Saturday, July 10, 2010

Review: Deception Explored By Brandilyn Collins in Novel Released This Month:

he hit me.Image by Bridgette Taylor via Flickr

      By Brandilyn Collins

Would it turn out well if {God} examined you? Could you deceive him as you might deceive men?
Job 13:9

God sees not as man sees, For man looks at the outward appearance, But the Lord looks at the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7  (Book Front Pages)

Brandilyn Collins has produced another trademark book of Seatbelt Suspense, with her latest novel out this month, Deceit. It's another winner for this author--so be sure not to miss this one!

Deceit: A NovelJoanne Weeks is a Skip Tracer but this job is personal. Seven years ago, her best friend died. Joanne believed that her husband, Baxter Jackson killer her. Now Jackson's second wife has died, through falling down the stairs at their home; and Joanne is positive that she, too, was murdered. Problem is, nobody believes her--or, they don't want to deal with it!

Baxter Jackson is one of the richest, leading citizens of the town. He is a church elder and beloved by community members. But in Joanne's frustration and anger, she tried to convince the police chief to investigate the latest death. Being overheard, she was now reading the headlines, "Skip Tracer Accuses Police Chief of Shirking Duty." (p. 15) Now the town members, or most of them, were turned against Joanne!

Then as she was going home, she noticed someone was walking near her home--a hooded figure suddenly darted into the road as she was making the last bend in the road. Joanne quickly braked trying not to hit him, but she heard the bump on her right fender. Stopping, worried that she'd killed a man, she quickly got out and went to him to help, but he wouldn't let her...he interrupted saying, "You want Baxter Jackson?" (p. 25) Stunned, Joanne realized that the man was wearing a mask! But he went on, telling Joanne to find Melissa because she knew what had happened, claiming she even knew where the body was!

Now, of course, Joanne (and we readers) were sure this was some setup! But on the other hand, Melissa had been a teenager who was living with the Baxters at the time, taken in for foster care and possible adoption. Social Services had removed her when Linda disappeared, but Joanne realized that, indeed, Melissa might have seen what had happened to Linda, her foster mother and Joanne's best friend.

Using her skills as a Skip Tracer, she immediately turned to her computer and started the search! As Melissa is brought into the story, readers begin to learn what had happened those years ago, as a young girl was taken into the beautiful Jackson home, had clothes purchased and began to see potential for her future.

What Melissa also saw, and what Joanne had long ago found out one day when Linda visited her, was that Baxter was physically abusive and could possibly one day also start in on Melissa! He was smart enough to hit Linda on her back or other areas which would not show. Linda had pulled up her blouse in the back for Joanne once, but would never talk about it again. Nobody else had ever seen the cruel side of Baxter Jackson.

Joanne had nobody to help her; she couldn't find the man who had been on the road since he had been wearing a mask. But then one shop owner admitted to Joanne that he had always questioned what had happened--and he became involved in the investigation--as well as with Joanne, as they grew to care for each other.

But there was more than one individual using deception in this case. As more and more of the story becomes known, those willing to deceive, for money, for power, are all brought out into the open...with a surprise ending that was the biggest deception of all! Collins' willingness to highlight crime by a church elder has added a thought-provoking edge to this Christian novel! Very cool ending!

Brandilyn Collins has quickly become a favorite author for me. Deceit, however, with the suspenseful intensity and complexity forces me to go back and start looking for books I have missed  by Collins...I think she just might have become a must-read author for me!

ARC Provided Book

G. A. Bixler

ISBN: 9780310233343
315 Pages

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