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From Merrimon Book Reviews
The Arrangement
The Arrangement by Suzanne Forster
by Suzanne Forster
   5 Hearts   
Suspense better than Hitchcock !
Publisher: Mira (May 2007)
The Arrangement creates a heart chilling tale of suspense by adding echoes of some of the best suspense classics into a new context that will delight readers. The plot, characterization and detours are subtly prepared but this book is so much more than a well-written book!

Andrew Villard's wife had disappeared at sea three days ago when he spots something shiny while searching for her. He pulls a near lifeless body out of the ocean. Realizing that the shiny bracelet on her wrist belongs to his wife Alison Fairmont Villard, he saves her life and hires the best plastic surgeons to reconstruct her reef-battered face from photographs. Alison wakes up in the hospital with a case of amnesia. She does not recognize her face nor the man who calls himself her husband. Circumstances force her to trust him and accept the scandalous arrangement he offers --- even though her intuition balks at the idea. She has her own secrets to hide. When an FBI agent Tony Bogart appears, he is determined to prove Andrew's guilt in Alison's accident. With Tony's personal vendetta as motivation, no hidden evidence is safe. Can the arrangement protect her or has she created an even more deadly threat by accepting it?

Suzanne Foster's portrayal of a severely dysfunctional families is heart-chilling. Every character, whether primary or secondary, has a role to play in a carefully prepared and unfolding nexus of suspense. Beyond the literary and stylistic perfection of this novel, The Arrangement strikes the heart of suspense fans with familiar echoes in a new chord. Take my favorite two Alfred Hitchcock movies, my favorite Daphne DuMaurier novel and add just a tiny twist of my favorite Nathaniel Hawthorne short story...mix it around and add more, transform it and you have Suzanne Forster's The Arrangement --- and yet Foster's novel is so much better than any of those mentioned above! Seen together with these classics, the genius of Forster's writing becomes even more apparent. Her transformation of familiar themes into a new story entirely new is as satisfying as the suspense!

In Suzanne Forster's The Arrangement, no detail is gratuitous. In comparison to lesser suspense writers who substitute gore, violence and sex for suspense, this novel needs no substitution or addition to thrill suspense fans. Now, there are definitely murders here, a kinky scene (which absolutely must be there for the perfect & satisfying resolution) and definitely some disturbed people, but this novel is true suspense at its best. Each detail is carefully prepared, each character's secrets add to the heightening suspense, no detour is superfluous but rather adds to the vision of the disturbed world. The carefully prepared trails twist and turn to the perfect resolution. Magnificent!

Don't forget to read the dedication before AND after completing this novel. Heartwarming!

Reviewed by Merrimon, Merrimon Book Reviews

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