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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
A fast-paced ride through the politics and hidden agendas of a sweltering Miami, Suspicion of Deceit is the latest novel in author Barbara Parker's bestselling Suspicion series, featuring upscale attorney Gail Connor. The ironic title works well for all plot threads unraveled in this engaging tale, from personal, terrifying deceptions to those with vast ramifications for a wide array of characters.
When Gail Connor is asked to become the attorney for the Miami Opera, it's for more than the simple reason that she's a damn fine lawyer. The upper echelon has its own objective in inviting her to a fund-raising function—they want to question her boyfriend, Anthony Quintana, on just how the city's Cuban political factions will respond to an opera star's questionable visit to Cuba some two years earlier. If the opera continues to employ opera star Thomas Nolan, there is a chance that the Cuban exile populace might become violent at one of the performances, if they view him as a traitor to his people. Fueling the fire is Anthony's brother-in-law, a commentator for Radio Free Cuba, who not only stokes the rage of his listeners but also finds time to cause troubles between Gail and Anthony. A violent murder—and the wounding of Gail herself—forces Gail to take matters into her own hands. She employs Felix Castillo, a mysterious investigator and longtime friend of Anthony's, to further question contacts in Cuba in order to discover the real nature of Thomas Nolan's visit there.
Yet there is another level of investigation occurring here. Gail is eager to uncovermore of Anthony's past, about which he's been extremely tight-lipped for years. As more of their mutual friends reveal startling truths about Anthony—including the fact that he once spent time in Nicaragua with the Sandinistas—Gail must battle her own suspicions to decide whether she will stand by the man she's come to love or betray him.
Parker is masterful at weaving clandestine situations and the politics of both the past and the present with the pertinent actions of the moment. History—personal and bureaucratic—plays a large part in this novel, and scenes involving Anthony's large family and all their many beliefs, passions, and fiery emotions play out with an incredible vitality that greatly contributes to the flow and grip of the story. Gail and Anthony are a fervent couple, in love but also finding excitement in the friction of ideology that occasionally comes between them. The author refuses to allow for any black-and-white, easy answers at any time. All parties involved are constantly discovering more about themselves and exactly what the cost might be for each conviction and stance taken.
"Suspicion of Deceit" is deceivingly simplistic, but it works on several levels at once, as the main mystery plot element often takes a backseat to equally intriguing story lines of a more personal nature. The gray areas of conflicting opinions lend a credence to the novel that isn't usually found in the more idealistic, hero-versus-villain crime thrillers on the market. It's the author's worldview, and her understanding of human nature, that make this novel one that readers can trust to arrive at a gripping, satisfying, and wholly genuine conclusion.—Tom Piccirilli