Title: A Bundle of Deceit
Author: Stacey Watts
Author Site: www.staceywatts.com
It was a string of bad luck and unfortunate circumstances that led Lucy Jennings to show interest in the two grandmothers that sat across from her desk. Six months ago Lucy discovered her boyfriend in bed with her best friend, and promptly decided that a major lifestyle change was in order. She dumped her steady job as a Police Officer, and opened up her own Private Investigation Agency.
The only thing the ladies could offer her was $250 and a letter from The Wishful Hearts Adoption Agency. The elderly ladies seemed to think the Agency had something to do with their grandson and his family’s sudden disappearance, and Lucy knew a couple of phone calls would clear up the matter quite nicely.
A simple visit to Wishful Hearts, however, turns this minor blurb in the newspaper to front page headlines and the office manager, Duncan Michels, turns her world upside down with his stunning good looks and flirty behavior.
Thrust into a scandal that sees the death of a key witness and blackmail in the highest parts of city government, Lucy must protect a young family and a man she would prefer not to fall head over heels in love with A Bundle of Deceit.
Our actions come from somewhere. They are not the first step but the last. Beneath our actions is an underlying ground of reasoning. We only act when our minds have come to a decision. Now whether or not our decisions hold any weight depends entirely on the nature of our thoughts. We can even go another step backwards and say that our thoughts are impacted by our emotions. Take this concept into consideration, mix it with desire, deceit, and murder, and you have Watt’s character driven story, A Bundle of Deceit. I had the pleasure of reading this story and I’m excited to share my review, minus any spoilers of course.
Let’s start with the beginning. The opening prologue piqued my interest as I found it to be cleverly written. It gave away some interesting clues about Lucy’s personality. From this point, I fell in love with her character. Lucy’s quick and witty determination makes her a thought-provoking character that I’m sure most readers will love too. I mean what woman hasn’t experienced the struggle to find balance between pride, independence, and dependence? Not to mention, I’m sure men and women alike can relate to Lucy’s job predicament when it comes to leaving a job to start your own business. From the financial woes to second guessing, the struggles she experiences are real. Combine this with a unique male companion (Duncan) connected to her case, a few deaths, and several unanswered questions, what you have is a suspenseful mystery that Lucy and Duncan need to solve for both of their sakes.
In the beginning we know what’s wrong but we don’t know why. However, readers don’t have to worry about the story being boring or typical. The story has an even pace that will keep readers interested in seeing how everything comes to an end. When I reached the middle of the story the crisis had escalated (as a story should by this point) as Lucy and Duncan worked together to solve their mutual predicament. Thanks to a few incidents, both characters were well aware of the seriousness of their dilemma. Lives were at stake. By this point, I was more than committed to the storyline. I was dedicated to seeing the main characters resolve their situation. I was rooting for them and this is a dangerous position for a reader to be in. I had no control over their decisions and let’s face it. Like any character driven story, their emotions impacted their decisions, which further impacted their actions. This in turn pushed the development of the plot. Keep in mind that the tension wasn’t suffocating or complicated. At no point in the story was I lost or confused. The author did a great job of laying out the initial framework for the plot and climax.
I do want to mention that I was surprised by Duncan’s character. Taking into consideration the nature of his job and his response to the conditions he worked in, I expected him to turn out differently. This isn’t to say I didn’t enjoy his character. I just wanted to point out that I had his personality measured differently. This notwithstanding, I liked that Duncan went in a direction that I didn’t predict. This ultimately meant he engaged in actions I didn’t see coming. I love it when I can’t guess where the author is going to take me.
I don’t want to give away the secrets of this story but I will say there is a definite shift in Lucy’s attitude towards the end of the book. I am a huge fan of Lucy’s character and people like her who have the courage to step out and follow their own dreams despite their heavy past and the difficulties they currently face.
However, let’s jump over to the antagonist. I appreciate the way the antagonist’s character unfolded, especially when it came to understanding his/her reasons for their actions. This isn’t to say that I agree with his/her activities but from a reader’s position, it helps knowing that there aren’t any plot holes in the story. We know who’s evil and why. We don’t have to play the guessing game and when it’s all said and done, we don’t feel cheated.
In the beginning of the story the author is making a promise to the readers and posing questions. It’s like an agreement between the author and the readers. In the beginning we get teased a bit as it’s not until we get to the middle that we get to the real mass of the situation at hand. Then we’re left with possibilities as to how it may or may not be resolved. We keep reading to find out which path the characters will take. Will our assumptions be confirmed? Were my assumptions about this story confirmed? More importantly, was my contract with the author fulfilled?
I don’t want to discuss the ending because I want people to read the story for themselves. However, I will say that I am quite satisfied with how the story ended. In my opinion, the promise was met and the questions were answered. The contract between the author and reader was fulfilled.
Rating 5 out of 5 stars
I give A Bundle of Deceit 5 stars because every aspect of the story is enjoyable. I can look back at the overall story and guarantee that readers will appreciate the even pace in which this story unfolds. Also, when it comes to editing the story is perfect. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good suspense novel with light romance. Life has its twists and turns. Lucy’s life took a sharp turn. Nevertheless, her journey’s end was filled with love and a new outlook on life. Readers who decide to take the journey and read this book will receive their reward at the end and a few surprises along the way.
Alice Saunders, Editor
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