Double Cross

Double Cross

by DiAnn Mills

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Overview

FBI Agent Laurel Evertson’s investigation into a scam targeting the elderly takes an unexpected twist when key evidence leads her to Morton Wilmington, a felon she arrested five years ago on her first undercover assignment. That case has haunted her since, and though she’s vowed to forget Wilmington—and what she sacrificed to put him away—he is now her best lead.

Houston Police Officer Daniel Hilton fears his grandparents may be the scammer’s next targets, and he’ll do anything to protect his family—even force interagency cooperation. But he’s quickly drawn to Laurel’s empathy and zeal and agrees to follow her lead . . . even if it means teaming up with a felon.

As the unlikely trio uncovers evidence suggesting the scam is more extensive and deadly than they imagined, both Laurel and Daniel find themselves in the crosshairs of a killer. Together they must decide if they can trust Wilmington’s claims of redemption, or if he’s leading them straight into a double cross.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781414389943
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
Publication date: 04/01/2015
Series: FBI: Houston Series , #2
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 474,103
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.20(d)

Read an Excerpt

Double Cross

FBI: Houston


By DiAnn Mills, Erin E. Smith

Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2015 DiAnn Mills
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4143-8994-3


CHAPTER 1

FIVE YEARS LATER 9:30 A.M. WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 23 HOUSTON FBI


Special Agent Su-Min Phang stood in the doorway of Laurel's cubicle. "How's the progress on the elderly fraud?"

Laurel spun her chair to face her. "I don't see much in common with the crimes, but I'm not saying someone hasn't covered his tracks. If it's the same bad guys, they're smart to lay low, then strike again in a different way."

"What do you have? We need this handled."

Laurel hadn't worked in the field since the day her partner died. She'd paid the price of bringing a criminal to justice. The guilt refused to release its tentacles, and maybe it shouldn't.

Now she was investigating white-collar crime and its surplus of lying, stealing, and cheating. Made a few bad guys exchange their suits and offices for jumpsuits and six-by-eight cells. The responsibility filled part of the hole in her heart.

This morning she concentrated on a series of Houston scams targeting the elderly, specifically wealthy senior citizens who bore the weight of dementia. The latest operation used fraudulent life insurance to steal thousands of dollars from their victims. The case revved up anger and fueled her determination to stop the crimes. Abusing those who could no longer make good choices? That was low.

A dear woman who'd raised Laurel had suffered from Alzheimer's, and she'd been treated like an animal. For her, and for all the reported cases, Laurel would help stop those who preyed upon the elderly.

She mentally reviewed the initial reports. Eight years ago, an outbreak of counterfeit prescription drugs swept across Florida, north to Georgia, and along the Gulf states to Texas. An estimated two million dollars was reported lost by the elderly. Investigators suspected a money-laundering source in Miami. No doubt more money had been made, but victims were often embarrassed when they realized the truth and chose not to report the crime. No leads, and the bad guys went dark.

Six years ago, another deception hit the innocent. Funeral plans and caskets were sold to unsuspecting elderly. Again the crimes began in Miami and spread through the Gulf states, but this time Arkansas and Oklahoma were involved. More money than before vanished. An agent in Miami received a tip that a dozen elderly were gathered at a hotel to learn how to make economical funeral arrangements. When the agents arrived, the scammer had disappeared. The results were a paper trail that led to a computer housed in an empty office. The hard drive had been removed. A dead end with the criminals again going dark.

Four and a half years ago, wheelchairs and remodeling projects geared toward the elderly hit the scene, infiltrating Florida and the Gulf states. Five months into the scam, the team shut down. Investigators saw the pattern, but the bad guys were smart enough not to leave a paper trail and to stop when things got too hot.

Two years later, a real estate fraud sold condos for luxury retirement high-rises in Florida, Alabama, and both Carolinas. Four months and they closed up shop. An estimated $50 million was made on that scheme.

This latest scam against the elderly might be the biggest moneymaker yet. Although the operation worked the same range of states, different cities were targeted. How soon before greed caused them to make a mistake or the FBI exposed their methods?

Su-Min stepped into Laurel's cubicle. "I have info. A gentleman in River Oaks stumbled onto an e-mail that his elderly father received regarding the purchase of a life insurance policy. It contained part of another e-mail in it and we found encryptions. Looks like the bad guys might have gotten a little sloppy. Since you worked cryptology, I wanted you to take a look."

"Did you locate the sender?"

"Bogus. I just forwarded it to you."

Laurel clicked on the e-mail attachment, read the message, and studied the text. A sickening fear twisted her stomach.

"What's wrong?" Su-Min said. "You're ghastly white."

If only she could mask her turmoil. "I recognize part of this code." Laurel faced her partner and friend. "Morton Wilmington used a similar encryption to text his men."

"The exact?"

"No, but similar enough for me to see a connection and decipher most of what's written."

"No wonder you're a mess. What does it say?"

Laurel moistened her lips. "'Same instructions. Contact me after. New leads.' That's all I can make out without spending time on it. But whoever wrote it didn't give specifics."

"Do you think Wilmington's operating from prison?"

