Still recovering from her brother’s murder, Detective Tess Richards transfers out of Homicide, only to find herself in the center of a deadly undercover operation.
When a young woman is found dead after a hit-and-run, all evidence points to Everchange, a high-profile self-help organization renowned for attracting rich and famous members. As Tess leaves Homicide to take a job within the Seattle Intelligence Unit, she is quickly sent undercover into the Everchange castle on Whidbey Island.
What she finds is not what she expected. Surrounded by celebrities and feel-good teachings, Tess has trouble discerning between truth and deception.
Detective Blake Stephenson’s investigation of the Everchange hit-and-run uncovers evidence of their cult-like connection to murder and human trafficking. Embedded in the castle, Tess confronts Everchange’s leader Colton Everett, who is not only charming and strikingly attractive, but he and Tess have a history.
As Blake links more deaths to the organization, he works to arrange a rescue mission to help Tess escape. While inside, Tess witnesses the death of a member and fights to untangle Everchange’s web of lies - before her cover is blown with fatal consequences.
Heart racing suspense and mind-bending twists
Fatal Deception is the fifth book in this mystery series featuring two Seattle homicide detectives, Tess Richards and Blake Stephenson. Although I have read the other books in the series, I think Fatal Deception could be enjoyed as a standalone. The book grabbed me from the opening scene with a young woman running away from some unknown threat. The author continued to build the intrigue and suspense from that point. The story is split between three main focuses: Stephenson is investigating the hit and run murder of a young woman, Richards goes undercover to join a suspected cult, and Richards and Stephenson navigate their personal relationship. The author skillfully uses foreshadowing to build the eeriness factor and ties all three sub-plots into one seamless story. I have loved reading all the books in the series, but I think this one was the most addictive, and I listened to it straight through in one sitting. I was certain that I knew what was happening from the beginning, but I guessed completely wrong in the end.
The excitement of the mystery portion of the story is obviously very important, but one of the main reasons that I am such a fan of these books is the wonderful character development. Tess and Blake have become very real people to me, and I love that they continue to grow individually and together in each book. My heart broke for Tess as she struggled with panic attacks and flashbacks from her brother's murder investigation in a previous book, and, as a fellow suffer of panic attacks, I thought the author captured her experiences expertly. Although there was some tension between them in the beginning of the book, Blake was amazingly supportive of Tess and continues to prove himself the perfect match for someone as tough outside yet fragile inside as Tess. I am already excited to see what the author has in store for this couple in the next book.
Marcio Catalano and Veronica Pace narrate all the books in this series, and I appreciate that continuity. They perform in the duet style, with Catalono reading all the male parts and Pace reading all the female parts. It takes great skill to handle that smoothly, and these two narrators succeed. Their timing is perfect, their delivery is flawless, and the sound recording is of professional quality. I highly recommend Fatal Deception for all fans of mystery audiobooks.
I received a copy of this audiobook at my request in exchange for this honest review.