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BookThe Grift: A Novel by Debra Ginsberg

Publisher: Shaye Areheart Books

Furnished by: Random House through a Shelf Awareness newsletter ad

On Sale Date: August 2008

Publisher’s Description: “What happens when a pseudo psychic suddenly gets the real gift?

Marina Marks has been on the grift as a psychic since she was a child, forced into the business by a junkie mother who was always desperate for her next fix—and willing to use her solemn dark-haired daughter to peddle an extra buck. As an adult, Marina has earned a handsome living preying on the dreams and fears of her clients. She doesn’t believe there is such a thing as psychic ability, but she does believe in intuition. Her gift is the ability to gain the trust of her clients and subtly raise her fees as they become more attached to her and her readings.

But when Marina moves her “intuitive counseling” business out of muggy, cloying Florida to the milder environs of southern California, her past follows her. As she takes on new clients—a trophy wife desperate to bear a child, a gay man involved with a closeted psychiatrist, and a philandering businessman who’s smitten with her—a former client resurfaces in an eerie way. Suddenly, Marina is in love for the first time, but it is a romance whose roots lie deep in her past and threaten her efforts to reinvent herself.

As Marina’s life gets more and more entangled with those of her clients, she makes a startling discovery: she suddenly has the actual ability to see the future. After predicting a murder exactly as it happens, she becomes the sole suspect. Now she’s the desperate one—desperate to clear her name and to discover the meaning behind her visions.”

Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)

Review: A dark and often dramatic novel, The Grift follows pseudo-psychic Marina Marks through what are likely two of the most eventful years of her life. Dark signs and the death of a frequent client of hers push Marina to finally make the move from the east coast to the chaotic calm of the west, and the reader is taken along on a journey that leaves Marina’s entire world turned upside-down. As she builds a new life for herself in California, Marina acquires a volatile new client base which turns both her professional and personal life into a whirlwind she’s unaccustomed to.

And then, of course, there’s the beautiful stranger who shows up at her office one night, causing her to begin breaking apart the steady foundation of rules that her life was – up until now – almost religiously based upon. As a result, Marina finds the impossibilities in her world suddenly becoming not only possible, but inevitable – love, once a silly notion in her eyes, suddenly becomes the forefront of her world. And even more surprising to her, the “intuitive counseling services” she’s been peddling for most of her life suddenly become useless, as she gains the frenzied vision of a true psychic. As if that weren’t enough to deal with, someone (or several someones) want Marina dead.

Whether this novel grips you or not, one thing is inevitable: After reading this story, the scent of roses will never mean the same thing to you again.

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