Acorn Book Services, November 2012
From the author—
Vic Deveaux’s glory days as a winning jockey have ended, but he refuses to accept that pile of horse hockey! When the West family asks Vic to take an easier position at their horse farm Westwood, he becomes enraged and teams up with two greedy stable hands in a scheme to kidnap the West’s younger son Shane. When Vic discovers that his new-found friends have murder on their minds, things turn ugly. Suddenly, Vic finds himself between the rock and the hard place. . He has betrayed his good friend, Eric West, but will he participate in his son’s murder as well? Not content to sit and wait for her men to bring her brother home, Kate West convinces homicide detective Carl Lugowski to check out a hunch at an old abandoned mansion. Soon, they’re trapped in a hornet’s nest of a notorious biker gang. Oh yeah, Vic’s deception has placed the West family in more danger than they know what to do with!
Dangerous Deception is one of those books that can be just a little annoying and quite entertaining at the same time and that’s not necessarily a bad thing in my opinion. While a few issues were distracting to me, they also made me pay attention and keeping the reader’s attention is one of any author’s goals, isn’t it?
This book is the third in the Unbridled Series and, although reading out of order is usually not an issue with me, it was a bit disconcerting this time just in the beginning of the novel. By the time I finished the brief prologue and the first chapter, my mind was reeling from the many, many characters that were introduced, 17 plus 2 horses if my count is correct. As it turned out, most of them played significant roles in the story so it was important to keep them all straight (along with additional characters who showed up later). I suspect many of them are in the earlier books so this would not be so daunting to readers who started at the beginning but it distracted me enough to keep me out of the story for a while. I did eventually settle in, largely because the author does a nice job with characterization so they all stand out in the crowd, so to speak, but a cast of characters would have been helpful.
Two other issues got a little in the way of my enjoyment of this book. One was the overemphasis on sexual attractions between a variety of couples—I especially found most of the storyline featuring Ava to be unnecessary, kind of annoying and largely getting in the way of the core story. The other was the usage of words and phrases that I’ve never come across before such as “lugged” which was used in connection with a horse pushing another horse against a rail but also in connection with vision as in “lugged his gaze to meet Eric’s”. A third usage of the word had to do with carrying heavy objects and that’s the only use I’m familiar with. Another word used oddly was “molested” as in “his eyes were molested with dark blue smudges of fatigue” but also in “more stony rubble molested him”. I have never encountered either such usage of this word before. I wonder if perhaps the author’s definitions of such words may come from a regional influence.
There were a couple of times when I thought a character’s behavior was puzzling and inconsistent with how real people would react in a similar situation but, on the whole, I found Dangerous Deception to be an enjoyable read. Besides Ms. McDonald‘s ability with character development, she has also crafted a very intense tale, one that was hard to put down. The suspense level would be high, then fall to a touch of calm and then suddenly ratchet right back up again. This author likes multitudes of characters, quite obviously, but she also likes multiple storylines and she makes it work. I found myself weaving in and out amongst a variety of unhealthy situations, frequently with that delicious sense of trepidation and, just when I thought a crisis had been averted, something else would come along to shake things up. If you like mayhem, interesting characters, tense plotlines and spending some time in the world of Thoroughbred horses, you’ll enjoy Dangerous Deception.
Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, December 2012.
Keep reading to find out how you might win a copy of the first book in the series.
For twenty-six years my life whirled around a song and a dance: I was a professional dancer/choreographer for most of my adult life and never gave much thought to a writing career until 2005. Don’t ask me what happened, but suddenly I felt drawn to my computer to write about things I have experienced (greatly exaggerated upon of course) with my husband’s Thoroughbreds and the happenings at the racetrack.
Surprised? Why didn’t I write about my experiences with dance? Eh, believe it or not life at the racetrack is more…racy. The drama is outrageous—not that dancers don’t know how to create drama, believe me, they do but race trackers just seem to get more down and dirty with it which makes great story telling—great fiction.
I didn’t start out writing books, The Unbridled Series started out as a TV drama, and the Hollywood readers loved the show. The problem was we just couldn’t sell it. So one of the readers said to me, “Cindy, don’t be stupid. Turn your scripts into a book series.” and so I did!
In May of 2011 I took the big leap and exchanged my dancin’ shoes for a lap top—I retired from dance. It was a scary proposition, I was terrified, but I had the full support of my husband, Saint Bill. It has been a huge change for me. I went from dancing hard five hours a night to sitting in front of a computer. I still work-out and I take my dog, Harvey, for a daily run. I have to or I’d be as big as a house. Do I miss dance? Sometimes I do. I miss my students. I miss choreographing musicals, but I love my books and I love sharing them with you.
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