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Irvin Woods

I enjoyed Deceptive Calm. The author clearly knows Charleston and captured much that an outsider might have missed. Well written and enjoyable reading. I’m very familiar with the South Carolina “low country” and Charleston’s history including the racial tensions during the 1960’s/ 70’s. I’m less familiar with but have enjoyed multiple trips to San Francisco and down to Big Sur. The author melded the bi-coastal settings into a nice thriller. I highly recommend this book and will look forward to more from Pat Skipper.

Lyndasue Johnson

Skipper skillfully weaves together personal accounts, interviews, and historical records to provide readers with a human perspective on the struggles faced by African Americans during this time. Her storytelling is both evocative and empathetic, allowing readers to connect with the individuals who played pivotal roles in the civil rights movement and the broader fight for racial equality.

Furthermore, the book highlights the deceptive nature of the era's calm exterior. While on the surface, the 1960s and 1970s may have seemed calm to some, Deceptive Calm illuminates the undercurrents of tension, conflict, and change that were brewing beneath the surface. Skipper's portrayal of these hidden dynamics adds depth and complexity to our understanding of the era and challenges preconceived notions about the progress of civil rights.

Deceptive Calm is not only a historical account but also a call to reflection and action. It prompts readers to consider the relevance of the struggles and achievements of the past in today's context. Patricia Skipper's book serves as a reminder that the fight for racial justice is an ongoing journey, and the lessons of the past must inform our actions in the present.

In conclusion, Deceptive Calm is an engaging and enlightening read for anyone interested in American history, particularly the civil rights movement and the cultural transformation of the 1960s and 1970s. Patricia Skipper's meticulous research, compelling storytelling, and insightful analysis make this book a valuable contribution to the understanding of this pivotal period in American history. It challenges readers to confront the complexities of the past while inspiring them to work towards a more just and equitable future.


It was a compelling book that combined some history from a turbulent time and gave a twist to keep you involved. Good reading.

Kindle Customer

A co-worker told me about this book and I looked up the summary and it immediately captured me. Bought it that day and have not been able to put it down. You'll fall in love with the characters and and the locations. I spent a lot of time on in Charleston growing up and have been to many of the locations she brings into the book. Am giving a copy to a couple friends for Christmas as I know they will love it to. This will probably be a "read again" book for me.


You know a book is good when you can't put it down. When I was supposed to be working, I was reading Deceptive Calm. I ate meals with the book in one hand, a utensil in the other. For God's sake I was even finishing the book while I had a football game on in the background, which is just absurd and something I had never even considered doing. Suffice it to say, once you get into the story, good luck putting this book down.

Skipper's sagacity into the south is reminiscent of some of the great master storytellers. She writes about the south like Michael Crichton wrote about technical and scientific issues. I absolutely love her character portrayals as well, which got me so heavily invested into the story.
As an added bonus Skipper's love for San Francisco and local knowledge puts you right there, on the cable cars, the foggy streets and the barbary coast below the Cliff House. This is a must read, and I'm sharing Deceptive Calm with all my friends!


Author Skipper picked the perfect setting 60’s onward, full of problems which are still present here today; civil rights, race relations, racism and other issues. This book takes you back to what it was like in those days life in the South to San Francisco . The story draws you in you don’t want to miss a page.

Jacqueline Shapiro

From the Spanish moss antebellum deep South to the foggy San Francisco Bay, our main character experiences the twists and turns of her life beginning as an adolescent orphan of the deeply racial South in the 1960s into her grand coastal relocation to the Bay Area adulthood. Lots a fun local SF Bay area references and landmarks written by a woman who really knows her stuff. Fun, quick, enjoyable read.

Richard W. Spencer

This book is very interesting and draws you in with each chapter. Having grown up in South Carolina, I was able to visualize many of the locations and characters in this book. Additionally, I have travelled the San Francisco area, so again I can relate to the situations depicted. Each character is fully developed so you have a mental image when you read, adding to the excitement and entertainment of the book. Deceptive Calm is a very compelling novel, a must read!!! I give this book a five star rating and a big applause to the author, Pat Skipper!

C Farren

The novel takes up the most influential social issues of the 1960’s - 1990’s and weaves them into a fast paced “can”t put it down” novel. Civil rights, race relations, spousal abuse, abortion, and favoritism to the wealthy all come into play. I recommend it to anyone who wants to get an individual perspective of what it was like to live through those times.

Levi S.

Insight into the racial bias that has improved over the years but still an ongoing, evolving issue in our country. The characters in this book draw you quickly into their world....a book you don't want to put down!!

Heidi E H

I totally loved this unexpected thriller! A genre defying romance? mystery? historical fiction? Whatever the genre, it was great! Truly a love letter to both Charleston SC and San Francisco, the author's details evoke a sense of place and history. A story about strong women as they navigate through the civil rights movements of the late sixties, sexism, romance, the American Civil War and touching on the difficult topics of abortion rights, interracial marriage and inequality. Lots of action too! This is a true gem!

Heather Hall

This page-turner has a little bit of everything; history, suspense, sex, crime and love. I enjoyed every chapter of Deceptive Calm. Thanks for a great read Pat!


I thought this book was action packed & offered important insight into a time of tyranny during early human & civil rights activism.
A great blend of Deep South & Bay Area!
I enjoyed it and a quick read as well.

Hamood Jaffery

Nice read.

Vanessa Sillman

This book keeps you on your toes the whole time. Amazingly written and an intense storyline. I love the history thrown in with the fictional story. Definitely recommend!

Nzube Chizoba Okeke

Prepare for tragedies and victories, losses and wins, births and deaths, and a love story spanning years. Deceptive Calm by Patricia Skipper opens with the violent racism common in some parts of America in the 1960s. It follows the story of Vanessa Cordon and the lives intertwined with hers.

Suffering heartbreak, the loss of her mother, and her own near-death experience, Vanessa changes her name and identity and moves to somewhere new. She becomes successful both in her career and personal life. However, it becomes the deceptive calm before the storm as her nightmare unfolds before her. Many loose ends remain; all it might take is one curious detective to discover the truth.

This book was very well written. Nothing about it was predictable, as it did not follow the typical pattern of romance books. I found it easy to follow the plot and the characters' lives, especially Vanessa's. My favorite thing about the book is the author's portrayal of each character. Without seeming too contrived, each character would elicit a particular emotional response, whether positive or negative, from the reader. These could have been real people who lived real lives, and it felt like the book took its direction from the characters and not the other way around. They were realistic, and I could easily understand them, even in their mistakes and failures.

The author's descriptive ability is commendable. I could picture the scenes; it was like I was present during each scene. The tension ramped up towards the end of the book with some adrenaline-pumping moments and during scenes where it was uncertain how things would go. It made the book very entertaining to read.

This book also contains many details of American history, making it more enjoyable for Americans. However, anybody familiar with the part of American history covered in this book can still read and enjoy it.

There were a couple of time jumps in the book. There would be a lot of time spent describing one particular event or action, and then we would fast forward a couple of months or years to another scene, which would then be described in detail. I found the spacing quite erratic, but it was not enough to reduce my enjoyment of the book.

People who had been on the receiving end of racism would relate well to this book. On the other hand, it might be triggering for some. There was also a description of sexual violence. Readers triggered by that might also want to read with caution.

There were some errors, but not enough to be distracting. However, because of the number, I would remove a point and recommend another round of professional editing. Therefore, I'd rate it 4 out of 5 stars. Other than the spacing issue, I found nothing to dislike about this book. I'd recommend it to lovers of historical fiction, especially American history, and romance.