"Why not? He doesn't fit the mold for rehabilitation." Memories rapid-fired through her mind, burning thoughts that stoked the flames of regret.

Su-Min crossed her arms over her small Korean frame as though holding back a tiger.

"What are you not telling me?" Laurel said.

"Two things." Her voice softened. "We need boots on the ground to question him."

"I agree. Needs to happen immediately."

"There's more," Su-Min said. "Word is Wilmington's found religion. Christianity. Lawyers are working on an appeal."

"No matter how long it takes. You'll pay in blood."

Laurel gazed into Su-Min's coffee-colored eyes. Admitting her deep, bloodcurdling fear of this man would make her look weak. "An appeal will take years, so I'm not the least bit concerned. Let's sort this out. I see a link between a fraud targeting the elderly and Wilmington's method of encoding messages."

"He's in the thick of Bible studies and donating money—"

Laurel waved away her concern. "He's always given to charities. Helps ease his miserable conscience."

"While advocating faith?"

"Su-Min, my findings cement the unlikelihood of him ever reaching parole. I'll get the truth out of him. After all, I put him there, and he's not getting out. He can spout Bible verses all day long, but crimes are to be paid for. No one has more of a stake in him staying put than I do."

"He's already gaining notoriety for his religious stand."

"Remember, Robin Hood loves the limelight. Our focus is the elderly fraud."

Su-Min shrugged. "Another agent can question him."

Laurel drew in courage. The only way she'd end the nightmares would be to face him. "I have to do this. And I'll nail him for the scam. Arrange the interview."

"Hope you're right. You know he hasn't forgotten the past. I'm surprised one of his men hasn't taken care of you." She tapped her foot. "Are you careful when riding Phantom?"

"Always." She refused to fall prey to her friend's caution. "Wilmington's too busy running his business to care about me. I'm not worth it."

"Or maybe one of the reasons he has a new platform is to walk out of prison free and kill you himself."


* * *

11:00 A.M. WEDNESDAY

Houston Police Officer Daniel Hilton wove through the traffic of FM I960 near Willowbrook Mall to a home invasion in progress, siren blaring and lights flashing, his version of parting the Red Sea. According to the call slip, a woman heard glass breaking at her back door and saw two men wearing ski masks and holding weapons. She hurried upstairs to grab her napping toddler and called 911. The operator kept the woman on the line. Other officers were on their way, but Daniel was the closest to the address.

Two minutes later, the dispatcher updated the call slip and repeated the victim's conversation while Daniel drove to the crime scene. The woman worked in the Galleria area but took the day off because her little girl was sick. If she hadn't been home, the alarm system would have alerted the police.

A red light stopped the car in front of him. Daniel slammed on the brakes while vehicles blocked him in on all sides. He alternated between the air horn and the siren. The driver ahead finally realized an HPD patrol car needed through and crept into the intersection far enough to let him pass. Where had this guy taken his driver's license test?

The home invasion address was in an upscale neighborhood, the intruders either high or stupid not to stake out a house before attempting entry. Did the woman have a weapon? And had she been trained to use it? She must be frantic ... and with a child, too. He prayed they were safe and able to hide until help arrived.

Daniel braked next to the curb three houses back from the address as two hooded men hurriedly dumped armloads of goods into a late-model Ford parked in the driveway. They jumped inside, and the driver sped backward before the passenger door closed. Daniel sped his car to block them, but the driver jumped the curb and whipped around the front of the patrol car in the opposite direction.

"Don't think so," Daniel said and raced after them.

Fixed on the car's bumper, he tailed them toward State Highway 249 and radioed for backup. Another patrol car passed him from the opposite direction en route to the crime scene. Up ahead the burglars were slowed by a semitruck turning onto the feeder leading to the beltway. He anticipated them swinging their vehicle into a gas station, and he was right. The two men exited and ran, still in ski masks. Great. No identity there. Daniel parked behind their car and chased the closest man, who disappeared around the corner of a storage facility. The second man pulled off his mask and headed into a residential area.

The pursuit through the storage facility reminded him of a TV script—down a narrow drive, then around a corner to hurdle a sleeping dog. The ski mask lay on the ground. He'd snatch it later. Probably some hair fibers on it. A fifteen-foot chain-link fence loomed in the distance, but unless the man held an Olympic track record, he wouldn't make it over before Daniel yanked him to the ground.

"Stop. HPD. You're under arrest."

The man continued toward the fence while reaching for his weapon, tucked into the back waist of his jeans. Daniel grabbed the perp's arm as he turned to fire, tossed him to the ground, and cuffed him.

"Hey, cop, don't you work in twos?" The man cursed. "If we'd known HPD sent just one, we'd have smoked you."

"No need for two officers when one works just fine."

"That woman invited us in. Wanted to give away some stuff," the man said.

"Tell that to the judge."

"I can explain. I have rights."

"Sure, buddy. Everyone has rights. Bet your story is real solid."

With the cuffed man in the back of the squad car, Daniel checked their vehicle. The rear seat and floorboard were filled with computer equipment, a large jewelry box, and a flat-screen TV. Big haul for such a short time. Recovering stolen goods was great news for the homeowner, making Daniel's job worth it. He radioed his location and where he saw the other intruder take off. The woman and child were fine, he was told, just shaken up.

