Deceit

( 40 )

Overview

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 ...
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Deceit: A Novel

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Overview

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.
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Editorial Reviews

Brandilyn (Author) Collins
Jul 2010. 320 p. Zondervan, paperback, $14.99. (9780310276449).
Six years ago Joanne Weeks’ best friend mysteriously disappeared, later to be declared dead. Her husband, a bigwig in the California town of Vonita, remarried, and now his second wife has died in an unlikely accident. Joanne, a skip tracer by trade, is convinced that Baxter Jackson murdered both his wives, maybe to collect on the insurance, maybe for other reasons. One thing she’s sure of: if she intends to prove the man is a murderer, she’ll need to find someone who saw something important, six years ago. The author is known for fiction that blends mystery with Christian themes (and for not hitting the reader over the head with the latter: it’s there, but it’s subtle). Here her primary focus is the mystery, and it's is solidly constructed. Joanne is a strong and immediately likable protagonist, and the book’s ending leaves plenty of room for a sequel, which wouldn’t be a bad idea at all.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781458724977
  • Publisher: ReadHowYouWant
  • Publication date: 10/6/2010
  • Pages: 452
  • Product dimensions: 0.91 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 7.00 (d)

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 www.brandilyncollins.com and her blog at www.forensicsandfaith.blogspot.com

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Read an Excerpt

Deceit

A Novel
By Brandilyn Collins

ZONDERVAN

Copyright © 2010 Brandilyn Collins
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-310-27644-9


Chapter One

FEBRUARY 2010

Some evil shouts from rooftops, some scuttles in the dark. The greatest evil tips its face toward light with shining innocence.

Baxter Jackson shone with the worst of them.

In my sister's kitchen I focused out the sliding glass door to her backyard. Relentless rain pummeled the night. The weather matched my mood. The Vonita Times, our town's weekly paper, lay on the square wooden table across from me. Its front-page headline glared: Skip Tracer Accuses Police Chief of Shirking Duty.

My sister followed my gaze. "Maybe it really was an accident, Joanne."

I shot her a look of accusation and hurt. "You too?" As if the rest of the town weren't enough. "I thought you agreed with me."

She drew a long breath. "I don't know what to think. Two wives gone does look suspicious, but there's no proof Baxter did anything. Once Cherisse's death was ruled an accident -"

"How many people fall down stairs and die, Dineen, even if they are hardwood? That only happens in old movies."

"But that's what the coroner said."

"And he's up for reelection next year, and who do you suppose gave the most to his last campaign?"

"I know, but I just can't believe any coroner would find signs of a murder and look the other way, especially this man. I mean, I know Bud Gidst. So do you."

I pushed back my chair, picked up my plate, and stacked hers on top. Marched them over to the sink and set them down none too gently. I loved my sister like crazy, always had. She was twelve years younger, and I'd always looked after her. I steered her clear of bratty, bully girls in grade school, the wrong guys in high school. I urged her to fight her self-serving ex in court until he paid the two years' worth of child support he owed for Jimmy. But the fact was, Dineen had always been too trusting. She just couldn't believe anything bad about anybody until it hit her in the face.

"Sometimes people don't want to see the truth, Dineen." I rinsed the plates, the water hissing. "Autopsy findings are open to interpretation. To say all those bruises and contusions on Cherisse's head didn't match a fall down the stairs would be calling Baxter Jackson a liar. Maybe Bud didn't want to believe that."

Or maybe his ruling was far more sinister. Baxter Jackson was the richest man in Vonita and practically ran the town. He sponsored a Little League baseball team and personally paid for Vonita's Fourth of July fireworks. He was everybody's best friend. Nobody in the county ever spoke against Baxter.

Except me.

I turned off the water. If only I could wring that eavesdropping reporter's neck. My argument with the chief of police had not been intended for the public's ear.

"Yeah, maybe." My sister sounded only half convinced. She pushed a lock of dark hair behind her ears, then hugged herself.

Voices from the TV drifted in from the den. Nine-year-old Jimmy was watching some reality cop show. My head hurt. I walked back to my chair and slumped into it, suddenly feeling old at fifty-two. Dineen pressed her lips together and regarded me with a beleaguered expression. Her hazel eyes held concern. "I'm just sorry you've gotten yourself mixed up in this."

Thursday's newspaper headline fairly shouted at me. I reached out and flipped it over. "I know." I gave her a wan smile. "But I shouldn't be worrying you about it. You've got enough to deal with right now, given your stress at work."

Dineen shrugged. "It's not that bad. Things are just crazy because Doug's so wrapped up in the lawsuit. It's almost over. He'll win, as usual, and he and his client will walk away with lots of cash.

