Deceit: A Novel

Deceit: A Novel

4.1 40
by Brandilyn Collins

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Sometimes the truth hides where no one expects to find it. Joanne Weeks knows Baxter Jackson killed Linda—his second wife and Joanne’s best friend—six years ago. But Baxter, a church elder and beloved member of the town, walks the streets a free man. The police tell Joanne to leave well enough alone, but she is determined to bring him down. Using her


Sometimes the truth hides where no one expects to find it. Joanne Weeks knows Baxter Jackson killed Linda—his second wife and Joanne’s best friend—six years ago. But Baxter, a church elder and beloved member of the town, walks the streets a free man. The police tell Joanne to leave well enough alone, but she is determined to bring him down. Using her skills as a professional skip tracer, she sets out to locate the only person who may be able to put Baxter behind bars. Melissa Harkoff was a traumatized sixteen-year-old foster child in the Jackson household when Linda disappeared. At the time Melissa claimed to know nothing of Linda's whereabouts—but was she lying? In relentless style, Deceit careens between Joanne's pursuit of the truth— which puts her own life in danger—and the events of six years' past, when Melissa came to live with the Jacksons. What really happened in that household? Beneath the veneer of perfection lies a story of shakeable faith, choices, and the lure of deceit.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Fans of Collins and her trademarked "Seatbelt Suspense" will find her usual blend of good storytelling and notable mystery in this standalone tale of murder and suspicion wrapped in a cloak of deceit. Joanne Weeks is a skip tracer-someone who looks for deadbeats, a profession worth reading the book to learn more about-and knows that Baxter Jackson killed his wife, who was Joanne's best friend. The investigation stalls until Jackson's second wife turns up dead and frightening events begin to unfold in Joanne's life. Who is the man who jumps in front of her car on a rainy night? Why is he urging her to find Melissa Harkoff, a foster child long gone from the scene? Did someone break into Joanne's home? What does the Jacksons' foster daughter know about Linda Jackson's murder? Collins provides an enticing read while posing tough questions about truth and lies, power and control, faith and forgiveness. This will cause readers to look for the deceit in their own lives, and give them a fine summer read.
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Product Details

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Zondervan Publishing
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File size:
1 MB
Age Range:
18 Years

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Meet the Author

Brandilyn Collins, known for her trademark Seatbelt Suspense™, is the bestselling author of Violet Dawn, Coral Moon, Crimson Eve, Eyes of Elisha, and other novels. She and her family live in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Visit her website at and her blog at

