the “shady shades,” so my review isn’t tainted by her charms or what sounded like ecstasy. Consumable ecstasy.

After reading the book I am envious of those who got to experience Tanya first hand. I bet those half crazed and fully out of their mind reviewers have a few stories to tel
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It’s often these little things that flummox me.

About the author…

Let's just say I’m a mischievous criminal with a penchant for charming my way into trouble and then out of arrest.
“Prisons are full of sociopaths and psychopaths, but when questioned, the imprisoned sociopath will honestly admit that they will commit any number of crimes to help a friend.

A friend will help you move; a true friend will help you move a body.

A friend will bail you out of jail; a true friend will be sitting beside you.

Who wouldn’t want to have a true friend? But they sound a lot like a sociopath.”
“The absolute truth is a wicked sort of rush. It's far more amusing than any lie. Both have the potential to empower and to hurt, but the truth is emotionally superior. Few people could fault you for it, not when you got ethics on your side. The truth is morally unassailable.

But is has no pity. It is merciless.”
More quotes…