"Meet you at the home," Daniel said. "Bring a K-9."


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Double Cross by DiAnn Mills, Erin E. Smith. Copyright © 2015 DiAnn Mills. Excerpted by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc..
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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Double Cross 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 28 reviews.
LoverOfStory More than 1 year ago
Double Cross is a fast-paced and engaging suspense/mystery novel. This is the second book in the FBI: Houston series, however it can stand alone as it is not directly connected to the plot of book one, entitled Firewall. This book is full of action and is an engaging read. Protagonist Daniel Hilton has a gentleness and depth of character that is endearing, especially in regards to his care for his grandparents. Laurel’s involvement with ex-convict Morton Wilmington provides an interesting element to the story, as she is constantly questioning his motives and his loyalties (even as he questions hers). As Christian suspense novel, the romantic element was present but not overbearing. I appreciated this as it seems Christian fiction often focuses entirely too much attention on the love-interest. I received this book from bookfun.org in exchange for an honest review. This review was posted to Amazon, Barnes&Noble, Goodreads, CBD, Deeper Shopping, and Library Thing (if available).
Robbi44 More than 1 year ago
This is a great novel for those who love to get into the world of law enforcement. It involves many surprises, twists and turns, as well as the fallout of the plots for a police officer and the FBI. This story revolves around the lives of two broken people who are trying to get their lives together and make sense. Daniel is a Houston, Texas PD officer who finds himself pulled into a case that he learns involves his grandparents – the people that raised him. His grandfather, who suffers from Alzheimer’s, adds another dimension to the story. Laurel is the FBI agent who champions the vulnerable elderly. She is drawn into the case because of a previous major crime case that she helped break. Daniel and Laurel find themselves teamed together with a convicted criminal, Morton Wilmington, so their teamwork is filled with tension as well as trust issues. They struggle with how much they can believe this felon and his claims to be redeemed. Soon they realize there is much more involved in this case than they first thought. What appeared as a scam turns to a killer on the loose. Diann Mills keeps the reader glued to the pages making it impossible to put the book down until the last page is read. I highly recommend this book for all who enjoy intriguing “cop” stories with a bit of romance.
ShareeS More than 1 year ago
Double Cross by DiAnn Mills is the second book in the FBI: Houston Series and the first of her books that I’ve had the pleasure of reading. I was drawn into it from the first page and thought for sure, I had the bad guys all figured out…I was wrong. Daniel Hilton is a deeply devoted family man who will stop at nothing to protect his grandparents from the evil scammers trying to steal from them. He balances his job as a police officer with being a part time caregiver for his grandfather who suffers from Alzheimer’s. His grandmother stays by his side, loving him through his clear days as well as his foggy ones. Determined to be everything his drug addicted parents weren’t, Daniel focuses on faith and family. Lauren Everston is a strong and independent FBI agent. When she loses her partner, she blames herself and is determined to keep the man responsible behind bars. But a new case means teaming up with the evil man she put away all those years ago. He claims to be a new Christian but she’s not buying the act. Together, they work to solve the case of killers who are targeting Alzheimer’s patients and in it all, Lauren is challenged to live and love again. Double Cross is a strong suspenseful romantic story that will keep you guessing and flipping pages. I received this book from The Book Club Network and Tyndale Publishing in exchange for my honest review which I’ve provided here. https://wordynerdyblog.wordpress.com/2015-book-reviews/double-cross-by-diann-mills/
ARS8 More than 1 year ago
