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Publisher Description

This New York Times bestseller—from “America’s best true-crime writer” (Kirkus Reviews) and the author of The Stranger Beside Me—is a shocking tale of greed, sex, scandal, and murder on an isolated and eerie island in the Pacific Northwest.

With more than 50 million copies of her books in print—from her chilling personal account of knowing Ted Bundy to sixteen collections in her #1 bestselling Crime Files series—Ann Rule is a legendary true crime writer. Here, in Practice to Deceive, Rule unravels a shattering case of Christmastime murder off the coast of Washington State—presented with the clarity, authority, and emotional depth that Rule’s readers expect.

Nestled in Puget Sound, Whidbey Island is a gem of the Pacific Northwest. Accessible only by ferry, it is known for its artistic communities and stunning natural beauty. Life there is low-key, and the island’s year-round residents tend to know one another’s business. But when the blood-drenched body of Russel Douglas was discovered the day after Christmas in his SUV in a hidden driveway near Whidbey’s most exclusive mansion—a single bullet between his eyes—the whole island was shocked. At first, police suspected suicide, tragically common at the height of the holiday season. But when they found no gun in or near the SUV, Russel’s manner of death became homicide.

Brenna Douglas, Russel’s estranged and soon-to-be-ex wife, allowed him to come home for a Christmas visit with their children. The couple owned the popular Just B’s salon. Brenna’s good friend Peggy Sue Thomas worked there, and Brenna complained often to her that Russel was physically and emotionally abusive. Peggy Sue’s own life has been one of extremes. Married three times, hers is a rags-to-riches-and-back-again tale in which she’s played many roles, from aircraft mechanic to “drop-dead gorgeous” beauty queen as a former Ms. Washington. But in 2003, her love affair with married guitarist Jim Huden led the two Whidbey Island natives to pursue their ultimate dreams of wealth and privilege—even at the expense of human life.

Unravel the tangled web woven by Russel Douglas’s murder in Practice to Deceive, a heart pounding true-crime tour de force.

October 8
Gallery Books

Customer Reviews

Rome48 ,

Practice To Deceive

This book is a real page turner. I finished it in 4 days. The twists and turns in the story kept me from putting the book down for very long.
I love Ann Rule books! I know they are true! stories she writes which make them all the more interesting.
In this story, a man is killed on Whidbey Island and 2 possibly 3 females are suspects . The story delves into the relationship between the victims and suspects and the backgrounds of all the characters are presented in crystal clear form .
I admire the author in how she shares with us all the intricate details of the people and how they are involved with each other and also the author shows us the detailed handling of the case by the detectives and law enforcement and how much dedication they had in being determined to get justice by working a decade to resolve a very hard to solve case.
Ms. Rule's insight and fortitude in describing , narrating, and telling true stories is very admirable and I truly enjoy her books. I just finished Practice To Deceive and already have started " Lying In Wait". When searching for a book, Ann Rule books are one of the first ones' in the store I pick up to look at and usually buy. I bet you I'll have read all! her books some day ! Very interesting subjects and excellent storytelling ability! Keep them coming!

Rarntgo ,

Can't Put Down

I have read all of Anne Rule's books and they never cease to keep me up reading all hours of the night. This book is no exception!

MelieRN ,

Ann Rule always delivers

This book could have been a cluster but as usual Ms. rule has the experience and expertise to keep the reader on track and informed of all the characters. As usual, I loved her book. Her character studies allow the reader to gain insight as to how some of these people think. As long as she writes I will be reading.

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