Deceitby James Siegel
It looks like just another car crash: a head-on collision on a lonely stretch of desert highway that leaves one driver dead. Yet Tom Valle, the local newspaperman assigned to the story, is damned good at spotting lies. He should knowonce a star reporter at America's most prestigious daily, he was disgraced after being caught spinning columns of lies and
It looks like just another car crash: a head-on collision on a lonely stretch of desert highway that leaves one driver dead. Yet Tom Valle, the local newspaperman assigned to the story, is damned good at spotting lies. He should knowonce a star reporter at America's most prestigious daily, he was disgraced after being caught spinning columns of lies and exiled to the smallest town paper that would have him. Seeking personal redemption and the resurrection of his career, Valle investigates a trail of cover-up, fraud, and murder stretching back for decades. But the path of corruption is so dark, Valle wonders if this story will redeem him, or kill him.
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Read an Excerpt
By James Siegel
WARNER BOOKSCopyright © 2006 James Siegel
All right reserved.
Chapter OneI am writing this as fast as I can. I am galloping through hostile territory like the Pony Express, because I absolutely must deliver the mail.
I've already taken my fair share of arrows. And though I'm clearly wounded, I'm not dead.
Not yet. I'm trying mightily to remember everything germane. I'm a bit shaky on the timeline, on the cause and effects. On specificity.
I am freely and honestly admitting to this. Just so when all the little editors begin flourishing their red pencils, and they will, I'll have hopefully, if only momentarily, dulled the momentum of their onrushing venom.
I don't blame them. I truly don't. I am, after all, the boy who cried wolf. Who shouted, screamed, and plastered it across two-inch headlines.
Mea culpa. All I can tell you is that what I'm writing in this claustrophobic motel room is the absolute, unvarnished, 100 percent truth.
So help me God. Scout's honor. Cross my heart and hope to die. Change hope to expect. This isn't just my last story. It's my last will and testament. Pay attention. You are my executor.
ONE BRIEF DIGRESSION. Writing my last story, I can't help but remember my first. I was 9.
It was snowing. Not the paltry dusting that generally passed for snow in Queens, New York. No, thesky was actually dumping snow, as if someone had loosened a giant saltshaker top up there. Icicles were being blown off our sagging gutters and straight into the brick walls of the house, where they splintered with the sound of ball meeting bat.
Schools would be closed all week. My brother Jimmy slipped on the ice and he hit his head, I wrote on neatly lined composition paper. He is always falling down and stuff like that. He walked into a door and he got a black eye. Last week he fell down in the tub, and he burnt himself. He is really clumsy and my mom keeps telling him to watch where he's going, but he don't listen. He is only 6.
I brought the story into the kitchen where my mother was slumped over the table, staring into an empty bottle of Johnnie Walker.
"Read it to me," she slurred. After I finished, she said: "Okay, good. I want you to memorize it. They'll be here in an hour."
Excerpted from Deceit by James Siegel Copyright © 2006 by James Siegel. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Meet the Author
James Siegel grew up in New York and drove a cab while attending community college. One day a passenger suggested he apply for a copywriting job at his advertising agency, BBDO. Despite his award-winning career there, he never abandoned his dream of writing a novel.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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Having read Siegel's other 3 books, I was very disappointed with this one. It takes the investigativeness from Epitath and uses the story telling style of Derailled. But where both of those books were excellent, this one falls short of the mark. Tom Valle is a reporter who was fired for fabricating stories. He ends up in a small town called Littletown (I guess the name is appropos) where the local newspaper editor gives him a chance in spite of Tom's reputation. Tom covers a car crash involving two cars, with one survivor. When Tom interviews the survivor he notices some inconsistancies. His interest is piked when the coroner says that the man actually killed may have different physical characteristics then he is supposed to be. As Tom starts to investigate more he is fed a lot of information in ways resembling the lies he told when he was the lying reporter in his previous life. Tom starts to suspect there is a big conspiracy involving a flooded out town from 50 years prior. He cannot share his feelings with anyone because if he says what he suspects, he would have to say how he got his info and since it was in the manner of his previous lies, nobody would believe him. The story as it goes along seems totally implausible and the people who want the plot kept secret could easily dispose of Tom any time they want (just like the previous Littletown reporter that was investigating the plot). At times it is difficult to understand what is going on. The best part of the book is some of the prose that Siegel uses. He has a way for describing things that is very unique. Based on that I gave the book 3 stars.
