Thursday, August 18, 2011

Deception by Erin O'Reilly

Publisher:                   Intaglio Publications

Knowing what genre to put Deception in is a challenge. There is a murder mystery, lots of criminal court scenes and a romance all woven together. There are enough plot points to please just about any type of reader. 

Lane Cuthbert has had a plan for her life since she was very young. Not satisfied to simply inherit a position in her father's successful law firm, she has calculated every move she has made, from the college she attended to the jobs she's accepted, to move her in the direction of achieving her goal of being a legal commentator for a major TV network. All she needs now is one big, high profile case to catapult her to the fame she needs. 

Bryce Clayton is a reclusive, but very successful and powerful businesswoman. She's known for being difficult to get along with, but she's also fair, honest and drawn to take care of people who are in trouble. Her nemesis is Preston Garrett, a big bully of a rancher, who fights with Bryce every chance he gets and makes it clear to everyone in town that he intends to destroy her. 

When Garrett is murdered, the police don't consider anyone a suspect except Bryce and Lane has the case she believes will make her future. Bryce is as difficult a client as she is a person because she refuses to reveal where she was at the time of the murder. She's decided it's worth sitting in prison for twenty-five years to keep some secrets hidden. Lane will need all of her skills to keep that from happening, especially when she begins to realize that Bryce is more to her than just a client. As the case develops, Lane finds herself reevaluating her goals and Bryce discovers someone who may help her understand that her "secret" doesn't have to stay hidden.

O'Reilly has created two very strong women, neither of whom feels any reason to be weak so that the other one can dominate. She's surrounded them with a cast of engaging characters and a plot that is well put together. O'Reilly works the case with a strong sense of reality. No witness breaks down on the stand or suddenly loses control and admits to being the true murderer. 

Lane has to work her way through the trial using her skills and refuting the evidence as it is presented. Bryce stays true to her character throughout the book, avoiding the personality "change" that is so frequent in romances. The mystery of the murder is left hanging until the very end of the book and there is a dramatic scene at the end of the trial that will surprise readers. Deception has the characteristics that make a book pleasurable to read.

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