The Grift

The Grift

by Debra Ginsberg


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780307382733
Publisher: Crown/Archetype
Publication date: 08/04/2009
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 352
Product dimensions: 5.15(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.75(d)

About the Author

DEBRA GINSBERG is the author of the novel Blind Submission, as well as three memoirs: Waiting, Raising Blaze, and About My Sisters.

What People are Saying About This

Laura Lippman

"The Grift is a gift-a fresh voice and story, with a winning heroine. Another triumph for Debra Ginsberg, who clearly has many gifts of her own."--(Laura Lippman, author of What the Dead Know and Another Thing to Fall)

Janet Fitch

"Debra Ginsberg has done it again in this compulsively readable, suspenseful, and very this-worldly tale of a psychic and her desperate clientele."--(Janet Fitch, author of Paint it Black and White Oleander)

Customer Reviews

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Grift 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 34 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is my first novel. I recently finished the book and I hate to say that I wished it never end. The story line kept my attention throughout and I couldn't wait to see what happened next with Marina's clients. The experience from being told you have a gift as a child to finding out that you indeed have the gift to see the future when she became an adult but not enough to understand the impact to prevent a murder. Marina's character was strong and she never gave up on herself and her ability to help others.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Did you notice how the 'r' is slightly dropped in the title? The definitions that precede the beginning of the novel explain this. 'grift - n. a group of methods used for obtaining money falsely through the use of swindles, frauds, etc.' 'gift - n. a special ability or capacity' Intriguing...and even more so after the prologue. While out on the boardwalk with her junkie mother an old fortune teller identifies a young girl - Marina - as having the 'gift'. Her mother continues to exploit this ideas as Marina is growing up. Fast forward to the present and we find Marina making a living as a psychic, but as a grifter. She is very adept at reading someone's body language and small clues they provide to give them 'psychic' readings. Marina has to leave Florida quickly and she opens a new shop in California, with a valuable ruby ring from her last client on a chain around her neck. While working at a party as a fortune teller, she meets Madeline - a spoiled rich woman, Cooper a confused gay man in love with Max, an even more confused psychiatrist. These introductions lead to more new clients whose lives are inextricably intertwined with each other's and with Marina's. And the ruby ring seems to be a part of all of it. Through a seemingly inevitable chain of events, Marina predicts a murder, but then becomes the prime suspect. But - she's not faking any longer- her psychic ability is actually real now. She just can't see the murderer's face. Just released last month, The Grift defies categorizing for me. It's a mystery, it has some 'otherworldly' aspects but is also a love story and just a really good all round read. It doesn't descend into unbelievability despite the psychic theme but rather presents a 'what if' alternative. Every character was distinctly drawn and came to life for me. Some are flawed, others lovable, some despicable but all come across as real. I found myself reading 'just one more chapter' to find out what would happen next. It's always a treat to find a 'new' ( for me) author like Debra Ginsberg.
knitwit2 on LibraryThing 8 months ago
A great read about a fake psychic who finds out she really has the gift. All this while solving a mystery.
bearette24 on LibraryThing 8 months ago
This novel was definitely suspenseful. It tells the story of Marina, a would-be psychic who suddenly becomes clairvoyant. She has specific visions of the future, and they are threatening to her and displeasing to her clients. As her visions become more and more disturbing, people's lives hang in the balance.Although it was a page-turner, this book was lacking in some respects. The romance between Marina and her client's son felt choppy and inconclusive. Most of the characters were opportunistic, limited and unlikable.
Beecharmer on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Marina has been working as a psychic since she was a child. It started as a way to fund her mother's bad habits. Although she wasn't really psychic, she learned to read people's body language and tell them what they wanted to hear. After getting chased out ot Florida by the Voodoo queens, she moves to California starting her business anew. She meets a man who seems to be watching her and falls in love, but the man is tied to her past. Marina suddenly finds herself seeing visions and realizes that she has the gift. She predicts a murder and when it really happens, becomes the only suspect.
