Books

Click cover for more about the book

Buy Now Buy Now

Share on Goodreads

“An intricately woven family tapestry.”

“Pitch Perfect in Goldberg Variations” by Ellen Meister, Long Island Woman


Goldberg Variations

A Novel

Gloria Garrison nee Goldberg isn’t getting any younger. At seventy-nine, it’s time for her to plan for the future of Glory, Inc., the Santa Fe-based beauty makeover business that Gloria has grown from zilch into an eleven-million-a-year bonanza.

But now Gloria has alienated her former business partner and chosen successor. Who will take over Glory? Gloria’s never been big on family and wrote them all out of her will, but suddenly she must contemplate her three grandkids as possible candidates.

There’s twenty-nine-year-old Daisy, a New York story editor for a movie studio. Her brother, twenty-seven-year-old Matt, does sports PR. He can charm his way around ball players, the press, and a flurry of women. And there’s gutsy Raquel, who at age twenty-five is laboring away as a Legal Aid lawyer. She’s Catholic and a Goldberg and proud of it.

When Gloria sends business-class tickets to tempt the three grandkids for a visit, they couldn’t be more surprised. Stranger still is the revelation that one of them and only one, may be offered the chance to inherit Glory.

Always sassy, smart, and wickedly witty, Susan Isaacs is at her formidable best in a novel that is both hilariously funny and a deeply moving tale of family, faith, and reconciliation.


Buy Now Buy Now

Share on Goodreads

“Fast paced and immensely satisfying, As Husbands Go is a novel about a woman trying to prove that her charmed life was no fairy tale, and in the process learning a lot about herself.”

Bookpage


As Husbands Go

As Husbands Go, the latest from critically acclaimed, bestselling author, Susan Isaacs, is rare mix of wit, social satire, ethical inquiry and suspense. Its beautifully-drawn characters leap from the page to speak directly to the reader. The author’s twelfth novel is moving story about a love that just won’t give up.

Call her superficial, but Susie B. Anthony Rabinowitz Gersten assumed her marriage was great — and why not? She was beautiful. Talented too, but not threateningly so. Her husband, Jonah Gersten, M.D., a handsome, successful Park Avenue plastic surgeon, clearly adored her, and they were doting parents to their four-year-old triplets Dashiell, Evan, and Mason. But when Jonah is found in the Upper East Side apartment of second-rate “escort” Dorinda Dillon, Susie is overwhelmed with questions left unanswered. It’s bad enough to know your husband’s been murdered, but even worse when you’re universally pitied (and quietly mocked) because of the sleaze factor.

None of it makes sense to Susie — not a sexual liaison with someone like Dorinda, not the “better not to discuss it” response from Jonah’s partners. With help from her tough-talking, high-style Grandma Ethel who flies in from Miami, she takes on her snooty in-laws, her husband’s partners as well as the NYPD, and the DA. She wants to know if the person arrested for the homicide is the actual perp, or just an easy mark for a prosecutor who hates the word “unsolved.” And for her own peace of mind, she hopes to prove her wonderful life with Jonah was no lie.

Susan Isaacs brilliantly turns the conventions of the mystery on end as Susie Gersten, suburban mom, floral designer, and fashion plate, goes from shallow to deep in her search for the truth about her husband’s life and death.

>> Susan’s inspiration for As Husbands Go.


Buy Now Buy Now

Share on Goodreads

“Feisty, funny, and smart.”

The New York Times


Past Perfect

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?

>> Susan’s inspiration for Past Perfect.


Buy Now Buy Now

Share on Goodreads

“A one-volume vacation reader.”

Los Angeles Times


Lily White

Lee (née Lily) White is a defense lawyer practicing on Long Island. Into her life drifts Norman Torkelson, a career con man charged with strangling his latest mark. At first, the case seems open and shut. But just as Lee is resigning herself to a guilty verdict, she begins to have doubts. After all, what was Norman’s motive? Lee starts to wonder if her client is covering for the real killer, and in doing so, performing the first selfless act of his life. As the case unfolds, so does the story behind the story: Lee is a privileged child coming age on Long Island. Her parents are devoted to the pursuit of money and status. When Lee marries a scion of Long Island blue bloods, her life seems blessed. But is the sacrifice of her dreams worth the approval she garners from her parents?

>>Susan’s inspiration for Lily White.


Buy Now Buy Now

Share on Goodreads

Any Place I Hang My Hat is a clear-eyed look at a generation in flux.”

