Allure of Deceit

Praise for Allure of Deceit

"Some mysteries and thrillers focus on emotionally detached sleuths and cases where the killer is simply after money. The titles on this list go a step further, tackling difficult relationships and characters facing hard truths, allowing readers to really get invested in the twists that come." And do check out the video .... – Sheila O'Neill, Ezvid

"The writing is superb, the tension almost unrelenting and the incisive eye of this author is everywhere available. This is a fine novel and deserves every rave it will acquire." – Carl Brookins, Buried Under Books

"Allure of Deceit can be thought of as a thriller about culture clash, or unintended consequences, but Susan Froetschel's work is to me, more of a reflection on differences, understanding and forgiveness." – Clare O'Beara, Fresh Fiction

"The story is set in the post 9/11 era. Afghanistan is a country devastated by the Soviet-Afghanistan war, the Taliban, the U.S. invasion after 9/11, and attempt to modernize a country that resists change. U.S. troops are withdrawing and the Taliban is attempting to rise again.... A good read that provides insight into Afghanistan." – Lee Boyland, Dispatches, Military Writers Society of America

"This fascinating murder mystery gives the reader a close look at a culture rarely seen or understood by the West. The often poetic prose paints a moving, lyrical portrait of rural Afghan life. Beautifully written, with a clever plot and memorable characters, Allure of Deceit is a must-read." - Eric Petersen, The Internet Review of Books

"The road to hell definitely is paved with good intentions in this well-written, intelligent, engrossing thriller." - Si Dunn, Books, Books & More (New) Books

"When a group of orphanage workers visiting the village goes missing, everyone with a secret to keep is at risk of being exposed. An interesting perspective on Afghan village life." - Karen Keefe, Booklist

"Froetschel (Fear of Beauty) highlights the problems of charity in this subtle, thought-provoking mystery.... The truth behind Ali’s death proves far from simple in a novel that raises uncomfortable questions about Western efforts to assist people in the developing world." - Publishers Weekly

"You learn a lot about the country, their ways of life, and their attitudes in Afghanistan when you read this author's work.... Everyone has secrets, some more than others. Life is hard here and you can forfeit yours for going against traditional beliefs or acting inappropriately. Add in politics, greed, and power and you have a setting for a real mess." - Jo Ann Hakola, Journey of a Bookseller

"Allure of Deceit is a powerful exposé ... The discerning storyline starts leisurely yet gripping as Susan Froetschel introduces her readers to the underbelly of charities working in poor nations, but also accelerates when Americans go missing where they are not wanted." - Harriet Klausner, Genre Go Round Reviews

"Allure of Deceit is a complex stew of hidden ambitions, good intentions and lies that unravel to devastating consequences. This novel captures the reader in much the same way as an intricate puzzle." - Calliope

“Froetschel brings alive a country foreign to many readers. This provocative novel blends social conscience, long-held secrets, murder, and the reality of village mores.” — Mike Befeler, author of Mystery of the Dinner Playhouse

A smart, sharply plotted thriller that puts the reader on the ground in Afghanistan. Susan Froetschel delivers.” - Daniel Stashower, author of The Hour of Peril: The Secret Plot to Murder Lincoln before the Civil War

“Celebrity philanthropy. Baby trafficking. A mysterious compound in the Afghanistan mountains. Allure of Deceit is an IED of a novel. Trust no one, and step carefully.” - Martin J. Smith, author of the Memory Series crime novels, including Time Release, The Disappeared Girl, and Edgar Award nominee Straw Men

“Froetschel’s crystal clear picture of Afghanistan and its people fascinates me. Though her characters’ lives differ from ours, they are like us in the ways that really matter. They laugh, they love, they seek answers when things puzzle them. This is a mystery with a stunning sense of place.” - Peg Herring, author of the Loser Mysteries

Praise for Fear of Beauty

"Afghanistan's harsh terrain provides the backdrop for Froetschel's moving exploration of the mysterious death of a young exceptionally well-written tale of love, loss, trust, and greed with appeal that reaches far beyond mystery fans." - Publishers Weekly

"Fear of Beauty is a mystery and so much more....tightly plotted .... For readers numbed by a decade of news reports from war-torn Afghanistan, Froetschel provides a fascinating glimpse into life in a humble village. More importantly, she lets us spend time in Sofi's mind and heart. The magic of reading this book is that we become Sofi, and we leave better for the experience." - Cynthia Sabelhaus, Calliope

