Description (From Amazon):
“Break up with Chase Dexter, or I’ll kill him.” Holly Anna Paladin never expected such a gut-wrenching ultimatum. But the man threatening her makes it clear he’s dead serious. With home invasions, hidden cameras, and bombs threats, Holly must make some serious choices. Whatever Holly decides, the consequences will either break her heart or break her soul. She tries to match wits with the masked man, but he’s always a step ahead of her. The more she fights, the deeper she’s drawn into the perilous situation. Dealing with the ultimatum, her sister’s wedding problems, and riots that have broken out in the city, Holly’s nearly at her breaking point. She must discover the identity of this mystery man before someone she loves dies. But the deceit is threatening to pull her under . . . six feet under.
Random Acts of Deceit is the second book in the Holly Anna Paladin’s series. The first book is entitled Random Acts of Murder. I enjoyed following Holly around in the first book. It wasn’t’ the first time fans of Holly met her; she actually made an appearance in one of Barritt’s other book, Mucky Streak. Barritt does a good job at creating action that grips the hard-core mystery fans with realistic characters, and a formulaic who done it mystery.
The writing is spot on. The dialogue hustles the action along while deepening the story with the prose showing the internal struggles and thoughts of Holly. All of Christy Barritt’s books, besides the Love Inspired Suspense books, are written in the first person point of view, so I develop quite a relationship with each character as the series progress. The dialogue and prose make me feel like I’m listening to a close friend who is spilling their deepest, darkest secrets. One problem I did have was that all of Barritt’s first-person characters are starting to sound like the same person. Yes, they have different personalities and are solving different crimes, but for some reason, in this book, Holly didn’t sound any different than Gabby St. Clair from her Squeaky Clean Mysteries. Not that this affecting my enjoyment of the book. I really liked the mystery.
The pace of the novel is just right for a cozy mystery. There is incident after incident, all threatening Holly and giving her no choice but no comply with the Shadow Man, as Holly nicknamed the man who is ruining her life.
I really enjoy returning to familiar characters like Holly and Chase. That is what is so great about Barritt’s writing, besides her ability to create a new page-turning mystery with every book, I really like following the same characters around and watch their lives change and grow. In Random Acts of Deceit, Holly has moved in with her mother and has a good relationship with Chase. Holly is strong, loves her family, and is willing to follow her heart, even when others tell her not to. On the other hand, Chase, her boyfriend, is a good detective who wears his heart on his sleeve for Holly. He isn’t afraid to get to the bottom of a case or his relationship with Holly. I think Barritt’s greatest character strength is creating heroes I truly enjoy.
The conflict stems from threats from Shadow Man and how he affects Holly’s life. He sneaks into her mother’s house on a number of different occasions, demanding Holly to do things that cause her to struggle internally. To be relevant for today, Barritt includes the riots that have happened in the news to occur in the small town where Holly lives and works. While the external conflict affects her outwardly, the romantic tension the Shadow Man makes her create between her and Chase rips her apart. Holly really likes Chase, but in order to save everyone in her family, including Chase, she must do what the Shadow Man requested.
This is an original and unpredictable cozy mystery that I couldn’t wait to turn the pages to find out who the bad guy was. There is no questionable content, so anyone could read Barritt’s books. Fans of Barritt’s other books will really enjoy returning to familiar characters in a familiar setting. I couldn’t figure out who the bad guy was. She threw me for a loop.
Always thrilling, Christy Barritt does it again with Random Acts of Deceit. The mystery is thrown in with incident after incident for Holly’s life. I enjoy returning to recognizable characters in a well-known setting. I can’t wait to read the next book in this series or any book that Christy Barritt writes.
I received a complimentary copy of Random Acts of Deceit from Christy Barritt and the opinions stated are all my own.
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars (Very Good)