**This review was featured on Novel Crossing. See original post here**
For three years, Kate Marshall has been grieving the loss of her husband and their four-year-old son in a boating accident. But when she spots a familiar-looking child on an escalator in the mall, she is convinced it is the son she thought was dead. With police skeptical of her story, she turns to private investigator Connor Sullivan. The former Secret Service agent is dubious but agrees to investigate. Digging into the case he discovers that the incident may have been no accident at all. But if Kate’s son is alive, someone is intent on keeping him hidden–and may be willing to go to lethal lengths to protect a sinister secret.
As Irene Hannon’s many fans have come to expect, “Deceived “is filled with complex characters, unexpected twists, and a riveting plot line that accelerates to an explosive finish.
In the early morning stillness of her husband’s thirty-sixth birthday, Kate Marshall’s world is destroyed by the appearance of a police officer on her threshold. Her husband and four year old son tragically drowned when their fishing boat overturned with neither wearing their life preservers. Three years later, Kate is living in St Louis when she has a providential encounter on an escalator at a local mall. She hears the familiar voice of a young child who has an uncanny resemblance to her son – her son who was pronounced dead even though his body was never recovered. After losing the child and his male companion in the crowd she is haunted by the encounter, her rational nature battling with the incomparable power of hope.
Former Secret Service agent and private investigator, Connor Sullivan, is initially dubious of Kate’s story, however he is inexplicably drawn to her. Equally intrigued by the woman as the case, he takes on the investigation that quickly reveals itself as more than the imagination of a young mother dealing with grief. Connor unveils that the circumstances surrounding Kate’s husband and son’s drowning on that fateful morning are sinister at the core.
Irene Hannon reveals the antagonist to readers at the onset and the narrative shifts between his point of view, Kate’s and Connor’s. Those who love the anticipation of the great reveal in their suspense novels may not favor this format, but there are still many details to be revealed as the plot twists and builds to a dramatic climax. The genuine fatherly affection that the antagonist demonstrates towards the child in question lends complexity to his character and defies the typical villain prototype.
Deceived is an absorbing mystery with undercurrents of romance and humor. The office interactions and bantering between Nikki, Dev and Connor are lively and reminiscent of team dynamics of investigative shows like NCIS. Overall, the third and final Private Justice instalment is a worthy conclusion to what has been a thrilling series.