Double Cross by Diann Mills was an action packed thriller that I was not sure the good guys would win or who could be trusted. A scam that targets wealthy patients with dementia has targeted the wrong grandfather when they went after Houston Police officer Daniel Hilton’s grandpa. While trying to protect his grandparents, Daniel takes this case to the FBI where he meets agent Laurel Everton who is investigating similar cases. With a race against time and suspicious deaths of the elderly who were scammed adding up, Daniel and Laurel have to add mastermind criminal Morton Wilmington, whom Laurel had put in prison, to their team. Morton, claiming that he is a changed man, does not have the trust of either Daniel or Laurel especially when evidence appears to point to him as part of the scheme. This book was non-stop as this trio with plenty of past baggage, have to figure out who is the real criminal and mastermind especially when they become targets themselves. Not only that, but Daniel’s spunky grandmother, Abby, is not going to just sit around and do nothing. Packing her own weapon and doing her own investigating, Abby is ready to put an end to this schemer as well. I really liked this second book in this series, not only a pulse pounding story but it also dealt with issues of unforgiveness and second chances. I received a copy for an honest review from The Book Club Network, Inc. and the opinions are my own.
Readers-Corner2 More than 1 year ago
LanguageTCH More than 1 year ago
Double Cross by DiAnn Mills is a very well plotted suspense novel that does not disappoint. I have read many of DiAnn Mills’ novels, and all are exciting page-turners. This one is no exception. She creates warm, appealing characters to whom you hate to say farewell. The pace of her novels is very rapid—not a dull moment. Double Cross is a novel in the FBI: Houston Series. Expect An Adventure prefaces her works, and Double Cross fulfills this. Police Officer Daniel Hilton owes his grandparents everything. They raised him and gave him a wonderful life based upon Christian principles. In their 80’s they are experiencing health difficulties. His grandfather has Alzheimer’s and is lucid some of the time; his grandmother has heart problems. They spend their days at a memory care facility where his grandfather and some other elderly people are targeted by a financial scam. Daniel is their biggest fan and defender, and he tackles this case with all of his expertise. FBI agent Laurel Evertson is investigating a scam targeting the elderly when evidence links to a criminal arrested by her on her last undercover assignment. This man is her best lead in solving this case, but can they trust him? Wilmington says that he is now a born-again believer; yet, Laurel finds it difficult to trust him. She is not sure if he still holds her responsible for his imprisonment. Daniel and Laurel join forces to take down this criminal ring who are targeting the elderly. They need to trust the released criminal and his information, but they are wary of him. The pursuit of these criminals puts their lives in danger. Until they discover the leader’s identity and prove whether or not they can trust Wilmington, they cannot keep Daniel’s grandparents—or themselves—safe. A fast-paced story full of twists and surprises keeps the reader engaged and intrigued. I highly recommend this book to fans of suspense and thrillers. I received this book through TBCN in exchange for an honest review.
Bookworm_Debbie More than 1 year ago
This is a very complex suspense novel. Both FBI Agent Laurel Evertson and Houston Police Officer Daniel Hilton are crafted with a lot of past hurts that they have to face and then work through. They each have solid reasons for wanting to catch the bad guys who are stealing from the elderly. There are also a number of additional characters who play very important roles in the story. At times there were so many, and the relationships between some of them, were so interwoven that I felt that too much effort had been put into making it a confusing story. I felt that the interconnections had been contrived. The story and the scam against the elderly is solid. It just didn’t flow smoothly. At times the action seemed disjointed. This is the first book I have ever read by DiAnn Mills. I will be reading more by her. I received a free copy of this book through The Book Club Network in exchange for my honest opinion.
debhgrty More than 1 year ago
8 my profile Goodreads: Book reviews, recommendations, and discussion search Home My Books Groups Recommendations Explore Double Cross (FBI: Houston, #2) > Review > Edit Double Cross (FBI: Houston, #2) Double Cross (FBI: Houston, #2) by DiAnn Mills (Goodreads Author) Change edition My rating 1 of 5 stars2 of 5 stars3 of 5 stars4 of 5 stars[ 5 of 5 stars ]clear Bookshelves/Tags (create as many as you like...) choose shelves... read (some html is ok) add book/author What did you think? 15793 characters left bigger » hide entire review because of spoilers Date I finished this book (set to today | clear) more options » (preview) add to my update feed ? cancel changes | remove from my books Formatting Tips Goodreads allows some html formatting. well formed web urls automatically get turned into links link: my link text link to book: use the "add book/author" link or [book: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone] link to author: use the "add book/author" link or [author: J.K. Rowling] image: (Width must be 0-400, Height must be 0-1000, alt is a description of the image. All three are optional, but recommended.) bold text: ... italic text: ... underline text: ... strike text: ... exact spacing: ... blockquote: ... paragraph:

