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.