nbmars on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Marina Marks works as a skeptical psychic in California who discovers one day to her great discomfort that she has an actual ability to see into the future. Needless to say, her clients liked her more when she only offered bland insipid bromides to help them muddle through their lives. As we get to know some of Marina¿s regular clients, we also learn that each of them harbors a great resentment towards her: why aren¿t their lives turning out better? What did she ¿do¿ to them? Inevitably, it leads to a murder.Figuring out who did it will take a psychic reader, since everybody has a motive: i.e., seeing a psychic seems to serve as a reminder that their lives haven¿t turned out the way they wanted!It¿s a fun read that doesn¿t go too far over the deep end in spite of the supernatural premise.
caitemaire on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Is it a Grift..or is it a gift?As a child, Marina was taken by her junkie mother to see a boardwalk psychic, who pronounced that the girl had 'the gift', that she was a true psychic. But Marina never bought into it for a minute. For her, the ability was something she actively developed, an intense ability at observation that enables her to see things about her clients that they seem unaware of themselves or need someone to parrot back to them. They hear things that reinforce what they want to hear and therefore are happy campers. And very good repeat customers for Marina, her bread and butter, ¿rich, dissatisfied and looking for meaning anywhere but inside themselves.¿But after a move from Florida to California, a move that made her do something she is ashamed of and that will come back to haunt her, things start to go amiss. A number of interesting characters come into her life, including one who seems to trigger the reappearance of her Gift. Which brings all sorts of unforeseen issues...because it seems no one really wants to know the truth, about themselves or their future.Now, to be honest, I am no believer in psychic ability, and if you aren't, don't let that keep you from reading this book. There is plenty of room in this story for you to make up your own mind about what is going on in terms of her abilities. The story is very well written, very readable, intriguing and suspenseful. There is a murder..and there is a love story. But the real strength of the story is maybe in the characters. Marina, while she may have chosen a questionable occupation, is an intelligent and likable personage. Some of her clients make up a large part of the remaining cast of the story. There is Cooper, the handsome gay man, hopelessly in love with a closeted psychiatrist, Madeline, a young gold digger, desperate to have a child to hold on to her rich, older, and very angry husband, and Eddie, a philandering husband with just a bit of an obsession with Marina. And they will all play their part in how Marina's future will play out.So, a strong recommendation on my part for ¿The Grift¿, an entertaining, good read, the second novel of Debra Ginsburg.I'm off to search out her first, ¿Blind Submission¿, ¿the high-anxiety misadventures of Angel Montgomery, a book lover who becomes a badgered assistant to an extravagantly cruel, histrionic, and elaborately attired literary agent¿ to quote the Booklist write up on it. Ohhhh, that sounds interesting!!
sogamonk on LibraryThing 8 months ago
The description of this book was intriguing to me.Unfortunately i found the writing not to my liking. Not enough dialogue, too descriptive, boring at times.A predictable love story and a not so mysterious mystery.
DevourerOfBooks on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I really, really enjoyed ¿The Grift¿. Marina collected a very interesting, if completely ridiculously neurotic group of clients. While they weren¿t always sympathetic, they weren¿t actively dislikeable either, and they definitely kept my attention. I also loved watching how Marina (and her clients) grew and changed over the course of the book. There is a bit of mystery in the second half of the book and that was fairly well done as well, giving you enough clues without being completely obvious.
jocraddock on LibraryThing 8 months ago
This was an enjoyable novel about the transformation from fraud to honesty. The storyline is intriguing, the Marina character is fascinating, although the subcharacters were sometimes hard to follow, not being too fully developed.
JGoto on LibraryThing 8 months ago
The Grift by Debra Ginsberg is chic-lit with a psychic twist. In the first half of the book Marina Marks is engaged in "grift," swindling clients with her claims of psychic powers. In part two of the book, Marina discovers that she actually has the "gift" of psychic ability. There is romance and a murder in the story and the reader discovers clues along with Marina by following the lives of her various clients, none of whom are particularly likeable. This was a mildly entertaining read, but one that will easily be forgotten.
