Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “False Pretenses” as Want to Read:
False Pretenses
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

False Pretenses

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  1,781 Ratings  ·  73 Reviews
COULTER ?S first contemporary suspense novel

First published in 1988, False Pretenses is the explosive story of how one woman survives the destruction of her perfect life?and the intentions of three mysterious men.
Paperback, 400 pages
Published March 1st 2000 by Signet (first published 1988)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about False Pretenses, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about False Pretenses

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Nikki Nielsen
May 13, 2008 rated it liked it
I picked this book up at a yard sale at the recommendation of the woman selling it. Actually, she didn't want to sell her Catherine Coulter books but her husband told her she was going to sell them none the less. They had an argument about it right there in front of everyone at the yard sale. Very entertaining. She was shouting how much she loves 'Mrs. Coulter' and that she had read all the books repeatedly. He rolled his eyes and told her if she had read them that many times she should have the ...more
Lewis Weinstein
May 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book has flaws BUT ... it is a terrific read, not too deep, full of action, some surprises. It held my attention, even though I thought the main character was, for the first 50-75 pages, a stupid wimp. She changed, probably too quickly to be totally convincing, but was very interesting from that point on.
Feb 11, 2016 rated it did not like it
It reads a lot like a soap opera, with clichés and a very predictable plot line.
Not only that, but it has several other issues that irked me considerably while I was reading:

1- Character development, in my opinion, is very poor. The characters are themselves cliché, and they have sudden changes in personalities seemingly from night to day with weak explanations for these abrupt enlightenments. Most glaring example of this is the main character who is a pianist with no experience in business; af
Mar 31, 2011 rated it liked it
After I started reading this book, I thought, I don't really care what happens to rich people, but the heroine was somewhat interesting, so I continued. Elizabeth Carleton was a professional classic pianist married to an older wealthy man, whom she was accused of murdering. Once acquitted, she takes over running the company, but all the family hates her. However, there are several men who seem to love her at first, before their motives are revealed. Will she ever find happiness? Will the real mu ...more
Oct 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is the first romantic-suspense that Catherine Coulter wrote. It is quite good, but the plot reads more like Catherine Coulter channeling Danielle Steel. Not at all my type of read. I'm not into "poor me, whatever shall I do?" heroines. But, it is very good and except for some historical problems (dinner on top of the World Trade Center) the book stands the test of time well.

Concert pianist Elizabeth Carleton is on trial for the murder of her insanely wealthy older husband. A stranger comes
Pam H
Dec 08, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: rich, z2015, train-wreck
Wow - not sure where to begin - this was a total mess. The widow goes from concert pianist who knows nothing but music to a savvy CEO with a killer instinct in 10 days. 3 different men want her - there is no chemistry anywhere, she marries a guy she wants to ruin, her step daughter goes from thinking she's a killer to confiding in just goes on and on.

Since it was written a long time ago, I will assume Ms Coulters storytelling skills have improved.
Oct 09, 2010 rated it liked it
I had a hard time getting into this book and had to force myself to keep reading. At first the characters were very one dimensional, I felt nothing, and could care less about what happened. After about 130 pages things started to get good and crazy. From then on the pace was faster, the story was more interesting, and I wanted to see what would happen. There are a lot of crazy characters in this book!
May 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
Good mystery. I had a little bit of a hard time getting started on it - almost put it down several times. It's about the world or rich and elite business people, one that I can't really relate to, but eventually I got hooked. It is well written and entertaining and ends well.
Creagh Steins
Aug 01, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read in 1 day

Just what I was looking for. An engaging mystery that I didn't want to put down. Have read entire FBI series as they are released, so decided to check this out.
Aug 04, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I have read quite a few of Catherine Coulter's books and this was my favorite so far. A very intense story of suspense and murder intertwined with romance and ruthless backstabbing among the rich. Elizabeth Carleton was on trial for the murder of her husband when a surprise witness takes the stand and gives her an alibi. The jury finds her not guilty but no one really believes she is innocent especially the D.A. This is a story of corporate takeovers and backroom deals that keep you wondering wh ...more
Aug 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
A changed encounter with my first Coulter journey through this audio book, so doubtless the experience is different from reading the hard copy. The splendid performance by the male and female readers made the story twice as entertaining and addictive as a TV drama, and as usual, strong and independent female leads are always welcome. Loved the mystery thrown in that kept me guessing till the very end, ditto for the dark secret Elizabeth was storing from us, totally didn't see that coming. Great ...more
lora joint
Interesting twist!

