Deadly Gamble

Don’t Look Now

High Country Bride

In Your Dreams

The Man from Stone Creek

McKettrick’s Luck

McKettrick’s Pride

The McKettrick Way

One Wish

Springwater

Springwater Wedding

Two Brothers

The Vow

A Wanted Man

 

 
Deadly Deceptions
by Linda Lael Miller
(HQN, $7.99, PG-13)  ISBN 0-373-77256-4
****
Linda Lael Miller has returned with another tale featuring Mojo Sheepshanks, a wannabe detective in Arizona who has a little weird talent (or annoying attribute) of being able to see and talk to ghosts.  They generally find her, and at times she doesn’t really know if someone is real or dead until she has talked to them for awhile.  Mojo also owns a biker bar from her friend Bert, who she met in the first book.  Her boyfriend is Tucker Durrach, a homicide cop who is dealing with custody issues from his ex-wife over their twins.

The story opens as Mojo (short for Mary Josephine) is attending the funeral of a little girl who has been killed.  Mojo just happens to be sitting next to the little girl no one else can see.  She is a deaf mute, but she is letting Mojo know in no uncertain terms that she wants Mojo to find her killer and she also lets her know it is not her stepfather, the man the police have in custody.  The dead girl, Gillian, was friends with Tucker’s twins Daisy and David, so Tucker and his ex are also at the funeral.  Murders and ghosts start piling up.  Another young boy comes to Mojo for help – he was killed in a drive-by shooting and his mom won’t let him go. But the primary story follows Mojo as she tries to help her sister Greer when Greer’s estranged husband shows up dead in the desert and his ghost tells Mojo that Greer did not kill him, but will be framed for the murder.

There is a lot to this tale.  Mojo was raised by a foster mother, who also took in Greer (who has a sketchy past that she has kept from her adopted sisters) and Jolie, who now has a career in the crime labs.  I think this book will stand alone, but I know that if you have read Deadly Gamble, you will fall in love all over again with Mojo.  She is pert, funny, funky, endearing, silly, exasperating and lovable all in one.  She is brave, chicken and cynical to the point of hilarity.  Mojo is just like her name.

Tucker is much better developed in this tale and their relationship, while still a bit bumpy, is moving along.  The sexual tension and relief scenes are hot and endearing.  Tucker, you see, believes in Mojo, sometimes more than she believes in her own skills.  He also loves her and that comes shining through, much more than the previous book.  The romance here is as well developed as the suspense and the mystery.

The mystery is pretty well written this time and keeps the reader guessing.  While I had one of the villains pegged, the other was more elusive.  It was actually well done of Miller to provide us with more than one murder mystery along with the other little side stories thanks to all the dead bodies. Because of this paranormal aspect, there is definitely a twist or two that traditionally written romantic suspense stories don’t have.  But this does add to the fun.

Deadly Deceptions is better than Deadly Gamble in most ways.  But it is still just a tad off on the pacing and some of the outcomes are a bit farfetched to be a five-heart keeper.  Yet I highly recommend this zany, fun and energetic murder/mystery/romantic suspense/ paranormal story.  Miller has delivered again and Mojo is fast becoming a favorite of mine with Tucker close behind.

--Shirley Lyons


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