Everybody will be happy again."

Everyone except the San Jose hospital he was suing.

I made a face. "Including you, I hope. Happy, as in getting a big honking present for all the abuse you've taken." Dineen answered phones at Doug Brewer's firm, nothing more. She wasn't a law clerk. She didn't deserve his snapping temper. But when Doug was fighting a big case, everyone around him bore the brunt of his impatience.

"Were things any different for you on Friday, after that came out?" I gestured with my chin toward the newspaper. Doug and Baxter were good friends. I didn't want my sister taking any heat for me.

My sister fiddled with her hair. "Not really."

"What does 'not really' mean, Dineen?"

She tilted her head. "A few people did ask me what you were thinking. I didn't even see Doug. He went straight to court."

Yeah, what was I thinking? Who was I to go up against Baxter Jackson?

"Know what?" I sounded sorry for myself, and I hated it. My nerves were just too worn to care. "Right now you and Jimmy are about my only friends in town."

"Come on, that's not true."

"It is, Dineen. You should see the looks I've gotten the last few days. The disgusted whispers." Sudden tears bit my eyes. I looked at the table.

Dineen made an empathic sound in her throat. "What about all your friends at church? You'll see them tomorrow."

Her words pierced. I shook my head. "I can't go back there, not now. With Baxter as head elder? Which side do you think would win? And anyway, I don't want those dear people taking sides. I can't put them in that position. They loved Cherisse, and Linda before that." My voice tightened. "They're like family to Baxter. They're grieving along with him."

Cherisse had died only two weeks ago. I could imagine church members' reactions as they read that newspaper article. Even though they loved me. Even though I'd attended that church for fifteen years, long before my husband, Tom, died of a heart attack. I was the one who always got things done. Led committees, rallied the troops for fund-raisers, taught Sunday school. They knew my heart for helping others. But how dare I talk against Baxter Jackson - especially as he mourned the death of his second wife? How could I be so cruel?

Dineen laid a hand on my arm. "I'm sorry. I know how much you miss Linda."

Yes, I did miss her. Terribly. Linda, the irrepressible woman who encouraged everyone around her. Even in those moments when some inner pain she refused to share fleeted across her face, she would shake it off, flash that dazzling smile of hers. Now, six years later, Linda's disappearance still haunted me. Baxter claimed she'd left the house one night and never returned. A few days later her car was found some twenty miles away, smears of her blood on the front seat. Her body was never recovered. I didn't believe Baxter's story about my best friend - not after what she'd told me. And she hadn't been herself for weeks before her disappearance, would barely even return my calls.

But Chief Eddington hadn't listened to me then either.

Indignation bubbled inside me once more. I raised my eyes. "Two wives in six years, Dineen." One unsolved murder and one accident. "A total of one million dollars' life insurance. One million. Why would he even take out policies on his wives in the first place, when neither of them worked?" Linda's policy had taken three years to come through. The courts had to declare her dead first, aided by the fact that her credit cards, bank account, nothing had been touched since the night of her disappearance. Even so, I wouldn't be surprised if Baxter's influence swayed that legal process as well.

Dineen lifted a shoulder. There was nothing in this argument we hadn't covered a dozen times before.

Sometimes I wished I could be more like her. More of an accepter, less of a fighter. Life would be so much easier. But I just hadn't been wired that way.

I leaned back and pressed my hands to my temples.

"Another headache?" Dineen asked.

I nodded.

Dineen rose and walked to the cabinet by her refrigerator, where she pulled out a bottle of heavy-duty aspirin. She shook out two and handed them to me. "Here."

"Thanks." I swallowed them with the last gulp of water from my glass. A gust of wind pelted rain against the sliding door. It was nasty out there. February in Vonita, California, forty miles south of San Jose, was balmy compared to some parts of the country. The current temperature hovered in the low forties. But the dampness made it feel so much colder. I hated winter rain. It reminded me of death and despair. Five years ago I'd buried my husband on a day like this.

I pushed from my chair. "Better go."

"Want a Jelly Belly hit?" Dineen gestured toward my favorite cabinet.

"Always." I managed a smile. "Especially if you've got Grape Jelly or Watermelon. They're my headache flavors."

Dineen fetched a large glass bowl from the cabinet. "I don't know what's what in here. You figure it out."

I leaned over the bowl, moving the candies around with a finger. Grape Jelly ones are dark purple. Watermelon are green. I found a few of each and popped them in my mouth one by one, relishing each bite. Nothing in this world beat Jelly Belly jelly beans. Particularly on a night like this.