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spoiler: ... Note: tags must be properly nested, example: OK test Not OK test © 2015 Goodreads Inc about us advertise author program jobs api our blog terms privacy help switch to: mobile version Deb Haggerty Jul 08, 2015 Deb Haggerty Deb’s Dozen: Elderly being scammed. FBI and police dueling. Double Cross in the works? Laurel Evertson is an FBI agent investigating a group of scammers targeting the elderly. She is horrified when the evidence points to Morton Wilmington, a convicted felon she’d arrested on her first undercover assignment—one she’d rather forget. Daniel Hilton is a Houston Police officer who fears his grandparents are the next target. Dan would do anything to protect them and keep them safe. After all, they’re the ones who raised him after his mom was put in prison. Earl and Abby, Dan’s grandparents, are in their golden years. Earl is slowly progressing into Alzheimer’s, but still sharp sometimes. Abby is quite a pistol for her age and can still shoot one accurately, thank you very much. They spend their days at the Silver Hospitality facility where Earl can socialize and play cards with his friends there. Abby stays there too so she can watch over Earl. Dan and Laurel meet and connect at the Silver Hospitality center when one of the residents is scammed and subsequently dies. Dan fears Earl and Abby may be in danger because Earl can recognize one of the men. Laurel feels strongly that Milton may be at the bottom of the scheme and that his jailhouse conversion is in itself a scam. They team up to solve the crimes—will that lead to them teaming up in other areas? Will Earl and Abby survive? Is Milton involved or has he truly reformed? Mills quotes Abraham Joshua Heschel, “When I was young, I admired clever people. Now that I am old, I admire kind people.” You will be sitting on the edges of your chairs while reading Double Cross—first biting your fingernails and then sighing with relief.
dhiggins4 More than 1 year ago
I have never been disappointed with DiAnn Mills books. They never fail to disappoint me. They keep you guessing until the last page! In Double Cross, FBI Agent Laurel Evertson is investigating a scam on the elderly. This takes a twist for her when she finds that Morton Wilmington, a man she helped to put in prison, is going to be her main lead into this investigation. Police Officer, Daniel Hilton, is extremely fearful that his grandparents will be the next targets of the scam. He will do anything to protect them. Together, Laurel and Daniel must work with Wilmington to uncover the scam. But throughout the whole book, they are wondering if they can really trust Wilmington. Wilmington claims he has become a Christian, but has he? This book keeps you guessing throughout. It had a twist that I never saw coming! I would strongly encourage everyone to read this book especially if you like inspirational suspense. I received this book from book fun for my honest opinion.
KMarkovich More than 1 year ago
DiAnn Mills is an amazing story teller! This novel weaves an incredible tale that gripped me and kept me unable to figure out the mastermind behind the crimes! FBI Agent Laurel Evertson is investigating scams against the elderly. Daniel Hilton, a Houston police officer, meets Laurel when his grandparents become victims to the scammers. The third key character is Morton Wilmington – a con artist Laurel put behind bars 5 years earlier. Mort says he is now a Christian – but is he really and can he be trusted? Or is it another elaborate hoax? Laurel does not trust Christians because God failed her when she was a little girl. Yet not only are Mort and Daniel Christians, but also Daniel’s grandparents, who are quickly becoming dear to her. As the scam becomes more deadly, can the FBI, with the help of Laurel, Daniel and Mort, stop it? I loved how sweetly Abby, Daniel’s grandmother, loves her husband Earl who has Alzheimer’s. Sometimes he is in the present and sometimes he is in the past yet Abby continues to love him graciously, even when some of his comments to her are hurtful. At one point Earl says he is going on a picnic and Daniel asks if he is going with his wife. Earl, holding a picture of an 18 year old Abby, responds, “She’s not my wife yet. But I’m fixin’ to pop the question today.” Abby responds with laughter – but Daniel knew she was faking it, as Earl does not recognize the older woman sitting next to him. This book is a fabulous thriller but I also really enjoyed the lasting love story of Abby and Earl. I highly recommend this book! I received this book from bookfun.org in return for my honest opinion.
VicG More than 1 year ago
DiAnn Mills in her new book, “Double Cross” Book Two in the FBI: Houston series published by Tyndale House Publishers gives us an adventure with Laurel Evertson and Daniel Hilton. From the back cover: She put him in prison. Now he’s their only lead in a deadly new case. FBI Agent Laurel Evertson’s investigation into a scam targeting the elderly takes an unexpected twist when key evidence leads her to Morton Wilmington, a felon she arrested five years ago on her first undercover assignment. That case has haunted her since, and though she’s vowed to forget Wilmington¿and what she sacrificed to put him away¿he is now her best lead. Houston Police Officer Daniel Hilton fears his grandparents may be the scammer’s next targets, and he’ll do anything to protect his family¿even force interagency cooperation. But he’s quickly drawn to Laurel’s empathy and zeal and agrees to follow her lead . . . even if it means teaming up with a felon. As the unlikely trio uncovers evidence suggesting the scam is more extensive and deadly than they imagined, both Laurel and Daniel find themselves in the crosshairs of a killer. Together they must decide if they can trust Wilmington’s claims of redemption, or if he’s leading them straight into a double cross. I have read that Ms. Mills does some of her research through the FBI Citizens Academy. That explains why not only are her characters so authentic but the way they handle situations is also. There is a con artist who is targeting the elderly for their money. Not some loose change mind you but their life savings. He actually scammed Daniel’s grandparents out of $50,000 and to make matters worse the Grandfather is an Alzheimer patient who almost didn’t even remember him doing it Now to stop this con artist Laurel feels it necessary to use the services of Morton Wilmington who may or may not have gone straight. Sometimes you think he has then they are other times you think nothing has changed. I think this is Ms. Mills best work yet and Laurel, Daniel and Morton are well-defined. Once the action gets going Ms. Mills revs up the thriller quotient considerably which will have you reading and flipping pages as fast as you can. Don’t start this book late at night because it will be very difficult to put it down. I recommend this book highly and am greatly looking forward to the next book in the series. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Tyndale House Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