Good story. A lot of different characters. A little too many. It was a good story line but not easy to follow due to switching, thoughts and characters without starting a new chapter. I actually never read one of her stories that didn't flow well, so a little disappointing.
Gail Coffey
Jul 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book had enough twists and turns to keep me guessing, for quite a while, "who dunnit?" and then how it would end. It has been probably 20 years since I read a Catherine Coulter book and this one lived up to my memories of her well-written, well-plotted mysteries.
Feb 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
An engaging mystery that has an interesting (but somewhat predictable) plot.
Susan Cliburn
Feb 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Another classic from Mrs. Coulter. Keeps you turning those pages. Cooking and cleaning can wait! The reading MUST go on!
Sep 13, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mission-aborted
REVIEW OF AUDIOBOOK; SEPT 2013: 2 stars for what I managed to read
Narrators: Renee Raudmann & Paul Constanzo

I can't even remember what I read/listened to, just that what little I did get through was nowhere as good as a Sandra Brown or Linda Howard. It was actually so boring that even though there are many romantic thrillers from the late 80s and the 90s which are comfort reads, I now realize why Coulter rarely pops up on my radar.

I've tried a couple of her FBI books and found them wanting,
Mar 10, 2011 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
♆ BookAddict  ✒ La Crimson Femme
Elizabeth is a classic pianist who is acquitted of killing her wealthy older husband. Is this inspired by news?

As a romantic suspense, it did have me turning the pages. It wasn't too much of a surprise ending. Some of the situations required suspending belief - like a professional musician becoming a business person and making it successful. That is totally not believable. I think I prefer Ms. Coulter's romantic suspense books.
Diane Wachter
False Pretenses, Catherine Coulter, PB-B @ 1989, 11/00. A concert pianist is accused of murdering her wealthy husband with an ice pick. When a respected psychiatrist swears under oath that she was with him, she is grateful, but wary, she has never seen him before. Everyone she meets is now suspect, and her life is in danger. Good.
Jun 05, 2011 rated it liked it
Does every quote need to include a name? It got very old, very fast that every single utterance, even in coversations between two people or in lines that were attributed to a character, also contained the name of the person being spoken to. I think seeing the name Elizabeth a trillion times on each page just got to me.

Other than that, a fine read. Dated and obvious, but interesting.
Aug 25, 2013 rated it liked it
It was good as far as suspense books go... I wouldn't read it again. Much like Judith McNaught's books, I don't care for reading about the rich, famous and pretentious. So because of the setting and characters, I was pretty much already not going to like the book that much. But for plot, entertainment value, etc. I'd say it was pretty good.
Aug 04, 2014 rated it did not like it
way off .........everything, marriage with a guy who is 37 years older, a will where she gets an imperium etc. etc. etc. and than she starts to take over ....hmmm...with help of the lawyer friend ........oh man, tooo much and I stopped reading in the first quarter !
Pr Latta
Jan 03, 2011 rated it liked it
I believe this was Coulter's first "contemporary" romance. You have to be able to buy in to the premise that a musician "off the street" could quickly take control of a multinational conglomerate -- then drift away... I wasn't as bothered by "datedness" as the Publisher's Weekly reviewer.
Anna Mcfadden
Oct 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
after a suprise witness trail Elizabeth Carleton was founded not guilty of killing her wealthy husband. 3 men shows up in her life and she finds out the hard way about business, men, and trust. when someone trys to kill her she dont know who to trust
Feb 05, 2014 added it
Sandy Menke
Oct 10, 2010 rated it really liked it
Really good who-dunnit!
Apr 19, 2015 rated it it was ok
free bookshelf beach read... pretty much soap opera nonsense
Sep 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: authors-i-like
kept me guessing for a lot of the book. Didnt totally love the characters, but well written
Sheila McCaffrey
Aug 26, 2016 rated it liked it
Picked up at tag sale for easy beach read - met my expectations.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Impulse
  • The First Crush is the Deepest (Girls Just Want to Have Fun #1)
  • The Cabin (Carriage House, #2)
  • Pure Sin
  • The Cowboy's Courtship (The Cowboy Series, #5)
  • The Other Eden
  • The Wrong Side of Dead (Sweet Justice, #2)
  • Count Toussaint's Baby
  • The Secret Sister
  • Blind Curve
  • Girl on a Diamond Pedestal
  • Sweetwater Seduction
  • No Way Home
  • Lost Melody
  • The Haviland Touch (Antiquities Hunters, #2)
  • Slow Burn
  • The Tiger Prince
  • Blank Slate

