Deceived

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Overview

She thinks she knows who she is and what she wants, but when the web gets terribly tangled, is her game of deception a clever lie or a deadly trap? Two bodies in an isolated canyon on the edge of L.A. One with saddlebags filled with diamonds. That's how it begins for Liz Towne, a stunning blonde with a devout husband who has given up a prime job for reasons Liz cannot understand—for "Mac" MacDonald, a Gulf War vet who's done time in prison and is just now finding his way back to normal life—and for Roxanne ...

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Overview

She thinks she knows who she is and what she wants, but when the web gets terribly tangled, is her game of deception a clever lie or a deadly trap? Two bodies in an isolated canyon on the edge of L.A. One with saddlebags filled with diamonds. That's how it begins for Liz Towne, a stunning blonde with a devout husband who has given up a prime job for reasons Liz cannot understand—for "Mac" MacDonald, a Gulf War vet who's done time in prison and is just now finding his way back to normal life—and for Roxanne "Rocky" Towne, Liz's sister-in-law, who suspects things she cannot prove. All three are thrown together after a tragedy in Pack Canyon. After finding the stolen diamonds, Liz is faced with an escalating set of choices: Truth or lies? Stop or keep moving? All in or played out? A stunning suspense thriller from bestselling author James Scott Bell.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Former trial lawyer and Christy Award-winner Bell (Presumed Guilty) hits his stride in this twist-filled suspense thriller with punchy dialogue and a resurrection ending to keep readers awake at night. When Liz Towne and her husband, Arty, find diamonds and a corpse along a trail in Pack Canyon, something takes over Liz that one doctor calls "sin dissociation." She stops at nothing to get rich and take a gift to her role model, who taught her to kill. When her sister-in-law Roxanne "Rocky" Towne suspects foul play, Rocky calls on a tortured but praying and faithful Gulf War veteran to help her track down Liz, who is on the run. Dialogue carries the book with rich characters and flashbacks, but time stamps and a confusing wraparound narrative device feel tacked on and unnecessary in this fast-paced thriller with its Los Angeles music scene, creepy canyons and a slew of cons. Bell, who also writes nonfiction books on writing, is a master of the cliffhanger, creating scene after scene of mounting suspense and revelation in this heart-whamming read. (Mar.)

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Library Journal

Liz Towne does not understand why her husband, Mac-a Gulf War veteran trying to restart his life after doing time in prison-has given up a great job. When Liz finds a saddlebag of stolen diamonds, she, her sister, Rocky, and Mac fall into a deadly trap. Another thriller from a top author of Christian suspense.


—Tamara Butler
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780310269045
  • Publisher: Zondervan
  • Publication date: 3/1/2009
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

James Scott Bell, a former trial lawyer, is the bestselling author of Try Dying, The Whole Truth, No Legal Grounds, Deadlock, and Sins of the Fathers. A winner of the Christy Award for excellence in Christian fiction, he lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Cindy. Visit his website at www.jamescottbell.com.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 6 )
Rating Distribution

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(3)

4 Star

(2)

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 25, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Gritty, Broken and Real

    James Scott Bell's characters in Deceived are gritty, broken and real-a reflection of the human condition in this modern world. They become vivid as the lives of all three main characters are woven together in this fast-paced plot. And true to Bell's skill to write a great story, readers are hit with an unexpected ending.

    As I began the novel, I thought, "How's Bell going to pull off intersecting the lives of these main characters?" The task appeared daunting. Deceived starts like a machine gun-splitting out characters, plot and conflict, with just a taste of back story. I found it impossible to put down. This classic Bell novel ratchets up tension and conflict within each character.

    No one escapes.

    Liz Towne-a stunning blond whose past haunts her every move. "Mac" MacDonald-whose propensity for violence clashes with his search for spiritual peace. Roxanne "Rocky" Towne-whose scarred face and soul threatens to drag her down as she struggles to survival.

    Everything in the novel takes place within a span of seventeen days, with chapters divided by days of the week and scenes identified by hour and minute. Shades of television's 24 without the terrorists, but the same tensions and twists to make even Jack Bauer tired.