eLynda More than 1 year ago
Great Suspense and a Timely Plot! I once heard DiAnn Mills speak at a writer's conference.  Before attending that, I read a historical novel she had written and enjoyed it, but had not read any of her contemporary novels, so jumped at the chance to read this one when it became available.  I’m glad I followed her to contemporary suspense because I thoroughly enjoyed this novel that kept me guessing right up until the final pages! Some books start out slow and build tension as we read; most of the time, I expect a prologue to give me some back story that may be helpful to know in early chapters.  But this one started the story off with a bang—literally.  The pace didn’t really slow as we went along, either, but the urgency helped me to feel like I was part of the story, racing against the clock to solve the mystery before anyone else became a victim. The plot itself is well-developed and timely, dealing well with our digital age and current scamming trends—at times it was downright scary to consider the plot as realistic, but I can see it being possible.  Alzheimer’s is also discussed at length, both the toll it takes on the caregivers and the diagnosed patient. The primary characters are well-rounded individuals—some are Christian, some are not—with both flaws and good traits.  The past holds them back in some instances, motivates them in others.  There are enough secondary characters to provide suspects, and at times it was a bit overwhelming, but Mills brought up names and relationships often enough that I didn’t stay lost for long. The spiritual content in this novel is solid but never comes across as preachy.  In a novel dealing with police, FBI and scammers, it is not surprising to find a discussion about the presence of evil in the world and why God allows it, but I liked that it was woven throughout the narrative rather than inserted as a clichéd aside.   There are several strong Christians who speak into Laurel’s life in an attempt to help her heal, so we get a lot of their perspective; through the book are various instances of different characters choosing to trust God rather than trying to control everything on their own, relying on Him for help when things look impossible. I do not find anything objectionable as far as content goes; anything that might be considered as such is shown to be wrong or damaging.  I have read several novels recently that tried so hard to be gritty or relevant that I just couldn’t recommend them to others, so I really appreciate Mills’ ability to be realistic without being offensive.  Given the subject matter, however, I would recommend this book be read by middle aged teens on up (15+) as some of the content might be disturbing for younger readers.  This one kept me up past my bedtime, struggling to make sense of the clues in my sleep fogged brain, but utterly unable to put it down!  I would highly recommend this book for fans of contemporary suspense and authors like Dee Henderson and Irene Hannon.  The mystery is strong and the author maintains tension throughout, making for a breathtaking read that many suspense fans will enjoy. I received copy of this book from the publisher through The Book Club Network in exchange for this honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Karen02KD More than 1 year ago
When some of the most vulnerable, the elderly with dementia, become the object of a scam seeking to rob them and their heirs of their life savings, Laurel Everston of the FBI wants to catch the perpetrator. There are very few leads, but she does recognize some code which seems to lead back five years to the criminal she nailed in an undercover assignment. Is it possible he is involved from jail? She is determined to find out. Morton Wilmington claims to have become a Christian in prison and is anxious to live for God. He also is very anxious to get out of prison. Will he be able to help Laurel solve the case or is he wanting to make good on his threat to kill her? Daniel Hilton of the Houston Police Department wants this crime solved, as well. His elderly grandparents were victims and now their lives could be in danger as some of the victims also seem to be dying of causes that may not be natural. As Daniel, Laurel, and Morton work together, they are all fighting demons of their past and no one is convinced that he can trust the other members of the team. As with all of DiAnn Mills’ books, this is a fast paced thriller. Many of her books are not only good mysteries, but they also are tackling an important issue. In this case, she focuses on the lives of those with Alzheimer’s disease, their care, and the lives of those who love and care for them. It was written with great sympathy and dignity. Her characters are well developed. No one can help but fall in love with the feisty octogenarian, Abby, as she seeks to care for the love of her life, Earl. It was a great suspense thriller, but there was also much food for thought. I received this from the Book Club Network in exchange for my honest opinion.
PatGMoore More than 1 year ago
Murder, suspense, misleading clues, romance and faith. The heroine and hero are strong individuals with their own flaws. Things don't slow down once they decide to work together to solve this mystery. There are some surprises you won't be expecting. If you like finding the clues and seeing if you can solve this ahead of time, beware, some are misleading. I've never been disappointed in a book by DiAnn Mills. She became one of my favorite authors after the first book I read by her. If you want a good Christian Romantic Suspense author to read, then DiAnn Mills is the author for you. Be prepared to be up late reading. I didn't want to put the book down to go to sleep. Laurel Evertson (FBI Agent) was checking leads into a scam targeting the elderly or infirm. All the evidence points to a previous case. When Daniel Hilton, a police officer, finds out that his grandfather was one of the victims, he meets with Laurel. As they delve into the scam, they discover some of the previous victims have died. All appear to be natural causes but they are to close in timing to the insurance scams. Sorry, no more. You will have to read the book to see who they can trust, see what happens and keeps you turning the page. I bought Double Cross and no one asked me to leave this review. When a book is as good as this one I leave a review. I loved this book and wish she had another one coming out real soon. However, not sure when her next one is due out. Meanwhile, sit back, relax and enjoy this book. All opinions expressed are my own.
Pooke More than 1 year ago
