Working with Bethany House Publishers book review programs is one of my favorite parts of being a reader and a blogger. I love the chance to meet new authors. Since I’m constantly reading, being a part of this program seemed like a natural extension of my love.
And, this time, I decided to read Dark Deception by Nancy Mehl. The cover and title hooked me. I absolutely and most certainly DO judge a book by its cover. And whoever came up with this cover (and title) should be given gold stars.
Book Review: Dark Deception by Nancy Mehl
Dark Deception is book 2 of Defenders of Justice. But as far as I’m concerned, I didn’t feel like I was missing any information for having jumped into book 2 rather than starting with Fatal Frost. Aka, Dark Deception can be standalone, but if you love it, there’s more to be had!
A serial killer attacks Kate O’Brien and her twin sister. Kate survived and was able to draw a clear picture of the attacker which convicted the suspect. She has been in witness protection for her own safety, until she is subpoenaed to testify in a new trial and requests Deputy U.S. Marshal Tony DeLuca escort her. A new development in the case puts Kate at risk again. Tony must keep her away from the trial before anyone else gets attacked.
Meet Nancy Mehl through social media:
Nancy Mehl lives in Crystal City, Missouri with her husband Norman and her very active puggle, Watson. She’s authored over twenty-six books and is currently at work on her newest series for Bethany House Publishing and Guidepost Books.
All of Nancy’s novels have an added touch – something for your spirit as well as your soul. “I welcome the opportunity to share my faith through my writing,” Nancy says. “God is number one in my life. I wouldn’t be writing at all if I didn’t believe that this is what He’s called me to do. I hope everyone who reads my books will walk away with the most important message I can give them: God is good, and He loves you more than you can imagine. He has a good plan for your life, and there is nothing you can’t overcome with His help.”
Okay, one of my least favorite things to do is to share with honesty what I struggled with in a book. Why? Well, writing a book is a long and involved process so I always strive to be respectful. And yet, I want to be honest.
I struggled with Dark Deception for a variety of reasons. The main characters (Kate and Tony) seemed flat. I didn’t feel like we ever reached the heart of them. There was this invisible arm length between me and Kate and Tony despite being in their viewpoint.
Meanwhile, Dark Deception is marketed as a romantic suspense novel. The suspense kept my jaw clenched, but the romance seemed like an afterthought. I didn’t really believe that the characters cared about each other, except they kept saying that they did.
The pacing of the book seemed lopsided as well. I keep getting this mental image of trying to run through the woods with ten pounds of weights tied to one ankle. Some places seemed to include too much explanation and preaching while others seemed like I couldn’t catch my breath. I know suspense has to have that type of intensity, but the balance just didn’t sit right with me.
Granted, I’m not an avid suspense reader, but I’ve read some amazing suspense before. To me, Dark Deception fell short. However, I do want to note that one day I almost missed my stop because I was so caught up in the action of Dark Deception.
My LOVES of Dark Deception:
Dark Deception by Nancy Mehl had a really good bad guy. And I love a complicated bad guy. Often, I judge a book or movie on the bad guy alone because writing a really nasty bad guy requires depth and grit. Nancy Mehl’s bad guy surprised me, even though the clues were there, and somehow she still managed to make the bad guy sympathetic to the reader.
I also enjoyed the unwinding of the mystery of the serial killer. I’m not sure how Nancy Mehl came up with all of this, but I don’t want to know her researching process! I loved seeing the connections being made.
On a scale of cotton candy to Brussels sprouts, Dark Deception by Nancy Mehl (book 2 in Defenders of Justice series) is a taco with too many jalapeños. Every bite is packed with high intensity heat. Not even the cheese from the taco dulls the burn.
I want to adore every book that I read, but I know that doesn’t happen. But I also recognize that reading does have a lot to do with personal taste (just like food). All that to say, you might adore Dark Deception!