Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Insightful Review of DECEIT
Melissa Willis of The Christian Manifesto wrote this review of Deceit. It's an excellent example of a well-written review. (Of course, it doesn't hurt that she liked the book.) Melissa reveals only the premise and no more (I hate seeing plot points given away). Then she takes a look at the deeper meaning and the character motivation in the story.
Baxter Jackson was wealthy, powerful, and a highly respected church leader. When his wife, Linda disappeared in August of 2004, only one person, her best friend Joanne, believed that Baxter was guilty. In the six years since her disappearance, Linda’s body was never found nor was there evidence of a crime, but Joanne still held out hope for justice. When his second wife’s death was ruled an accident, Joanne could no longer remain silent about her knowledge of Baxter’s double life. As expected, though, her accusations were met with skepticism until a mysterious man gave her the information she’d been seeking—the name of a witness who knows where Linda’s buried. Can Joanne find the witness before Baxter can silence them both?
There is no better title for this novel than Deceit. It is the perfect description for the characters and events in this intensely suspenseful tale of murder, conspiracy and duplicity. I’ve read several books by Brandilyn Collins and each time I’m impressed by the complicated simplicity of her stories. On the surface, everything seems pretty cut and dry, but it doesn’t take long to realize this book is anything but simple, with deception lurking around every corner.
A book has set its hooks into me when it repeatedly takes fifty pages to find a stopping place. I’m a suspense junkie with the patience of a gnat and Collins exploits these weaknesses, building awesome tension that forces the reader to keep going to find out what happens next. With flashbacks between the present and 2004 written to perfection, it is virtually impossible to put this book down.
The story line is very good, but the characters make the book. The twists and surprises are due mainly to excellent character development that makes the reader believe the lies that are being told. However, there’s just enough honesty to keep the reader from knowing truth from deception, which leaves even the most logical conclusions in doubt. Without the quality characters, this book falls flat and the plot laid bare. Additionally, the spiritual aspect emerges through the characters in a seamless fashion that enhances that portion of the story. Collins gives the reader some good things to think about and evaluate in their own lives. Also highlighted, is the subject spousal abuse and the pattern of behavior for both the abuser and the victim. With different viewpoints, this theme is developed in a manner that elicits a variety of emotions and builds a strong connection between the reader and the story.
I really enjoyed Deceit. It has a nice presentation that builds good suspense with characters that keep good secrets. It’s a dark story and has some good things to contemplate but not overly heavy. Even though this appears to be a stand alone novel, I hope to visit the characters again since there are a few loose ends that are just begging for a sequel. Collins’ is a great author who knows how to write fun stories with gripping suspense. Whether a long time reader or new to her work, this is one not to miss.
The Christian Manifesto is an interesting web site that looks at Christ in this world--in books, movies, film, comics, and in our culture. Check out their "Christ" and "Culture" blogs.