Chicago Tribune


Any Place I Hang My Hat

No matter which side of the nature/nurture debate you’re on, Amy Lincoln’s prospects do not look good. Her mother abandoned her when she was ten months old (just a couple of months after Amy’s father went off to serve his first prison term), leaving her in the care of Grandma Lil, who shoplifts dinner on the way home from her job as a leg waxer to the rich and refined.

When Amy is fourteen, she gets a scholarship to a New England boarding school – her exposure to the moneyed class. After Harvard and the Columbia School of Journalism, Amy becomes a political reporter for the prestigious weekly In Depth. While covering a political fund-raiser, Amy meets a college student who claims to be the son of one of the presidential candidates. It’s precisely the sort of story that In Depth wouldn’t deign to cover, but the idea of tracking down a lost parent and demanding recognition intrigues Amy. As she begins a search of her own past as well as the candidate’s, she discovers a new and unimpeachable grandmother and a mother who is much more than she bargained for. Most important, she finally comes to understand the stuff she’s made of and finds the perfect place to hang her hat in the world.

Bold, insightful, witty, and exhilarating, Any Place I Hang My Hat is a novel about one extraordinary young woman looking for a place to belong – by one of the most compelling and beloved voices in contemporary fiction.

>> Susan’s inspiration for Any Place I Hang My Hat.


Buy Now Buy Now

Share on Goodreads

“A big winner.”

New York Post


Compromising Positions

Judith Singer, the protagonist of Compromising Positions, is intelligent, brash and witty. But she is trapped by her lifestyle in Shorehaven (“minutes from Fitzgerald’s East Egg”); a stuffy husband (“Judith, don’t tell me you haven’t gained weight. I can see it in your waist.”) demanding children (“I hate her peanut butter. It’s the smooth kind.”) and a stultifying suburban home (“two weeks of accumulated laundry”).

When Dr. Bruce Fleckstein, a local periodontist and notorious stud, is found murdered, Judith’s life takes an interesting turn- and is infused with a sense of purpose.

It turns out that besides being one of the flashiest of Long Island’s gum-probers, Fleckstein was also a camera buff, as several of Judith’s acquaintances weepily disclose- weepily because their portraits were taken in what were once described as “compromising positions.”

Poking into the murder case on a lark, Judith quickly discloses her own innate talents and keed perceptions, spiced with irrepressible humor and irreverent social commentary. And the discoveries include not only her blossoming femininity and a burgeoning sense of her potential as a woman — but also an attractive homicide lieutenant who, in attempting to arrest her for meddling with the case, finds himself instead arrested by her contagious warmth, wit and sexuality.

Judith Singer is the most endearing and engaging of heroines in current fiction in her pursuit of solutions to the case, her self, and a position in life that is in no way compromising.


Buy Now Buy Now

Share on Goodreads

“Susan Isaacs writes wonderful books… endlessly entertaining and beautifully written.”

Los Angeles Times


After All These Years

Rosie Myers, high school English teacher, wife and mother, didn’t exactly object when her husband Richie changed from an easy-going math teacher into the hotshot president of a multi-million-dollar corporation in Manhattan. Well, she did worry how living on a grand waterfront estate in Long Island might affect the family, but what could be bad about the good life? She finds out when Richie leaves her the morning after their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary party – for a younger, prettier, and possibly smarter woman. Since then, Rosie’s been living alone in the big house, grieving over her loss… and eating more chocolate chocolate chip ice cream than is necessary to sustain life. Late one night, on her way to the refrigerator, she trips over – Richie! Dead on the kitchen floor, a carving knife in his chest. True, there is no evidence that anyone besides Rosie and Richie were in the house. Admittedly, Rosie does have a motive. And the murder weapon came from her kitchen. So naturally the police think she’s guilty. Rosie knows she has to save herself. Hours before she’s to be arrested, she gives the police the slip and heads for New York City to find the real killer. What she discovers is that Richie, the husband she thought she knew, had been living a secret, high-style life as he tried to charm his way into the jet-set.

On the lam in Manhattan, Rosie summons guts and savvy she never knew she had. In her daring and devious quest for the killer, she brilliantly pieces together the clues to her freedom and meets some old friends along the way who show her how to live again after all these years with the wrong man. After All These Years is an irresistible mystery, replete with Isaac’s razor-sharp wit, splendidly drawn characters, and a brave, irreverent heroine readers will love.

>> Susan’s inspiration for After All These Years.


Buy Now Buy Now

Share on Goodreads

“This long-awaited sequel to the best-selling comic mystery Compromising Positions (1978) reintroduces feisty Long Islander Judith Singer…A gripping plot with skillfully rendered secondary characters and plenty of tart humor make this sequel every bit as entertaining as its predecessor.”

