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Past Perfect

Past Perfect

A Novel

  • reading group guide
In Past Perfect, Susan Isaacs gives us one of her most glorious characters ever: bright, buoyant, and borderline luscious Katie Schottland. Katie seems to have the ideal life: a great husband, a precocious and winning ten-year-old son, and a dream job -- writer for the long-running TV series Spy Guys. But all is not as splendid as it should be because writing about the espionage business isn't nearly as satisfying as working in it.

Fifteen years earlier, Katie was in the CIA. She loved her job (to say nothing of her boss, the mysterious Benton Mattingly). Yet just as she was sensing she was in line for a promotion, she was fired -- escorted off the premises by two extremely hulking security types. Why? No one would tell her: when you're expelled from the Agency, warm friends immediately become icy ex-colleagues who won't risk their security clearances by talking to you.

Until that day, Katie was where she wanted to be. Coming from a family of Manhattan superachievers, she too had a job she not only adored but a job that made her, in the family tradition, a Someone. Fifteen years later, Katie is still stuck on her firing. Was she set up? Or did she make some terrible mistake that cost lives? She believes that if she could discover why they threw her out, she might be at peace.

On the day she's rushing to get her son off to summer camp, Katie gets a surprise call from former Agency colleague Lisa Golding. "A matter of national importance," says Lisa, who promises to reveal the truth about the firing -- if Katie will help her. Lisa was never very good at truth-telling, though she swears she's changed her ways. Katie agrees to speak with her, but before she can, Lisa vanishes.

Maturity and common sense should keep Katie in the bright, normal world of her present life, away from the dark intrigues of the past. But she needs to know. As she takes just a few steps to find out, one ex-spy who might have the answers dies under suspicious circumstances. Another former agent is murdered. Could it be there's a list? If so, is Katie now on it? And who will be the next to go?
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  • Pocket Star | 
  • 432 pages | 
  • ISBN 9780743463140 | 
  • April 2009
List Price $9.99

Video

Susan Isaacs Gets Rid of Doubts and Gives Advice

Susan Isaacs had doubted whether she could be a novelist. Several books later, she offers advice on becoming a writer.

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Reading Group Guide

Reading Group Guide
Katie Schottland appears to have it all: a great husband and son, an upscale Manhattan lifestyle, and a dream job writing for the television series Spy Guys. But an unexplained incident from her past has long troubled Katie: fifteen years earlier she was dismissed from her post as an analyst at the CIA with no warning and no explanation.
When Lisa Golding, a former Agency colleague, telephones Katie out of the blue and asks for her assistance with "a matter of national importance," she promises, in exchange, to reveal the truth about Katie's firing. Lisa disappears soon after, and Katie finds herself drawn from a fictional spy world into a dark, intriguing real-life case of espionage.
As the body count begins to rise, Katie realizes she might be an assassin's next target but is determined to complete her self-imposed mission. Driven by a need to know what really happened all those years ago, she risks her marriage, her television career, and even her life to finally make peace with the past.
Discussion Questions
1. For fifteen years Katie has obsessed over her termination from the CIA. Why was working at the Agency so important to Katie? How much of her fascination with the job stemmed from her interest in espionage novels and films? And why, as Katie wonders, does being fired "still have such power" over her?
2. The people in Katie's life offer opinions as to why she's so intent on delving into the circ see more

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About the Author

Susan Isaacs
© Deborah Feingold

Susan Isaacs

Susan Isaacs is the author of thirteen novels, including As Husbands Go, Any Place I Hang MyHat, Long Time No See, and Compromising Positions. She is a former editor of Seventeen and a freelance political speechwriter. She lives on Long Island with her husband. All of her novels have been New York Times bestsellers.

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