Memphis Reads – Pretending to be Erica by Michelle Painchaud

Staff Book Reviews

Andrea reviews PRETENDING TO BE ERICA by Michelle Painchaud (Viking, 2015)

Violet is not your average good girl. She is one of the most intelligent con artists this side of Las Vegas. Adopted and raised by single guy Sal, he taught Violet every scam and hustle he knew and some Violet was able to learn on her own.

Sal has been grooming Violet her entire life for this major hustle. The two of them, with lots of help from doctors and specialists paid under the table, are going to transform Violet into Erica Silverman, the golden child who was abducted when she was in preschool.

It’s been nearly a decade since young Erica was taken from her very affluent family. Her father is grieving in a mental institution but her mother never gave up hope she would see her daughter alive again. The Silverman family also owns a very special and expensive oil painting that Sal must get his grubby little paws on; therefore, the heist was put in motion.

Sal and Violet know there have been two other “Ericas” who have tried and failed, so their plan must be fine-tuned to the nth degree. They also know the FBI, reporters, and detectives will be watching Violet’s every move. People are skeptical this is the real Erica, but as long as Mrs. Silverman believes, Violet and Sal are that much closer to stealing the painting.

Violet knows the risks of this endeavor but losing Mrs. Silverman’s trust and maternal love for her saved daughter is going cost Violet more.

Full of twists and turns, Ms. Painchaud has given her readers quite a thriller that questions what is really important in life. Would you rather have love and protection or material possessions to make you happy? And what would you sacrifice for either?

Andrea Bledsoe King, Cordova Branch Library