Lenaphoenix on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Debra Ginsberg's tightly written suspense novel tells the story of a fraudulent psychic, her hopeful, yet needy clientele, and the collision of their lives in a disturbing turn of events that even she couldn't see coming. At the novel's opening, Marina Marks has been working with retired old ladies in Florida when threats from her more voodoo-inclined competition encourage her to relocate to New Age-friendly Southern California. There, she establishes lucrative relationships with customers including a trophy wife desperate to give her husband the baby he wants, a gay man in love with a closeted doctor, and an incurable ladies' man more interested in Marina herself than the future she predicts for him. The most interesting aspect of this novel for me by far was Ginsberg' laser-clear understanding of the phenomenon of cold reading and the psychology of those who seek out psychic advice. Marina is successful in her con because she doesn't just take from her clients, but understands what her clients genuinely need and gives that to them along with her vague insights. The detailed description of how she is able to appear so accurate in her readings is a valuable lesson for anyone who has ever been impressed by the seeming ability of a psychic to know our innermost secrets. Marina's well-controlled act is upended by the arrival of a complicated, attractive new client and disturbing dreams and visions that appear to tell the future she never actually believed she could see. Though I don't believe it's actually possible to predict the future, I was intrigued by how Ginsberg chose have Marina develop psychic abilities that, while accurate in their predictions, were too vague and open to misinterpretation to be of much use before the events themselves occurred. They were, however, very effective in building the suspense that kept me so caught up in the story I read most of the book in one day.
picardyrose on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Pretty good. Apparently LA is a very small town, but overall I liked it.
alceinwdld on LibraryThing 8 months ago
The Grift is a novel about a woman's "gift" of intuition. I enjoyed the character developments and the twists and turns of this mystery. The shifts in time and changes in character sometimes confused me, but overall I was pleased with this book and will be passing it along to friends.
lpmejia on LibraryThing 8 months ago
The victim of childhood abuse and neglect, Marina Marks developed the skills that many children in such circumstances acquire ¿ the ability to read people with a survivor¿s instantaneous accuracy. Following a scheme set in motion by her drug addicted mother and an eerie encounter with an old woman who claims she truly has the second sight, the little girl becomes a psychic, a career she holds on to as an adult as the novel opens. After starting a new life in California, however, events unfold to completely change her idea of who and what she is.As the cover art suggests, the word grift is only one letter away from gift, and this is the fine line Marina walks throughout the novel. From the beginning she doesn¿t see herself as a con artist, merely a ¿counselor¿ of sorts who reads people instead of fortunes. She carries a sense of mild disdain for her clients, a feeling which makes it easier to relieve them of their money. Her self-definition fails, however, once she starts actually seeing ghosts and foretelling the future with frightening accuracy. In the end, Marina must redefine her notions of reality and of herself, a transformation that is not without consequences.The Grift is a well-written story. The plot is original, the characters are engaging, and the author does an admirable job of handling a wide variety of viewpoints with accuracy and skill. The protagonist acts in ways we would expect of one who suddenly finds the world changed, seemingly overnight. It¿s a touch that lends credibility to her character and interest for the reader. A good read for a rainy day.
Myckyee on LibraryThing 8 months ago
This is not the kind of novel I¿m used to reading but its description and title intrigued me enough to request it through a Shelf Awareness ad. The story revolves around a psychic who tries to escape an unsavory past in Florida to start anew. In doing so, she also leaves her loyal customers, some of whom depend on her for their daily dose of hope and in some cases, enjoyment of dreaded events to come. Claire moves to California where she hangs out her shingle and soon draws a new crop of clients. It isn¿t long before her past catches up with her, but it isn¿t clear at first who (or what) among her clientele is trying to do her harm.I found the writing a bit awkward in the beginning but it got better towards the middle of the book. The first half suffered from an over-descriptive narrative and not enough dialogue. Much of the story was filled with what the characters were thinking and feeling and what exactly led them to behave the way they did. It would have served the reader better if there was a lot less `thinking¿ and a bit more `doing¿. The characters, except for for the main protagonist, lacked substance. They were either very good or very bad, or switched between the two extremes without displaying an emotional middle ground.I enjoyed this book for its story ¿ the hint of mystery, Claire¿s visions and what they conveyed, the `six degrees of separation¿ relationships between the characters. The Grift did hold my attention and despite the lack of character depth and some writing flaws, I enjoyed it more than some other novels I could name - but won¿t, since they¿re not worth the mention.
