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Tuesday, 15 July 2014

'Past Deception' by Barbara Fagan Speake

Published by Country Books
ISBN 978-1-906789-94-7

The story grips you from the first page when Andy Tremont wakes up in captivity.  He has no knowledge of what has happened to him and why he is held in a cage with his hands and feet shackled.  He is fortunate in that the police are alerted to his apparent kidnapping very quickly.  His twin sister, Laura, raises the alarm after he misses their joint birthday party and fails to send her a certain card that they had sent to and fro since childhood. 

This is a police procedural set in the USA where detective Annie Macpherson is on a placement with the Westford police in Connecticut.  She has been sent on the temporary assignment from the UK where she worked for the Greater Manchester police.  She has completed most of her 6 months in Connecticut during which she has participated in some important cases and has been invited to liaise with the regional squad specialising in child sex abuse since previous cases have dealt with that area.  Her relationships with other members of the force have developed well and her expertise is respected.

The intricate plot leads on from the immediate impact of the awakening of Andy Tremont in captivity.  From here on his experiences are contrasted with the efforts to find him.  Barbara handles all the different threads of the tale very well so that momentum is always maintained.  As a reader you care deeply about the imprisoned, the detectives and the characters who get embroiled in events.  The psychology of all involved is, as always, very successful - Barbara's own experience as a psychologist is of great value to her in producing credible characters.  Obviously she can deal with US situation since she was raised there - she did the opposite of Annie by coming to England from the USA to live and work.  The title does have significance and its development really enhances the tale as it winds its way to an exciting finale.
Reviewer: Jennifer S. Palmer
Previous books about Annie are Primed by the Past and Programmed to Kill. 

Barbara Fagan Speake was born and brought up in Connecticut. She has written 3 crime novels so far.  The first, Secrets Only Sleep, is a standalone mystery.  The second is this book and the third, Programmed to Kill, develops Annie’s adventures in the USA further

Jennifer S Palmer Throughout my reading life crime fiction has been a constant interest; I really enjoyed my 15 years as an expatriate in the Far East, the Netherlands & the USA but occasionally the solace of closing my door to the outside world and sitting reading was highly therapeutic. I now lecture to adults

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