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Duplicity

Clarion Review (3 Stars)

Imagine an American man who yearns to find the love of his life—a woman with whom he can share his life and who’ll accept and love his son from a previous marriage. He thinks he’s found her, at long last. But this wouldn’t be a true crime story, as the title suggests, if this pair lived happily ever after. From what he reveals in his book, Paul Goldman may be lucky to be alive.

In November 2004, Goldman utilized a dating service called Jewish Singles in his search for his soulmate. He meets a woman he calls Audrey Munson and believes that she is “the one.” But within weeks of their marriage, Goldman begins to suspect his wife might not be telling the truth about everything. Once he starts digging for information on his wife’s past, he finds far more than he ever expected. But his concerns aren’t taken seriously by law enforcement until he provides evidence that his wife was a con artist. Not only did she marry well-to-do men and then leave them penniless, she also engaged in illegal activities that eventually attract the attention of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), the FBI, the IRS, and Homeland Security.

Goldman shares the details of his discoveries with energy and forthrightness. His style is thoroughly colored by an optimistic romanticism reminiscent of Dick Van Dyke at his most earnest. There’s little that’s funny about Goldman’s story, but he does inject some light-hearted reminiscences that keep the story from descending into the pit of despair.

As with so many self-published works, this book would have been improved by a more meticulous edit by a professional, experienced copy editor. Misplaced apostrophes, commas, and italicized placenames and businesses could have been corrected by any copy editor worth her salt. Though the text should certainly be corrected in subsequent printings or editions, these are minor quibbles. Goldman’s writing is energetic, well-paced, and keeps the reader following along.

The threat of what his ex might do to other men is what motivated Goldman to launch his own investigation into his ex’s activities. His bravery in publicly admitting how he’d been hoodwinked is refreshingly candid. True crime fans should find themselves engrossed in this story with little effort.

J. G. Stinson