Deceived: A Private Justice Novel
Three years ago, Kate Marshall’s husband and four-year-old son died --- presumably drowned --- while on a leisurely fishing trip. At least, her husband died; her son Kevin’s body was never found. The police refused to pursue the idea of foul play, chalking it up to a tragic accident, in spite of a couple of things about the “accident” that just didn’t add up for Kate. Her period of grief included an addiction to Valium, but she overcame it and is now doing her best to move on with her life.
But in one brief moment, her world is turned upside down again.
On a crowded escalator at the mall, something familiar catches Kate’s attention. She hears a child say the word “Poppysicle,” exactly what her son used to call Popsicle. She turns toward the voice and sees a young boy heading the opposite way on the escalator with a man in a baseball cap. The boy is about the same age as Kevin would be now, with the same wheat-colored hair. She calls his name, and he turns to look up at her. There is no mistaking that face. It is her son. But by the time she struggles through the throng of shoppers, Kevin and the man are gone.
"...an impressive and exciting romantic suspense with a few twists and turns, and lots of page-turning drama. Irene Hannon’s latest effort is proof as to why she has been the recipient of several awards in Christian fiction."
Did she imagine the whole thing? Was her mind playing tricks on her? No, Kate decides she is not crazy. She knows in her heart that she had seen her son. But now what? She is sure the cops won’t believe her, so going to them is out of the question. She is hesitant to hire a private investigator because she knows how far-fetched her story sounds, but feels she has no other option. So she gathers her courage and walks through the doors of Phoenix, Inc.
P.I. and former Secret Service Agent Connor Sullivan can’t help but be a little skeptical as he listens to Kate’s claim that she saw her dead son at the mall. But it’s evident to him that Kate is not a crazy person, so he agrees to take the case, while gently cautioning her not to get her hopes up. Connor’s colleagues tease him that he took the case only because Kate is a beautiful woman, and while he denies it, he can’t deny the “beautiful” part. If she weren’t a client, he definitely would be interested in the gorgeous blonde.
Connor uncovers clues that Kevin may indeed be alive and well. Now he needs to get enough concrete evidence to take the kidnapper into custody.
DECEIVED has an intriguing plot that certainly captivates the reader. Author Irene Hannon takes a mother’s worst nightmare of losing a child and puts a spin of hope on it: “What if my child isn’t dead, after all?” Kate Marshall is a wonderful heroine. She is strong, believable and admirable in her determination to find her son. The chemistry between Kate and Connor is electric and dynamic, adding the perfect measure of romance for which Hannon is known.
An interesting element is how the kidnapper is portrayed. Rather than a revolting villain, the character of Greg Sanders is sympathetic and, in many ways, “normal.” Sanders kidnapped Kevin (now Todd) and has raised him as his son for the past three years. He’s been a good “dad,” and Todd is a well-adjusted seven-year-old. When Todd starts asking questions and having dreams about the woman he saw on the escalator, Greg begins to panic. It is then that his “evil side” appears. Greg will do anything to protect Todd, even if it means killing Kate --- the woman who could take away the “son” he loves.
DECEIVED, the third novel in the Private Justice series, is an impressive and exciting romantic suspense with a few twists and turns, and lots of page-turning drama. Irene Hannon’s latest effort is proof as to why she has been the recipient of several awards in Christian fiction. Fans of Hannon and of romantic suspense will appreciate this one.
Reviewed by Lynda Lee Schab on November 23, 2014