by Sandra Murphy
We have a fun Victoria Laurie double header-A review of her new book out in hardback, Sense of Deception, and a review of the paperback release of the book before that, Fatal Fortune. Details at the end of this post on how to win copies of both and a links to purchase the books.
Sense of Deception by Victoria Laurie
Review by Sandra Murphy
Abby Cooper-Rivers (should she decide to take hubby’s name) has got her work cut out for her. Some of it’s her own fault; even she admits that. Probably she shouldn’t have outed a federal court judge as gay-in open court, no less—just because he said she was a fraud and not really psychic. That got her a contempt-of-court arrest and a night in jail. Due to overcrowding, she’s locked up with a woman who’s been on death row for the last ten years. Skylar Miller was accused and convicted of killing her nine-year-old son. This is her last appeal—and in Texas, if you lose that, the death penalty is in play within hours.
Abby firmly believes Skylar is innocent but has only about a week to prove it, while the case in which she was testifying before it all went south is declared a mistrial. That means the man who killed three women is out and about again. She’s officially barred from helping, but that doesn’t mean she can’t work behind the scenes and point the FBI in the right direction.
In the course of investigating Skylar’s case, Abby has to agree to help an Austin police detective. Add in two or three days of regular paying clients and Abby’s overwhelmed. Lucky for her, she’s got good friends willing to help.
A lawyer she knows will represent Skylar for the last appeal. Oscar, the forced-to-take-vacation FBI agent, will lend a hand since he doesn’t know what to do with time off. Her PI partner, Candice, is always ready to pitch in when she can, and Dutch (hubby), Brice (Candice’s hubby) and Gaston (head FBI guy) are behind her too. Of course, Abby has to help Oscar find a house to buy, the furniture for it, a new wardrobe—all of which will position him for a dog and a girlfriend. Very cool, but time-consuming when time is at a premium.
If Abby hits a low spot, then it’s time to call in reinforcements in the form of Eggy and Tuttle, her Dachshunds. Kissing therapy is Tuttle’s strong suit: it’s impossible to lose hope after a Tuttle session.
It’s a nail-biter for sure, with twists and turns all along the way. This is Number Thirteen in the series (several reviewed for KRL). I missed Dave the handyman in this tale, but I’m sure he was busy fixing something, somewhere. Dutch and the other FBI guys were present, with Oscar getting the spotlight. What fun he is, especially in one priceless scene with Candice and Abby—believe me, you’ll know which one I mean when you read it. Warning—don’t take a sip of anything right then!
Also look for Laurie’s second series, a little more paranormal as it involves ghost hunters. There are nine books, all with ghoul in the title. I’d bet all the money in Abby’s Cuss Word Jar that you’ll enjoy both series.
Fatal Fortune by Victoria Laurie
Review by Sandra Murphy
Abby’s in a deep mess this time. Rather, it’s her PI partner, Candice, who is really in deep doo-doo, and Abby’s trying to dig their way out—but she’s working blind.
Everything was going well at first. Abby pulled back a bit from her work with the FBI as profiler (read: psychic) and was building her own client list as she got used to married life with Dutch, her FBI heartthrob. Meanwhile, Candice and Brice (her own FBI sweetie) eloped to Las Vegas. When they came back, Candice seemed a bit off. Brice said it started a few days into the honeymoon but he couldn’t pinpoint anything that happened to cause it.
When Abby gets a message from Candice at three in the morning, she doesn’t have to be psychic to know the news is going to be bad. Sure enough, it starts with “it’s not how it looks” and goes rapidly downhill from there. The “how it looks” is a video of Candice shooting an unarmed man in the head, calmly getting into her car, and driving off. The FBI is on the hunt, which means Dutch, and especially Brice, are not allowed anywhere near the case. To help her friend, Abby resigns to do her own investigating. Now she’s working without a net—or at least without an official one.
Abby has to fetch a file from Candice’s office and hide it. That works, kind of, as the police search the office, before someone breaks in and does a—let’s say—deeper search, as in slicing the upholstery, overturning furniture, and more. It also causes the landlord to give Abby and Candice an eviction notice—really? He cites the “no criminal activities” clause, and since Candice is wanted by the police, thinks he’s right.
Abby saw everything in the file and can’t imagine what was so important, but she follows the trail, hoping it will lead to Candice. It leads her to Las Vegas and even more puzzles to solve before she can get back to what passes for normal in their lives.
This is Book Eleven of the series, published in hardcover last year, now out in paperback. Dutch and Abby are moving along well and adjusting to married life. Abby’s amazed that no matter how much she loved Dutch as a boyfriend, it was nothing compared to how much she loves him as a husband. He has an enormous amount of patience—her plans often veer more to the crazy side than to the well-thought-out version—and a solid belief in her psychic abilities.
I do miss Milo, Dutch’s former partner. Abby and Dutch are in Austin now, and Milo stayed behind until his son graduates. Dave, the handyman, is absent too, and missed. On the other hand, Eggy and Tuttle, Abby’s Dachshunds, make their appearances and are a delight.
Brice usually has the FBI stiff-upper-lip attitude, but is much more human as he’s led to believe Candice isn’t who he’d thought, making his whole life a lie. Oscar, another FBI agent, looks like he’s moving up to regular-character status and that’s a very good thing.
Pay close attention to details when reading this book. There are false identities, clues, red herrings, misdirection, and more to keep readers on their toes before solving the case.
Also read Laurie’s ghostly series, all with ghoul in the title, such as the latest, The Ghoul Next Door. There are eight books in the series, so summer reading just got better.
To enter to win a copy of Sense of Deception & Fatal Fortune, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Laurie,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen July 11, 2015. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address, and if via comment please include your email address.
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