Booklist


Long Time No See

Judith Singer is back! After twenty years Susan Isaacs brings us back the heroine fromCompromising Positions, her first and most beloved novel and returns to a great suspense story set in suburbia. Judith’s life has changed. She now has her doctorate in history. Her workaday hours are spent at St. Elizabeth’s College, mostly squandered in history department shriek-fests. She is also a widow. Her husband Bob died one half-day after triumphantly finishing the New York City Marathon in four hours and twelve minutes. And although twenty years have passed without seeing him, she still cannot get her former lover, Nelson Sharpe of the Nassau County Police Department, out of her system.

With Courtney Logan’s dramatic disappearance, all eyes turn instantly toward her husband, Greg Logan, son of Long Island mobster Philip “Fancy Phil” Lowenstein. But since there is no body, there is no arrest. Then, in the less-than-merry month of May, Judith comes home from work, turns on the radio, and hears the Logans’ pool man telling a reporter that he opened the pool and found . . . a raccoon? Not quite. “I see, you know, it’s a body! Jeez. Believe it or not, I’m still shaking.” The woman in the pool turns out to be Courtney, and now it’s officially homicide. And Judith comes alive! She offers her services to the police’s chief suspect, Greg Logan, but he shows her the door, thinking her just another neighborhood nut. But his father isn’t so sure: Fancy Phil may have other plans for her.

Long Time No See is Susan Isaacs at her wickedly observant best. With razor-sharp wit and an irresistible mystery, she brings us back in touch with an engaging, endearing and irreverent heroine we haven’t seen in far too long.

>> Susan’s inspiration for Long Time No See.


Buy Now Buy Now

Share on Goodreads

“An intimate, extensive family saga, probing the anatomy of a marriage between two larger-than-life, yet immensely likeable people, and, above all, creating one of the most interesting heroines ever to surface in a blockbuster…”

Mademoiselle


Almost Paradise

A beautiful man. A brilliant woman. And a life together that is almost paradise.

Susan Isaacs, bestselling author of Compromising Positions and Close Relations, joins America’s first-rank novelists with this rich and complex story of Jane and Nicholas Cobleigh, of the generations that sired them, and of the wide cast of family and friends with whom their lives are intertwined. Nicholas is the handsome, elusive, awesomely aristocratic scion of one of the East Coast’s oldest families. Jane — supremely intelligent, awkward, and deliciously funny — is the product of a disastrous union between a down-on-her-luck (but eternally optimistic) burleque queen and the dreary Cincinnati bank clerk she dupes into marriage.

But Almost Paradise is more than just the recounting of two lives. All of Susan Isaacs’ characters are alive — colorful, human and beautifully textured: James, Nicholas’ father, an embittered, hard-drinking, womanizing former OSS spy stuck in a Wall Street law firm; Dorothy, Jane’s vicious, avaricious stepmother; Murray, their savvy, good-hearted agent; their daughters, the chilly Victoria, the vulnerable Elizabeth.

Almost Paradise is the Colbleighs’ story, together and apart, from the cold-water flat in Hell’s Kitchen to the rolling, verdant Connecticut farm to the Fifth Avenue duplex, from their vastly different backgrounds to their life together that transcends what either alone could achieve. It is a tale of great wealth and great celebrity in the midst of personal tragedy, of the ties that bind us all together, and the missed opportunities that tear us apart.

Susan Isaacs has written a profoundly moving drama with wit, warmth, irony, and compassion — a deep and gripping saga that penetrates to the heart of our modern culture.

>> Susan’s inspiration for Almost Paradise.


Buy Now Buy Now

Share on Goodreads

“Sizzling… Shining Through explodes more than one myth about being as American as apple pie.”

Los Angeles Times


Shining Through

“In 1940, when I was thirty-one and an old maid, while the world waited for war, I fell in love with John Berringer.” Every night Linda Voss covers her typewriter, says goodnight to the other secretaries and takes the subway from Wall Street to her home in Queens, where she has dreams about her boss, the extravagantly handsome, brilliant and altogether unattainable John Berringer. But she is a realist and knows that her reveries of bliss in Mr. Berringer’s arms are simply consoling fantasies. And yet four years later, Linda Voss Berringer no longer needs dreams to comfort her; this ordinary working girl emerges triumphant from the ruins of the second world war as a woman of valor, a genuine hero. Linda’s story involves passion, when a blazing affair with John Berringer leads to pregnancy and a gentlemanly offer of marriage; then betrayal, as their marriage is rocked by John’s faithlessness; and finally intrigue, both the polite variety of Wall Street wives and a more deadly kind when Linda joins the war effort as a spy. The master of her own fate in a world out of control, Linda penetrates the heart of Nazi terror and carries out one of the war’s most deadly missions. Like a blazing rocket, the novel ends in an explosion of danger, action and unexpected romance.

