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Deception–things are not as they seem


by Patricia Bradley

Action and tension are abundant in Patricia Bradley’s Deception, the fourth book in the Natchez Trace Park Rangers Series. Madison, the protagonist, is a special agent with the Investigative Services Branch. After the bust of a human trafficking ring in Big Bend in which Madison’s partner is killed, she decides to switch gears and work in a white collar crimes division. She is good at both jobs.

In Mississippi she goes to visit her beloved grandfather, a retired judge, and things turn ugly and violent. A woman who could be Madison’s doppelgänger is attacked. Who is she and which one of the two was actually targeted? There is also a missing girl who was being rescued from her pimp. Could she have been the target? Madison is convinced that a suicide being investigated is in fact a homicide. This novel borders on being a police procedural as there are so many agencies involved.

The book has some romance as Madison is helped by Clayton, a former childhood friend, who is now a ranger in charge of a district in the Natchez Trace. Another interesting character is Nadine, the judge’s longtime housekeeper. She is in her eighties. She doesn’t say a lot, but she is a very careful observer and has great hearing.

Deception has lots of twists to the plot, and the characters not only have secrets, but many really do actively deceive. Madison turns to Clayton to try to understand forgiveness. He explains how he has forgiven others who have hurt him: “Because God forgave me for all the ways I’ve hurt others.” “I didn’t [do the forgiving]. God did it in me. But I had to give up my right to be angry and resentful.”

A huge part of the plot involves adoptions and family history, but all of these seemingly disparate threads tie together quite dramatically when the mysteries are resolved. Deception is my first exposure to this author. I definitely plan on reading more by her. It was an exciting book, and I like the way she gently wove Christian beliefs into a suspenseful tale.

I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Rating: 5/5

Category: Suspense, Christian, Romance

Notes: #4 in the Natchez Trace Park Rangers Series. It is enjoyable as a standalone, but I wish I had read the first ones. The first chapter dives into a previous time frame that sets up Madison’s reason for turning to white collar crime investigation and is easily understood. Then as the plot turns to current events, a lot of characters are introduced (or maybe reintroduced?). I pushed through that and because the plot is the focus, it all sorted itself out. I’m glad I persevered for a few chapters.

Publication: August 2, 2022—Revell

Memorable Lines:

“He was this important businessman, and Mom always told me not to bother him. When he was at home it was like tiptoeing on eggshells, but at least he wasn’t home much.”

Sister. She loved the way the word wrapped around her heart. It sounded as though neither of their lives had been rosy, but perhaps this could be a new start for both of them.

He got the impression Madison didn’t trust many men. And after meeting her father, he could understand why. And then there was a the FBI agent who tried to ill her.

Queen of Flowers–so many elements

Queen of Flowers

by Kerry Greenwood

Queen of FlowersQueen of Flowers opens with Phryne Fisher’s extensive fitting for a dress to be worn in a Melbourne parade as the chosen Queen of Flowers based on her charitable support. The whole household is turned on end for the fitting, an elephant makes an appearance in her yard, and that day turns out to be the most tranquil in the book.

Queen of Flowers is a masterpiece of complex plot. The carnival and circus are in town along with a violin player from Phryne’s past. Adopted daughter Ruth begins to wonder about her parents. Phryne takes her four flower girls (young ladies) in hand and discovers interesting aspects of their backgrounds. As usual, Phryne shows herself as a force to be reckoned with in dealing with some of St. Kilda’s shadiest characters. My one problem with the book was that when one of her daughters goes missing, Phryne is much calmer than one would expect.

All of Phryne’s “minions” are called in to help with the various mysteries that are amazingly connected. I felt like standing up and clapping with a loud “Well done!” as Greenwood tied up the plot threads successfully and delivered justice as deserved.

I would like to extend my thanks to and to Poisoned Pen Press for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 5/5

Category: Historical Fiction, Mystery

Notes: #14 of the Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries; could be a standalone but better if you have some background on the characters

Publication:   November 7, 2017—Poisoned Pen Press

Memorable Lines:

Phryne, the fiddler remembered, always existed as a still, self-possessed point in a maelstrom. Usually she had created the maelstrom herself.

Phryne…climbed the stairs in search of copious hot water to wash the Weston house off her skin. She had been in houses which ran black with fleas. She had been in rural cottages where the soot gloved the beams and the vulcanized grease on the kitchen walls had been classified by the National Trust. But she had never felt quite this grimy, and she didn’t like it.

He was a slick, hard-faced man with a chin on which one could break rocks, and thin red lips. His eyes were as compassionate and kind as chips of flint.

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