Going Undercover with the FBI Morton Wilmington, former crime boss, has become a born again Christian while serving a jail sentence.  Or so he claims.  He contacts the government about doing an undercover operation to expose his former partners in crime.  He states he is doing this because of his new-found religious beliefs.   A change of heart? To help him pull off this plan, he requests the help of FBI agent Laurel Evertson.  She was the agent responsible for putting him in jail in the first place.  Laurel had pretended to be in love with Morton so she could get close enough to him to get evidence to convict him.   Although this was just an act for Laurel, Morton really had fallen in love with her. Morton, with the help of the FBI, concoct an elaborate hoax which includes Laurel reprising the role of his fiancé, and convincing  the crime world that she has walked away from her FBI position out of love for him.  Atheist Laurel, in fact, detests Morton, doubts his religious conversion or his sincerity to really rat out his former crime buddies.  But she agrees to be part of the plan in order to stop a crime ring that has been scamming the elderly, and perhaps catch Morton doing something illegal once more. Policeman Daniel Hilton inadvertently becomes involved in the sting operation when his grandparents who raised him become victims of the scam.  Although Laurel isn't thrilled to have him included, he works his way into the investigation.  His spunky, out-spoken Christian grandmother and Alzheimer suffering grandfather are also part of the story-line. A double double-cross? This book has lots of twists and turns along with many likable characters.  Laurel and Daniel often wonder whether or not Morton truly has turned his back on crime, and if they can trust him when situations get dangerous.  When things start getting really harrowing they begin to speculate if their FBI connection is really looking out for them. Will Laurel and Daniel be able to work with Morton without losing their lives?  Has Morton really turned over a new leaf, or is he just using them to pull off an even bigger heist, and disappear--incriminating them in the bargain?  And will Daniel's grandparents suffer a fatal "accident" the way other senior citizens have who have been part of the scam?  Find the answer to all these questions and more in this page turning tale.   I enjoyed this book which is the second in a series, but this story stands alone.  I was disappointed that one of the main characters is eliminated so won't be part of the series going forward.   This 5-star book has a strong Christian message that was easily woven into this work.  I recommend this to anyone who enjoys fast moving thrillers with a dash of romance that is all kept squeaky clean. Thank you Tyndale House Publishers for providing me with a complimentary copy of this book for the purpose of review.  All opinions expressed are my own, and I was not required, or influenced, to give anything but an honest appraisal.  Despite my receiving this book free, it has not influenced my judgment.
VillaSyl More than 1 year ago
An unlikely trio; FBI agent, Houston police officer and a high-end criminal-turned-informant; all working together to solve a high stakes scam targeting wealthy dementia patients out of thousands of dollars after being issued fake life insurance policies. Agent Laurel Everston cannot believe that she has been asked to team up with the very man, Morton Wilmington, who murdered her partner in a shoot-out at the end of a successful undercover assignment. Officer Daniel Hilton agrees to help the FBI, primarily because his own grandfather was scammed and he is intrigued by the beautiful, but emotionally brittle, Laurel Everston. Double Cross has a very detailed plot, with numerous twists, turns and mood swings between heroes and criminals alike. Double Cross kept me guessing until the end about who the mastermind really was. This is a tale that summons the mind of readers to try and figure out who is ultimately behind the millions of dollars stolen from the elderly. As Laurel and Daniel cross paths during the investigation, Laurel feels trapped between maintaining her cover and her growing attraction to the handsome and stubborn police officer who won't walk away. There are lots of surprise twists and the romance is beautifully sweet. Daniel is patient with Laurel and yet manages to woo her rather charmingly. A great read and recommend it to anyone who likes a little romance with a murder mystery. I received digital copy of book from Tyndale Publishers for my review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A great read, interesting, unexpected developments. I found the characters a little slow to develop, other than that it's a great read.
Shay14 More than 1 year ago
This is an awesome book. I love the way it's formatted to show the time lapsing and help keep up with all that's going on. The suspense and mystery were well developed and written. I was guessing right along with the characters until the very end. With all the twists and turns the story takes, I wasn't able to guess the outcome, which I thoroughly enjoyed.  I loved the characters. Their charisma, spark, and spunk kept me engaged and actively following their romance. Laurel Everston is a strong, independent woman scarred by life. Even though she's been dealt a rough hand, she is doing her best to rise above her circumstances. Daniel Hilton is a sweet, tough guy. His devotion to do the right thing, follow God, and to help Laurel is what made him the man he is.  Morton Wilmington's conversion and ultimate sacrifice was an amazing picture of the love and care Christians should have. His faith, though new, was strong and he tried his best to show it in every facet of his life and to make amends with those he wounded before he went to prison. I believe his life and that of Daniel's faith and beliefs is what ultimately led to Laurel's conversion.  Overall, if you're looking for a thrilling story that will keep you guessing until the very end, this is the one for you! *I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through the Tyndale Blogging program in exchange for my honest review.*
angelmom1165 More than 1 year ago
I have read many of DiAnn's western romance books but this is the first time I've been able to read her newer crime adventure books. I enjoy her writing style for both genres. This book was filled with action and mystery. I used to watch a few of the crime TV shows and enjoyed trying to solve the crime. This one made me wonder WHO was the double crosser and who was on the up and up through out the entire book. The ending surprised me.  This book deals with how people's past shapes them and how they make choices in their lives. There are trust issues because of the past and it makes us question trusting others and knowing what is real or a lie. This book shows how God loves us through the bad things that can happen to us as we are growing up, either from our choices or just something that happens to us because of someone else's choices. There is nothing so bad that God won't love us. And that people heal in their own way, it's not one size fits all.  This book was very well done. If you like crime adventure books, this one is on target. She does her research and makes it believable. This is number two in the series. The first book came out last year and the third next year around this time. I look forward to reading more of her books. 