Deciet is a thriller-type novel that is very focused on the main character, Tom Valle. In the book Valle is a disgraced journalist who can only find work in a remote California town. He pieces together a plot that covered-up the cause of a local disaster that would shake the foundations of the governmnet. However, no one believe him anymore. The author has a cynical tone in the book and lots of low-key humor. It's not bad, but requires the reader to swallow some coincidences and warm-up to the shady protagonist.
Although the book moves along quickly enough, it is written in a very disjointed style which does not serve this genre well. After 'Derailed' and 'Detour' I was greatly looking forward to this one only to find this as an ok book and an overall let-down
Being on top and them tumbling to the bottom in disgrace can result in all kinds of emotions - fear, pain, embarrassment, anger and, for some, a determination to climb back up at any cost. The latter was the case with Tom Valle, a once respected and highly paid journalist. He'd had it all but once it was discovered that he had fabricated some 50 stories he's down to nothing. Nothing, that is, but a lowless job at a small news paper in Littleton, California, probably the only paper in the Western Hemisphere that would hire him. It seemed for a while that this was the end of the road for Tom until there was a head-on collision on a deserted highway that left one driver dead. Tom smells a story, maybe even a story big enough to redeem him. He begins to investigate and finds only one lie after another. Obviously, there's a cover-up. Tom is determined to discover the truth but he's alone in his search as he's already made up 50 stories too many. Voice performer Dylan Baker has numerous film and television roles to his credit as well as accolades for his audio book narrations. He is the voice of Tom, telling the story from his perspective, injecting appropriate doses of suspense as well as leaving listeners pulling for a pretty imperfect hero. - Gail Cooke
I could not put this book down. Reading this book was like being taken for a fun ride and not wanting it to end. Very fast paced. I enjoyed this book more than Mr. Seigel's last book, Detour, and almost as much as Derailed.
Reporter Tom Valle worked the big time until he got lazy and began making up his stories until he was caught branded a cheat and liar, and his career died. He finds multitask-work at the Littleton Journal in Littleton, California, one hundred and fifty three miles from Los Angeles. Tom knows his chances of returning from the shunning and exile is slim as only an incredible story could make him acceptable again, but in Littleton there is nothing beyond the ordinary as he learned in his two years of banishment. Driver Dennis White of Iowa drifts across to the other side leading to a deadly crash the other driver Edward Crannel of Ohio survives. At the Muhammad Alley bowling lanes, Tom obtains information about the deceased from the ¿medical examiner¿ including a castration shocker. Tom ponders the odds of a Hawkeye and a Buckeye crashing in the isolated California desert. Following up on what he learned at bowling, Tom finds out that Dennis White is alive in Iowa. The reporter makes further inquiries and begins to piece together a conspiracy that he cannot believe is real so why would anyone else accept the word of a defrocked journalist. --- Tom¿s hopes for a second chance for redemption make for a fine thriller as he has the story that could give it to him but his creditability is so negative that no one would believe him. The locals add humor and color as they accept Tom for what he is, an outcast who would never have found the town on a map that is why the sheriff calls him Lucas (read to understand the reference). The fun story line is filled with twists and turns yet the audience ironically seems one step ahead of the reporter as Tom struggles with fact being weirder than his ¿short story¿ fictions that cost him his place at the top of pyramid. --- Harriet Klausner
I like James Siegel, but this book just didn't cut it. It kept me interested enough but I though the ending was left with way too many questions. It wasn't the best book.