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Deceit 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 40 reviews.
onedesertrose More than 1 year ago
Baxter Jackson's two wives have died within six years of each other. His first wife, Linda, was Joanne Weeks' best friend. He was the richest man in town, sponsoring a Little League baseball team. The church's head elder. Everybody's best friend. The epitome of Christian perfection. No one ever spoke against Baxter, until Joanne Wells, through an eavesdropping reporter. She is absolutely sure he was responsible for both deaths, but has no proof. During a late-night, rainy winter storm, she hits a man who claims that Melissa, a 16-year-old foster child who was living at the Baxter's home at the time of Linda's death, knows what happened to Linda, and that Joanne needs to find her. Brandilyn is known by her 'seat-belt suspense.' This is one of her best in my opinion. A mysterious accident, a break-in, a shooting, etc., are just the beginning of terror for Joanne. Just when you think she has it figured out and gotten everything under control, new, unexpected twists spin everyone and everything out of control, while she scrambles to get back some sense of equilibrium. Disappointments abound, but tenacity for justice prevails. Brandilyn's flashback scenes interspersed throughout help to create intense emotions and suspense, and it's done in a definitive, calculated way-teasers to keep you hooked. And hooked you are! Brandilyn is able to keep you guessing throughout the whole book, all the way to the very end. And what an end! Shocking, revealing! Brandilyn demonstrates that what you see is not necessarily how things really are. Deceit in the heart is demonstrated in the Baxter home in ways no one in town ever imagined, except maybe a few. Through Deceit, she also challenges you to evaluate your own heart and motives. "The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately wicked; who can understand it?.." Jer. 16::9. Forgiveness is also tantamount to moving on in life, as demonstrated in Deceit. This also a book of choices.. This book was provided by Zondervan in exchange for my honest review. One is never disappointed with Brandilyn's book. I'd give Deceit a 5 out of 5.
Sheila67 More than 1 year ago
I couldn't put this book down until I finished it. The book is fast paced with just enough twists without confusing the reader. I thoroughly enjoyed it! The only reason I didn't give this book 5 stars is because I save that for my very favorites. There was nothing wrong with this book. The writing, editing, voice, etc were just right.
mmvasquez More than 1 year ago
Deceit by Brandilyn Collins is an excellent suspense thriller! It's packed full of heart-pounding suspense that will grab you from the start and keep you hanging on edge until the very end. The story has plenty of surprising twists and turns to keep you guessing and trying to figure it all out. This story is set in modern day in California. The main character, Joanne, is smart and strong and she's used to danger because of her occupation. But this time it's not her job that has put her life in danger and solving this mystery could cost her everything. I really liked Joanne and was holding my breath at times hoping she would make it through this ordeal she had found herself in. I very highly recommend this book. If you enjoy suspense, then you'll love this one. The writing is wonderful and the story pulls you in from the start and once you've started you won't be able to put it down until the very end. There are some surprising twists that make it more interesting. I love when a suspenseful story line takes a twist that I didn't see coming! If you're familiar with Brandilyn Collins already then you know how great her suspense is. I thoroughly enjoyed this one! And I look forward to more great thrillers from this wonderful author!
FaithfulFoliosvLogReviews More than 1 year ago
Vertical Reach = 3 Skip Tracer Joanne Weeks reveals the average amount of information about her relationship with God to help the reader know she has one. Ministry Message =3 Protection, forgiveness and justice are provided by God. Craft = 5 Collins is a consummate professional and there is no way around that. I would read any and every craft book she offered on writing suspense. Aesthetics = 4 The graphics on this cover are on point and if I were in a bookstore even though I'm not a big suspense reader in my leisure time I would definitely stop to look at this story. Dollars and Sense = 3.75 Deceit is a action packed entertaining suspense read that will appeal to readers who embrace Christian fiction for entertainment as the priority. It will also appeal to mainstream readers who enjoy suspense and don't require or like a lot of profanity and unnecessary goriness. This book is a great read hands down.
ReaderwriterBarb More than 1 year ago
Deceit by Brandilyn Collins is 62 chapters and 314 pages of riveting suspense. I didn't want to put this novel down. Published by Zondervan, copyright 2010, skip tracer Joanne Weeks is determined to make Baxter Jackson pay for her best friend's death, especially when his second wife is killed, and he collects a huge insurance policy. Linda, his first wife was Joanne's best friend, and she trusted her with a secret she shouldn't have kept, when she showed Joanne the bruises of abuse. Linda and Baxter adopt a sixteen year old foster daughter, Melissa, and Linda thinks her presence will help, that her husband won't abuse her with a daughter in the house. But, it only gets worse, not better. The girl plays a game that ruins their lives when Linda decides to find out if her suspicions are right. And, they are. With excellent visualization and characterization, this full-length novel will keep you on the edge of your seats and as Brandilyn says, it's a "Seatbelt Suspense", well written and well structured. It's a tale that vividly demonstrates just