Back in the day, Susan Isaacs was an auto-buy author for me. But that was literally decades ago. When I happened to read an excerpt of her 2019 book, Takes One to Know One, I thought it was time to give her writing another try. And this was an enjoyable, if not completely gripping, read. Or actually, a listen, since I found the audiobook on Scribd.

Corie Geller is a suburban housewife with a checkered past. Not that kind of checkered—she’s a former FBI agent. And some days she regrets trading in her badge for a generally quiet life on Long Island. Her husband Josh is a Federal judge, who delights in intellectual dinner discussions. Their daughter is a tween with requisite attitude. And Corie’s work life is pretty staid overall.

As a freelancer for both publishers and the FBI, Corie works at home. She also belongs to a group of fellow entrepreneurs that meets for lunch every Wednesday. Networking becomes a game of intrigue when Corie starts to question the all-too-familiar behavior of one of her fellow entrepreneurs, Pete Delaney.

My conclusions

Birds of a feather … are more suspicious of each other. And Corie is certainly an inquisitive soul. She starts to dig into Pete’s background and just won’t let go. I can appreciate this aspect of her personality! Plus, if she behaved any other way, Isaacs wouldn’t have a story to tell.

I would have been happier with a little less marital angst. The cognitive dissonance of presenting Corie as a whip-smart former agent while she also anguishes about her move to marriage and suburbia rankled for me. While, some conflicting feelings are probably logical, I think Corie’s mental review of the situation captured too many pages.

Isaac’s writing is crisp and well-honed. She knows when to dive into a descriptive passage, and when action-packed plot progression is the best choice. Now I recall why I liked her all those years ago.

If you’re looking for an escapist mystery that’s not gruesome but not a cozy, this is a solid pick.

Pair with a series like Maisie Dobbs from Jacqueline Winspear or a memoir of real-life FBI experience like Andrew McCabe’s 2019 book, The Threat.


Many thanks to NetGalley, Grove Atlantic / Atlantic Monthly Press, and the author for an advanced reader’s copy of the book, in exchange for this honest review.