>> Susan’s inspiration for Shining Through.


Buy Now Buy Now

Share on Goodreads

“Both on the large scale and the small [Red, White and Blue is] an absorbing chronicle of the American character.”

Kirkus Reviews


Red, White and Blue

Compromising Positions to Lily White -- seven critically acclaimed novels, seven New York Times bestsellers. Now, with her eighth novel, Susan Isaacs has written her finest work yet. Red, White and Blue tells the story of two ordinary Americans who find it within themselves to become extraordinary heroes.

Charlie Blair of Wyoming and Lauren Miller of New York start out as strangers. They are drawn together by an appalling hate crime and by their mutual passion for justice. Yet they share more than a sense of fair play. They are not simply kindred spirits but actual kin, descendants of immigrants who met on a boat on their way to America, in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty.

Special Agent Blair of the FBI has the numbing job of a bureaucrat and the soul of a cowboy. A wry Westerner from his Stetson to his boots, he also happens to be the great-great-grandson of . . . Dora Blaustein? Dora what? True, although he is unaware of that particular ancestor. A nearly burned-out case at thirty-four, he is about to walk away from the safe world of paper-pushing to risk his life in Wyoming, infiltrating an armed, white supremacist, viciously anti-Semitic group called Wrath. Wyoming born and bred, Charlie seems the perfect choice for this undercover operation, because who in Wrath could question this whiter-than-white man, so clearly one of their own?

Also in Jackson Hole is Charlie’s apparent opposite. Gen-X Lauren Miller is articulate, ironic-and unwaveringly liberal. A journalist from Long Island, she has been hired by theJewish News to investigate a bombing that Wrath is suspected to be behind. Lauren’s job is to know who, what, where and when, of course. But most of all, she is compelled to discover why. Why are all these people who’ve never met a Jew in their lives obsessed with Jews-and why do they want them dead? Just who is it who gets to define who is an American?

With narrative grace, insight and her trademark exuberant wit, Isaacs not only chronicles Lauren’s and Charlie’s investigations, but explores their American heritage as well: How did their forebears-how did all of our forebears-get from there to here? And what can this mountain man and this suburban woman possibly share-except a few random genes?

Intelligent, exhilarating and intensely moving, Red, White and Blue is a novel about what makes Americans American.

>> Susan’s inspiration for Red, White and Blue.


Buy Now Buy Now

Share on Goodreads

“Good news for Isaacs’s fans: She is back in top form… again exhibiting her wickedly observant eye and flair for ricocheting pitch-perfect dialogue.”

Publishers Weekly


Magic Hour

Susan Isaacs brings her wicked wit and keen understanding of what really goes on between men and women to a very different slice of Long Island- the Hamptons.

Magic Hour. That perfect time, that fleeting hour of enchanted light near dusk and dawn that is perfect for moviemaking, perfect for making love. Perfect for murder.

And into the magic hour steps Stephen Brady, wise guy, tough guy, local farm boy turned homicide cop, and a good man with a very bad life. But just as his luck is about to change, the rich, gifted, and urbane filmmaker Sy Spencer is murdered, and Brady discovers that his prime suspect is a woman he and the victim shared.

A spellbinding mystery, a scathing social satire and a poignant love story, Magic Hour looks beyond the trendy magazine-cover Hamptons’ world of the summer set’s high-cheekboned elegance and the locals’ down-on-the-farm authenticity into the hearts of real people.

This is the story of the treacherous murder that rocks them all and of the police detective who is too cold-hearted, too world-weary to ever fall in love- until he does.

>> Susan’s inspiration for Magic Hour.


Buy Now Buy Now

Share on Goodreads

“Delightful.”

Cosmopolitan


Close Relations

Marcia Green is a sophisticated, witty, successful New Yorker, a whiz of a political speech writer, a woman who finds a smoke-filled room more intoxicating than a magnum of champagne. Her private life is a little less bubbly. She has a passionate but not very promising live-in relationship with her boss’s dashing chief of staff, Jerry Morrissey. He offers her only a good time — but what a time!

Can Marcia resist when a new man arrives on the scene, a man who is exactly the sort her family wants her to marry — bright, kind, attractive, wealthy, and charming- in short, too good to be real?

Marcia’s determination to find the right kind of man, as well as the right kind of life, makes Close Relations a compelling novel. It is a book that says something very important about the things that are vital to all of us, about men and women, about sex, money, work, family values and about what we need most in today’s world — close relations.

>> Susan’s inspiration for Close Relations.