In the den I leaned over the couch to brush my fingers against Jimmy's cheek. He was recovering from a nasty bout of flu. Jimmy looked pale and tired, but he smiled at me all the same. His brown hair stuck out in all directions - a casualty of lying against all the gathered throw pillows. "G'night, Aunt Joanne."

"Good night, favorite nephew."

"I'm your only nephew."

"Well, if I had a hundred, you'd still be my favorite."

At the front door I pulled on a raincoat and picked up my umbrella. Dineen hugged me hard. "This mess will all blow over, you'll see. Chief Eddington can't stay mad at you forever."

"Sure." I slid my purse over my arm. No point in disagreeing, even though I knew better. Wayne Eddington and Baxter Jackson went way back. "Thanks for dinner, as always."

Dineen nodded. "See ya next Saturday."

"You bet."

She opened the door, and the monster wind blew its clammy breath over us. I stuck my umbrella outside, hit the button on its handle, and hurried down the porch steps to my Toyota 4Runner. By the time I slid into the car my ankles were wet and chilled.

The loud battering on the roof turned up my headache. Gritting my teeth, I started the car. The digital clock read 8:33 p.m.

My house lay about five miles from Dineen's on Stillton, a rural road at the edge of town. I drove stiff-backed, fat raindrops cascading through my headlights and bouncing off the pavement like spilled popcorn. My thoughts eddied with increasing frustration. In my own business as a skip tracer I spent my workdays hunting down people, many of them criminals. I'd built a good reputation for finding my skips. Now I had a possible double murderer in my sites, one of his victims my best friend. A friend I could have saved, if I'd only pushed harder.

And now I couldn't do a thing about my suspicions.

I passed through the last stoplight on Elmer and turned left onto Stillton. Two miles of narrow road and curves, and I'd reach my warm, dry house. I turned up the heat in the car. Eyes narrowed, I drove slowly, frowning at the headlights of an oncoming vehicle until it swished by. My windshield wipers drummed a furious beat.

"Why didn't you investigate Cherisse's death?" I'd demanded of Chief Eddington four days ago. We stood in his office at the station, the door open. I tried to keep my voice low.

The chief's face reddened. He planted both hands on his thick hips. "So now you're going to rag me about this case for the next six years? They're over, Joanne. Both Jackson cases are closed."

"And you're happy about that, aren't you? Now life can just go on, and Baxter remains your favorite pal."

The rest of our heated argument ran through my head. I'd never even seen reporter Andy Wangler in the station, much less in proximity to hear us. He must have salivated all over his notepad.

My last bend before home approached. I eased off the accelerator.

A hooded figure darted into the road.

I gasped and punched the brake. The anti-lock system shuddered. The figure jerked its head half toward me, one side of a man's face lit skeletal white. A rivulet of blood jagged down his bony cheek. The eye on the shadowed half of his face shrunk as black and deep as an empty socket.

He raised his arms.

My car slid toward him.

I whipped the steering wheel left. The figure jumped backward.

Too late.

I heard a sickening bump on my right fender. In peripheral vision I glimpsed the body knocked aside. My Toyota kicked into a spiral over slickened asphalt. The world dizzied as I spun, my widened eyes taking in a dancing fence on the road's left side ... the curve I'd already traveled ... a gnarled oak straight ahead ... a crumpled figure on the ground. My wet tires sang and sizzled, the smell of my own sweat acrid in my nostrils.

A hysterical thought flashed in my brain: I hit the Grim Reaper.

With a final nauseating jolt my SUV carved to a stop in the middle of the dark and rain-pelted road.

Chapter Two

Sounds hit first - the beating rain, the squall of my heart. I slumped forward, unable to move. Breath shuddered down my throat, my fingers glued hooks on the steering wheel.

An eternal moment passed ... two.

The hard fist of reality punched me in the face. I'd hit a man. What if I killed him?

I lifted my head. Where was the man's body? I could barely see the pavement, much less the field beyond it. My car hulked astride both lanes, canted toward the left side of the road.

I straightened. My shaking left hand found the door handle, wrapped around it. The door opened with a sodden click. With a grunt I shoved open the door and half fell from the car. Despite my coat, snarling rain soaked me within seconds. It dripped into my eyes, trailed corpselike fingers down the back of my shirt. I swung my pounding head right, left, seeking my bearings.

During the spin I'd glimpsed the man on the right.

Hunched over, I fought my way to the front of the car, around its hood. Squinting, I searched the road's edge for the man. My car's headlights, pointed in the opposite direction, were no help.