ACS_Book_Blogger More than 1 year ago
Double Cross captures the reader's attention with the involved, fast faced suspense tale where the FBI and local police work together to solve a scam that turns deadly. This story involves undercover work with felons, charity scammers duping vulnerable senior citizens, and heroes turned bad.The depth of deception is not revealed until the final pages. A good read where Christian faith is presented as a source of strength and in a felon character who found redemption while in prison. A sweet blossoming romance is part of the story as well. DISCLOSURE: A complimentary copy was provided by Tyndale Blog Network on behalf of the publisher Tyndale Fiction to facilitate this review. 
MelissaF More than 1 year ago
This is the third book by DiAnn I have read. I really loved the other two. Although I ended up enjoying this one it took me a while. I took note that it was at page seventy-seven that I felt like the book finally hooked me. I loved the situation that Laurel ended up in with having to work with the man she once put in prison, Morton. I also hoped that his Christianity was real and that he would use his story of redemption to reach into Laurel and Daniel’s lives. Morton himself was an interesting character and definitely had a great Genesis 5020 story. The beginning was a bit slow for me and for some reason I felt like some situations didn’t happen naturally. When Daniel asked Laurel out the first time I was kind of like “That came out of no where.” And I guess I felt like that happened a lot. Characters said or did things but it seemed to lack a natural motivation. With that being said, once I got into the story I really did enjoy it and wanted to know more about the characters wounds and back story. DiAnn did a great job dropping hints but not giving too much away too soon. In the end I did enjoy this book and think if you like DiAnn Mills you will enjoy this one as well. This can be read as a stand-alone novel even though it is the second book in the series. A copy of this book was given to me by the publisher through the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance in exchange for an honest review.
Virginiaw More than 1 year ago
I loved these characters.  Laurel and Daniel were perfect for each other.  Daniels grandparents were great.  Alzheimer's is a horrible disease and any one that takes advantage of the elderly is horrible.  I am looking forward to the next installment.  I received this book from the Tyndale Blog Network for a fair and honest opinion.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was an exciting midnight read, though you cannot put it down once you start. Great twists and turns with the plot. Keeps you guessing all the way up to the surprise ending. Loved the grandparents. A great romantic suspense thriller!
4Gazpacho More than 1 year ago
Double Cross is the second book of three in the FBI: Houston series. I have read and reviewed both the first and second books; they are both able to stand on their own as independent novels. The third book, Deadlock, is scheduled to come out in the Spring of 2016.  Houston Police Officer Daniel Hilton loved his grandparents. Together, the three of them loved the Lord and lived for Him. When his Gramps, a respected former accountant, was diagnosed with Alzheimer's, they were all affected deeply. During the day, Gramps and Gran stayed at a high security memory facility six days a week. Daniel brought them home every evening after work. When Gramps mentioned some of his friends at the facility had bought life insurance, Daniel was concerned. When a large sum of money was missing from one of their accounts, he felt it was time to investigate. He had the complete cooperation of the facility's manager. But when some of the patients who had bought the insurance began to die, Gramps demanded they take the case to the FBI. Daniel stubbornly disagreed, but took them anyway. Special Agent Laurel Evertson was in her office when Daniel and his grandparents arrived. She and her partner handled cases like white collar crimes, including elderly fraud. Laurel took charge of the meeting while two other agents asked questions. Theirs was not the first scam they had heard about. The FBI was investigating what appeared to be an organized attempt at targeting dementia patients. Millions of dollars were at stake. If lives were also threatened, this upped the ante for the Bureau. Laurel thought of an angle of investigation involving a former case of hers where her undercover work sent a man to prison. She wondered what he knew of these fraud cases. She decided going against FBI policy by visiting him in prison without another agent present. Her reasoning was personal. A couple days later, she was sent undercover again, this time making it appear she had betrayed the FBI and was fired. The object was to gain the confidence of the possible ring leader perpetrating the scams. Twists and turns in the plot keep the reader guessing with each new development. When I read the first book in this series, the complexity of the plot was amazing; it riveted me to the book from start to finish. The same occurred to me with this book. DiAnn Mills writes more than just fast-paced mysteries and thrillers. She holds the readers enthralled, with questions around every corner. At one point, she had me guessing who could be trusted, who was on which side, who was the double crosser, and who was being double-crossed. While she is doing this, she is adding layers of character development while the major players race against time to prevent more elderly deaths. If you're not careful, this book will have you looking over your shoulder.  I love it when an author feeds you anticipation, in this case through the title. Because of this, the book feels a little bit like a "who-done-it" on steroids. But my favorite aspect in discovering the who, why, and how of the plot was the surprise (or should I say both surprises) at the end. At least one of them completely caught me off guard. I know this book will be placed with my favorite reads because I will want to read it over several times.  Finally, I would be remiss if I didn't mention how important the element of faith is in this book. There is no preaching here. Daniel and his grandparents' faith is expressed through action. They live it, 24/7. It is not compartmentalized and separated from the rest of their lives. It's this faith-in-action that speaks loudest to Laurel, who can't quite grasp the concept and personhood of God. In addition, there is one more person of faith I can't tell you about; it would spoil the plot. It is a part of the surprise at the conclusion of the investigation, the end of the book, and the turning point for Laurel. Now quit pestering me for more details and go read the book! You'll love it.  Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers for their blogging program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”