Monday, March 23, 2009

James Scott Bell's Deceived ~ Reviewed

By James Scott Bell
Published by Zondervan
327 Pages

Back cover:

She thinks she knows who she is and what she wants, but when the web gets terribly tangled, is her game of deception a clever lie or a deadly trap?

Two bodies in an isolated canyon on the edge of L.A.; One with saddlebags filled with diamonds.

That’s how it begins for Liz Towne, a stunning blond with a devout husband who had given up a prime job for reasons Liz cannot understand – for “Mac” MacDonald, a Gulf War vet who’s done time in prison and is just now finding his way back to normal life – and for Roxanne “Rocky” Towne, Liz’s sister-in-law, who suspects things she cannot prove. All three are thrown together after a tragedy in Pack Canyon.

After finding the stolen diamonds, Liz is faced with an escalating set of choices: Truth or lies? Stop or keep moving? All in or all played out?


“Sin’s real, even if you don’t believe it. And it affects the mind. If you ignore it, you dissociate, you try to compartmentalize it. But the guild seeps through, and if you don’t turn it over to God, it will turn on you.”

James Scott Bell really brings home the message of 'sin' being real and the 'peace' God gives us (which surpasses all understanding), through the pages of this very complex, suspense thriller. The author also delves into what any human might be capable doing given the right circumstances. What would you do if you happened upon a dead man with a duffle bag filled with diamonds worth millions, AND no one was watching? The author tells one mind boggling tale.

Liz Towne sets out to take a quiet hike one beautiful day. All is well until she starts talking to her husband about him being a Christian. Why did he have to go do that? He has ruined everything in life; everything Liz held dear anyway! Then they discover the dead body and the diamonds. What is the right thing to do? Liz and her husband have different worldviews on how to proceed and so the story goes.

You won’t stop reading this book until the end. It will leave you deeply moved. Although some parts are disturbing, "Deceived" will definitely have you thinking about the deeper things in life. You’ll start talking to your friends about life and many other aspects of this page-turner, which takes so many twists and turns. James Scott Bell weaves this masterfully told story of what 'sin' looks like and how much greater God’s love is. The love which never fades or dies no matter what we’ve done. He forgives our sins as far as the east is from the west, but can we accept His forgiveness of our sin and forgive ourselves? That’s the big question.

Reviewed by:
Nora St.Laurent – Book Club Servant Leader

Bonus Review:

James Scott Bell writes great stories. From the first paragraph I was sucked into his latest, Deceived.

A novel that will be just the beginning of a series because these characters need to continue their stories. Liz, a new and tortured widow with some hellish secrets. Mac, a struggling vetran, ex-con just trying to get back on his feet and find his way in the world. Rocky, scarred inside and out and full of a lot of songs that she needs to sing.

This novel is dark but ends with hope. Deceived shows the depths to which humanity sinks when left to twisted thoughts and broken moral compasses. Bell aces my grade sheet with compelling characters, tightly wound plots, scenes that hum with realism and dialog that is both entertaining and real. Scott's legal background adds additional depth.

Character collectors, fans of crime fiction and Bell fans should check further into Deceived.

Reviewed by:
Kelly Klepfer

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