There. Not far from the oak tree. He lay on one side, his back to me, unmoving. No Grim Reaper after all. He wore not a cloak, but black jeans and sneakers, a black hooded jacket. He looked average in build and height.

I surged over to the man and sank down on one knee. With tentative hands I reached out and brushed the back of his slick jacket hood. I couldn't see his face. Should I turn him over, check for a pulse? What if he was alive and the forced movement made his injuries worse?

I placed my fingers on the man's shoulder. He groaned. Startled, I snatched my hand away.

Only then did I think of my cell phone. I should have called 911 before leaving my car. Time was ticking and every second may be valuable to the man's life. Yet a voice deep within me whispered a vague warning. Something about this whole thing was off. Besides, I hadn't been going fast at all.

"C-can you hear me?" I forced the words out, loud enough to survive the hammer of the rain.

The man rolled away from me onto his stomach.

"Sir? Let me help you."

"No."

The word came raw and muffled. Had I heard it at all?

"Are you hurt? Do you want me to call for help?"

"No. Just listen to me."

"But -"

"Listen."

Nonplused, I watched the man gather both arms close to his chest, pull his legs up. Palms flat to ground, he pushed himself to a trembling crouch and hung there, head down. Rain streamed off the tip of his hood. I could see nothing of his face.

"Please let me help you up. I can take you to the hospital. Or call 911."

His body tensed, shoulders arching like a wounded animal rising. "I'm just shaken." His voice growled, menacing enough to make me draw away. "I'm fine."

"You don't look it."

"I'm fine." Fury pulsed in his tone. He pushed up further on his haunches, face still hidden, then unfolded his body until he stood. I jumped up and took two steps back. For a moment the man wavered. He stepped one foot forward, found his balance.

The rain sizzled and bounced and pounded. I would go mad with it. "At least let me take you somewhere. Where's your car? Where did you come fr -?"

"You want Baxter Jackson?"

My mouth snapped shut.

Slowly the hooded head turned toward me until one eye glared in my direction. The cheek below it looked waxen, the blood thick.

A mask. He was wearing a mask.

What kind of man was this?

Intensity vibrated from his blackened stare. I tried to turn, flee, but my legs rooted to the road.

"Do you?"

"Who are you?"

"Joanne, do you want to see Baxter Jackson pay for Linda's death?"

My eyes widened. "I - yes."

"Find Melissa. She knows what happened."

Melissa.

Understanding leapt into my head, dark and gleaming. My knees nearly gave way. I was right. I'd been right all along.

"You're telling me Baxter killed Linda."

"Melissa saw it."

The words stunned me. Fierce questions crowded my tongue. "Does she have proof?"

"She knows where the body is."

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Deceit by Brandilyn Collins Copyright © 2010 by Brandilyn Collins. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 40 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(20)

4 Star

(8)

3 Star

(9)

2 Star

(2)

1 Star

(1)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 40 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 16, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Faithful Folios Review of Deceit

    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.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 16, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    "Deceit" by Brandilyn Collins

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 24, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Wonderful suspense thriller!

    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!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 12, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Is Deceit on your mind, or Linda?

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 26, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    superb thriller

    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

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 13, 2010

    A GREAT INSPIRATIONAL SUSPENSE!

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 19, 2012

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  • Posted August 3, 2011

    Great Book!!

    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.

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  • Posted January 27, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    I loved it!!

    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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  • Posted November 15, 2010

    excellent!

    I love this book in the fact that in spite of your faith, deceit can be a part of your life. this was a great thriller and I am looking forward to reading all of her books!

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  • Posted September 22, 2010

    Deceit Delivers

    Once again, Brandilyn Collins fulfills her goal of bringing us seatbelt suspense. Deceit takes us on a ride with Joanne Weeks as she searches for evidence that her best friend, Linda Jackson, didn't disappear six years ago-she was murdered. By her husband, Baxter, a wealthy and powerful man in the community. While Joanne searches, other are searching for her, threatening her, trying to stop her. Joanne's skills as a skip tracer help her to locate the one possible witness, a foster child who ran away from the Jackson home right after Linda's disappearance. She finds the now twenty-two year old and the story embarks on a series of twists and turns and cliffhangers that have the reader turning each page as new revelations surprise Joanne and raise the stakes in this life and death struggle. Ms. Collins delights with strong, well developed, multi-dimensional characters. Characters the reader cares about. Her settings are vivid with detail that brings the reader right into the time and place of the story. She is masterful at building in surprises and revealing new information in surprising ways. Just when you think you've figured it out, a new clue is revealed, new information is found until the final surprise at the end. Highly recommended.

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