Romance Deals

  • Wynn in Doubt
    $3.99 $0.99
  • Until Harry
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Lethal Consequences (Aegis Security, #2)
    $4.49 $1.99
  • Things I Should Have Known
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Waiting for the One
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Bombshell (Hollywood A-List, #1)
    $3.99 $2.00
  • Guardians Of Stone (Relic Seekers, #1)
    $4.49 $1.99
  • All the Secrets We Keep (Quarry Road, #2)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Queens of Geek
    $7.80 $2.99
  • Consumed by Fire (Fire, #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Off the Record (Record, #1)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Lovely Reckless
    $7.80 $2.99
  • Never Kiss a Rake (Scandal at the House of Russell, #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Enslaved by the Ocean (Criminals of the Ocean, #1)
    $3.99 $0.99
  • Plain Perfect (A Daughters of the Promise Novel)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Love Fortunes and Other Disasters
    $7.09 $2.99
  • On the Record (Record, #2)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Crash (Crash, #1)
    $4.49 $1.99
  • The Journey Home
    $3.99 $0.99
  • True to the Highlander (Loch Moigh #1)
    $4.99 $2.00
  • Losing Control (Kerr Chronicles, #1)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The CEO Buys In (Wager of Hearts, #1)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Love, Lies & Spies
    $7.80 $2.99
  • Faking It
    $3.99 $1.99
  • 'Til the End of Time: A Loveswept Contemporary Classic Romance (Sedikhan)
    $4.99 $0.99
  • Where Darkness Lies (Criminals of the Ocean, #2)
    $3.99 $0.99
  • Good Girl (Love Unexpectedly, #2)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Immortally Yours (Argeneau #26)
    $6.99 $1.99
  • The Immortal Collection
    $3.99 $0.99
  • Unspoken (The Vampire Diaries: The Salvation, # 2)
    $3.99 $0.99
  • Golden Surrender (Viking #1)
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Beautifully Forgotten (Beautifully Damaged, #2)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Been Here All Along
    $7.09 $2.99
  • Blue Lines (Assassins, #5)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Honor Bound
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Way to Game the Walk of Shame
    $7.09 $2.99
  • One Pink Line
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Redemption (Penton Legacy, #1)
    $4.49 $1.99
  • Promise Me
    $3.99 $0.99
  • The Wedding Pearls
    $4.99 $2.00
  • For Every Solution, A Problem
    $3.99 $0.99
  • Friction
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Fountain Of Secrets (Relic Seekers, #2)
    $4.49 $1.99
  • Royal Affair (Royals in Exile, #2)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Through the Smoke
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Finding Bliss
    $4.99 $0.99
  • Frozen
    $4.99 $1.99
  • She Has Your Eyes
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Cuffed by His Charm (Dirty Little Secrets, #4)
    $4.99 $1.99