"The bloodied body of a boy is found in a remote Afghan village, and his mother is desperate to understand her son's death. In this confrontational novel, she defies local men to search for answers and discovers how unchecked fundamentalism can corrode society." - Great Reads, Winter 2013, Ms. Magazine

"Susan Froetschel's novels do what really excellent fiction should do: tell an engrossing, memorable story which also addresses one or more significant issues and opens new ways of thinking about - of approaching - those issues. " - Pam De Voe, President, Greater St. Louis Sisters in Crime

"The character I became most enthralled with was Sofi... [she] soon learns that the conflict enveloping Laashekoh is much larger than Ali's death. Her circle of trust becomes smaller and smaller until Sofi has only her own intelligence to rely upon.... I would recommend this novel to any reader of murder mysteries as well as to anyone interested in women's rights, literacy and religion in the Middle East." - Kristen Elise, Murder Lab

"For all the time that the United States has been at war in Afghanistan, it's rather surprising that we don't know more about how the people in small Afghan villages live.... Froetschel does a wonderful job of presenting both the US and Afghan views of a very complicated situation.... FEAR OF BEAUTY really excels at showing the personal side of life in an extremely challenging environment." - Maddy Van Hertbruggen, Reviewing the Evidence

"[T]his fictional woman halfway across the world isn't so different from you and me. Froetschel has great respect for the Afghan culture and deftly provides a slice-of-life tale that moves, informs and even surprises." - Natalie Papailiou, Shelf Awareness

"Froetschel pulls the reader in almost from the first word with her dynamic plot twists that help extend an understanding concerning Afghani culture and the problems ordinary citizens must contend with on a daily basis.... Beauty is powerful, and that is both terrifying and our salvation." - Jennifer LeRoy, Women's Book Reviews

"Although this book is about the difficulties experienced in Afghanistan between Americans and Afghans, it actually upbeat and hopeful. It shows how people can break down fear of others' cultures by exploring one-to-one human relationships. The issues addressed are many: understanding other cultures: tolerance for religious and cultural differences, women's rights, bullying, trust, relationships, judging others. The book was fast-paced, well written, and educational, while still being compelling" - Judy Stanton, Women's Book Reviews

"Some nice plot twists and all ends happily,...the authenticity of the villagers, their beliefs and background, as well as the American agronomists, ring true. Are we sure the author isn't writing from Afghanistan?... And at the very end, the mystery of the title is solved. A good read." - Dee Longenbaugh, The Daily Sentinel

"This is a very powerful book ... and points to the ever-present challenges that all women face." - Donna Seebo Radio Show

"This story shows how women from all walks of life come together to help each other. It is written with patience and simplicity. And gives a real picture of another part of Afghanistan. Most of us are still curious and definitely worried about the future of this amazing country." - Maurice on Books

"The settings of the two books [Royal Escape and Fear of Beauty] couldn't be more different, but both involve the efforts of a woman to take control of her own life. Both tell their stories effectively, thoroughly engross the reader, and reward with feel-good endings, a fine formula for a novel." - Verna Suit, Gumshoe Review

"...this author does a nice job of drawing you in, making you care about the characters and her words flow well.... She also shows that even in adverse conditions, there is still room for hope. Never give up..." - Jo Ann Hakola, Journey of a Bookseller

"Froetschel does an excellent job of opening a cultural window on those Afghans who have no interest in fighting and merely want to be left alone to raise their families." - Heather Ortiz, City Book Review

"This story of an illiterate Afghan mother's dangerous search for the truth about her young son's death will make readers hold their breath in dread and admiration. Susan Froetschel makes the Afghanistan conflict real on a personal level, in a tale rich with thought-provoking themes - the human rights of women and children in a male-dominated society, the eternal clash of modern and ancient cultures, the individual's struggle to make sense of a world gone mad. Fear of Beauty is a wonderful novel." - Sandra Parshall, Agatha Award-winning author of Bleeding Through

"Susan Froetschel is a superb storyteller. She brings the rugged beauty of Afghanistan, its simple folk, and its many dangers together in a spine-tingling tale that allows a more profound understanding of the war for hearts and minds than would tomes of counterinsurgency." - Nayan Chanda, author of Bound Together: How Traders, Preachers, Adventurers and Warriors Shaped Globalization

"This is a great societal thriller that deftly rotates the lead between Peterson and Sofi. Action-packed, readers will feel they are in Helmand Province.... what makes Fear of Beauty one of the top novels of the year is the moral warning that extreme preservation of a culture's tradition can result in perverting the fundamental belief system; whether it is American, Afghani or otherwise." - Harriet Klausner, The Mystery Gazette