iubookgirl on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Marina Marks has never believed in the gift she claims to have. She has relied on her honed powers of observation to make her living as a psychic. Suddenly, however, her purported gift becomes real. Debra Ginsberg's The G[r]ift charts the journey of Marina and a handful of her clients over a two year period in which all their lives undergo drastic changes. Ginsberg expertly weaves these threads together and shows how small the world really is, even in a city like San Diego.Despite their many, many flaws, Ginsberg characters are likable. Their struggles are typical--fertility, adultery, sexuality--and their reactions, however unfortunate, are fairly typical as well. You can identify with them, and it keeps you engaged. As Marina comes closer to discovering her true gift, her clients begin to fall apart, and they all blame Marina. By the time tragedy strikes, anyone could be responsible. Ginsberg keeps the reader guessing throughout the novel. I was constantly wondering what would happen next as several mini-mysteries evolved and resolved throughout the narrative. I thoroughly enjoyed The G[r]ift and recommend it highly to other readers.
kmaziarz on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Marina Marks has been using her sharp powers of observation and finely honed intuition to convince willing clients of her psychic abilities ever since she was a small child and her drug-addicted mother used her daughter¿s ¿gift¿ to make a little extra money on the side. As an adult, Marina makes a pretty decent living telling her clients exactly what they need to hear, but when she sets up shop in Florida, she soon finds herself being run out of town by the competing local voodoo queens and other assorted wise-women. Desperate, she convinces one of her wealthier little old lady clients that her son is in danger, and finds herself $3000 richer and in unwilling possession of a ruby ring¿a gift to the client from her son. Marina uses the money she has extracted to move her operation to a paradise for psychics and other New Age grifters¿Southern California. Once settled into San Diego, Marina begins to build up a new client base. There is Madeline, a rich man¿s wife who hires Marina for a lavish party and then retains her to provide guidance as Madeline frantically tries to conceive an heir for her bitter husband; Cooper, an attractive gay man desperately in love with a psychiatrist who is in deep denial about his own sexual orientation; Cassie, a hairdresser intimately involved with Eddie, a married womanizer; and Eddie himself, who is obsessed with Marina because she shows not the slightest hint of surrender to his charms. Marina is, if not happy, at least content with the life she is building, perfectly willing to continue serving as a mirror for her clients¿ hopes and fears and making a pretty decent living doing so.But then Gideon comes along. Handsome, evasive about his history, and an old-fashioned romantic, he swiftly finds his way into Marina¿s heart. She begins to neglect her clients, and their resentment towards her grows as their lives continue to spiral into chaos. But Marina doesn¿t care, because she is finally finding happiness¿until the day she finds out just who Gideon is and what he wants. Her love life is in shambles, and her professional life is quickly approaching the same state. And then, to add insult to injury, Marina¿a professional psychic who doesn¿t believe in psychics¿suddenly starts seeing ghosts, glimpses of the future, and the insides of peoples¿ minds. Fast-paced and whimsical, ¿The Grift¿ is a delightful and clever tale about learning to live with oneself and one¿s gifts and the importance of being who you are rather than who other people may want you to be.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very well written... The Grift kept me entertained and involved with all of the characters... Will read this book again...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a different novel; engaging and quirky without being pretentious. I really enjoyed it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kathy Mikulski More than 1 year ago
Really enjoyed this book. Quick, fun, and easy read!!
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MaxreaderTX More than 1 year ago
Ginsberg has quickly become one of my favorite authors! This story about a "psychic" is a fun ride! Ginsberg is great at endearing the reader to the eclectic cast of characters! It's very cool how all of Marina's clients are randomly interconnected and how the story progresses for each through the "readings" with Marina. Really fast and enjoyable read. If you have ever wondered whether the "gift" is real or not, you will love this book!