FBI agent Nick Hagar is investigating the disappearance and murder of Gina Ford, the daughter of a prominent politician. The powers that be are breathing down his neck demanding results, but with lots of suspects and next to no leads, Nick is coming up empty. The fact that everyone has something to hide doesn’t make his job any easier.
Maddie Baxter loves working for the crime lab. She thrives on bringing criminals to justice. Unlike humans, science never lies. It doesn’t twist the truth. She can depend on it. That is, until forensics exonerates a man that Maddie is convinced is evil and a familial DNA test makes her ex-boyfriend a prime suspect in the Gina Ford case. Suddenly, the forensics expert questions everything she has always believed.
Strand of Deception offers the trademark suspense and romance Robin Caroll’s fans have come to expect in her novels. The third installment in the Justice Seekers series follows the final Baxter sibling on her quest for love and truth. While the second book, To Write a Wrong, is still my favorite, I enjoyed watching Nick and Maddie’s relationship blossom as they worked to solve the mystery.
That being said, Maddie did disappoint me. When the story starts out, the protagonist is adamant that she will only marry a Christian man. However, due to circumstances in life, Nick doesn’t care for God. Instead of stepping back from any kind of romantic involvement, Maddie moves forward. At one point, when she considers breaking it off, another character encourages her not to, saying the FBI agent can change someday. While this may be cute and end up happily-ever-after in a book, in real life it almost inevitably leads to problems. Believing they have the ability to change their partner is how people end up jumping into relationships they shouldn’t.
Caroll created an engaging cast. Some characters were fun and spunky, others tugged at my heartstrings, and yet others made my blood boil. I especially liked Eva (Maddie’s best friend) and though she’s not a Baxter, I’d enjoy seeing her in her own book. Some surprising twists kept me in the dark until the end. While the identity of the killer did not shock me, the events that led to Gina’s murder did take me off guard. I wanted to kick myself for not seeing them beforehand because they made perfect sense and went right along with the sleazy killer’s personality.
Though it is part of a series, Strand of Deception can stand alone. Rafe Baxter makes a brief appearance as the loving, yet overprotective brother, but those who haven’t read the first two installments won’t miss any important information. I recommend this novel to romantic suspense fans.
Review copy received from publisher via NetGalley. Thanks!
**Originally posted on Fiction Addict