    Deceived joins the ranks of those novels suspense readers enjoy losing sleep over. The sweet agony of a good read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 20, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    The Tension Just Keeps Building

    At first, I wasn't sure how James Scott Bell was going to interweave the lives and actions of the characters he was introducing. However, I soon found them all linked in a web of deceit, with tension that continued to build throughout the whole book. And, for those of you who tend to skip ahead in a book to avoid the boring parts, be prepared to just keep reading--there are no boring parts. Morality and religion play a big part in the plot, but so do murder and deceit. This is one of Bell's best so far.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 13, 2009

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    Deep Characters

    James Scott Bell writes wonderful, character driven stories, consisting of characters that are believable and flawed. They are "everyday people" trying to get along in life. As we read about them, they draw us into their stories and cause us to cheer for them. We ride shotgun, living their life events as they do. Deceived is no exception.

    When Liz Towne and her husband, Arty, stumble upon the body of a dead motorcyclist in a canyon, they find the discovery of a lifetime-diamonds. Lots of them. Priceless. And stolen. She argues with her husband on what they should do with the hot ice, and decides to take a path that leads her ever-deeper down a path of deceit, in which she must continuously make choices to keep up the deception, or jump off.

    Arty's sister, Rocky Towne, is an insurance fraud investigator and suspects foul play with Liz, but she's unable to find proof. We also meet Mac MacDonald, whom Liz takes an interest to and to the church life that Mac now lives. But is her interest real, or part of the deception?

    Liz lived through a traumatic childhood. Mac is a veteran suffering from Gulf War Syndrome. Rocky has a scarred face, damage caused after being mauled by a dog as a child, which has a negative impact on her self-esteem, in turn negatively affecting all she does. Bell has breathed depth into each character, bringing them to life on the page. They could be the guy mowing the lawn next door, or the lady putting gas in her car while you're cleaning your windshield.

    This story hit home for me, as my wife and I worked at a children's home for a few years. Many of the kids suffered some form of abuse. In most of those cases, their parents had in turn suffered abuse, and so the cruelty climbs down the family tree. Love and hope can break the chain, but the effects can manifest in different ways. In Deceived, they lead to the absence of a filter in the mind that allows for the discernment of right and wrong.

    There are multiple twists in the storyline and plausible tension throughout. What you expect to happen doesn't. What does happen is another thought-provoking, wonderful story by James Scott Bell.

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  • Posted April 14, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Hold on to your Seat - Action Ahead

    "Sin's real, even if you don't believe it. And it affects the mind. If you ignore it, you dissociate, you try to compartmentalize it. But the guild seeps through, and if you don't turn it over to God, it will turn on you."

    James Scott Bell really brings home the message of 'sin' being real and the 'peace' God gives us (which surpasses all understanding), through the pages of this very complex, suspense thriller. The author also delves into what any human might be capable doing given the right circumstances. What would you do if you happened upon a dead man with a duffle bag filled with diamonds worth millions, AND no one was watching? The author tells one mind boggling tale.

    Liz Towne sets out to take a quiet hike one beautiful day. All is well until she starts talking to her husband about him being a Christian. Why did he have to go do that? He has ruined everything in life; everything Liz held dear anyway! Then they discover the dead body and the diamonds. What is the right thing to do? Liz and her husband have different worldviews on how to proceed and so the story goes.

    You won't stop reading this book until the end. It will leave you deeply moved. Although some parts are disturbing, "Deceived" will definitely have you thinking about the deeper things in life. You'll start talking to your friends about life and many other aspects of this page-turner, which takes so many twists and turns. James Scott Bell weaves this masterfully told story of what 'sin' looks like and how much greater God's love is. The love which never fades or dies no matter what we've done. He forgives our sins as far as the east is from the west, but can we accept His forgiveness of our sin and forgive ourselves? That's the big question.

    www.psalm516.blogspot.com

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  • Posted April 7, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    I was Deceived by Deceived!

    Hold on for a fast-paced, thrilling ride. Just when you think you've figured out where Bell is taking the reader, the story takes a turn. It is not until the last word is digested do you sit back knowing the entire story. Great read. Great plot. Great author.

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