how much appearances can be deceiving as Linda hides her abuse and bruises to protect the man she loves and his reputation, while Melissa thinks her a wimp. Baxter flings his life away when he forgets how much of a saint his wife is and turns elsewhere. He's a fine, church-going man, or so his friends think, since he sits in church each Sunday morning and Amens the preacher's sermon. And his best friend is the police chief. His personality proves just how deceiving appearances can be, as he drips graciousness until he's behind closed doors with his wife. Then, he's an entirely different character, one you wouldn't want to meet. His words don't gush out smooth and buttery with honey at home. Instead, they are cold and uncaring, and he allows the control freak he is to come out in all his glory, as he uses his wife for a punching bag to feed his ego. When a hooded man warns Joanne that Melissa saw Baxter kill Linda, the wheels start spinning, so seatbelt yourself down for an exhilarating ride and find out just how important self control and loyalty really are. Melissa, a greedy teen, disappears, and Joanne's life depends on finding her. Will she locate her in time? This story ends with an unexpected twist and layers your mind. Baxter had deceit on his, but Joanne has Linda on hers. It's thought-provoking, to say the least. Look for Brandilyn's Deceit at online bookstores such as Amazon and Barnes and Noble, or check out Zondervan. ISBN: 978-0-310-32879-7.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Six years ago in Vonita, California, Linda Jackson dies. Her fiftyish best friend skip tracer Joanne Weeks believes the husband affluent church elder Baxter Jackson killed his wife. She makes efforts to prove her assertion, but fails as everyone who knows Jackson consider him a great man. When his second wife Cherise dies in what the corner ruled was an unfortunate accident, Joanne's belief that Jackson is a spousal killer reasserts itself. This time she plans to find proof by seeking someone who might have information on what happened to Linda six years ago. However, Joanne feels someone is stalking her. Feeling her life is in danger already, she is further stunned when a stranger leaps in front of her car on a wet road pleading with her to seek out the teenage foster child Melissa Harkoff who lived with the Jacksons when Linda vanished. Few, if any writers combine inspirational messages with suspense as well as Brandilyn Collins consistently does (see Exposure). She proves this once again with Deceit. Her current tale is a superb thriller in which the heroine must peel away the deceitful masks everyone wraps themselves inside of to uncover the truth of what happened to Linda. Readers will consider what is acceptable in terms of societal deceit in terms of the family, the law and religion and what is not. However, Ms. Collins also takes her theme much deeper asking the audience to consider how will the Lord judge a person's deceits when he or she stands at the gates. The message is intertwined inside a powerful suspense thriller as the heroine peels away levels of deceit of others and the mythos she mentally spun as a psychological defense mechanism to get to the truth; if that is even truly attainable. Harriet Klausner
AAR More than 1 year ago
DECEIT by Brandilyn Collins is Inspirational Suspense set in modern day San Jose. It is well written with depth and detail. The heroine, Joanne, is a skip tracer who is determined to find out the truth about the disappearance of her best friend, Linda Baxter. Who is married to the town's wealthiest, a town leader, christian and has his hands in everything about the town and a little crooked to say the least.She is threatened, intimidated, and been attempted to scare off the pursuit of the man in question, Baxter.This story has intrigue, mystery, suspicion,suspense, inspirational overtones, fast paced, full of action and twists and turns. I would recommend this book. I have enjoyed this author's books. This is a keeper, especially if you enjoy suspense, action, inspirational,and all around great story.You won't be disappointed with this story.This book was received for review and details can be found at Zondervan and My Book Addiction and More.
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LovenGod More than 1 year ago
Joanne Weeks is a a skiptracer. Hunting down folks who have skipped bail, but this time, she has a big fish in her sights. And it is not a skipper, it is a well respected business man, Baxter Johnson, in her town. She is sure that he has killed both of his wives, his first wife, Linda being her best friend. However her accusations to the police chief are overheard and make the front page of the local newspaper, needless to say the heat is up now. During a storm someone jumps out in front of her vehicle, warning her that she needs to find Melissa Harkoff, the sixteen year old foster child of Baxter and Linda, at the time of Linda's death. Joanne starts on a course of trying to find the now twenty two year old Melissa. A wild night after she finally finds Melissa, convinces Joanne that she is in eminent danger. In fact she is pretty sure the guy trying to kill Melissa is also trying to kill her. She knows that Baxter Johnson is behind it all, despite his lousy attempt of doing the "Christian" thing, by bringing the pastor to her house. Joanne is determined that the truth will come out about these deaths! She feels like she owes it to her friend Linda. This is the first Brandilyn Collins book that I have read and I loved it. This book was exciting and you were on the edge of your seat wondering what would happen next. I loved the characters and the story, just a great book, that you will not want to miss! 314 pages US $14.99 5 stars This book was provided by Christian Bookworm Reviews for review purposes only. No payment was received for this review.
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