Deceit    -     By: Brandilyn Collins
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Zondervan / 2010 / Paperback

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Product Description

Joanne Weeks knows that Baxter Jackson killed his wife seven years ago---but the church elder still walks the streets a free man. Drawing on her investigative skills, Joanne is determined to bring Jackson to justice. Can she track down the only person who can put him behind bars---a woman who disappeared after the murder? 352 pages, softcover from Zondervan.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 352
Vendor: Zondervan
Publication Date: 2010
Dimensions: 8.50 X 5.50 (inches)
ISBN: 0310276446
ISBN-13: 9780310276449
Availability: In Stock

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Publisher's Description

Sometimes the truth hides where no one expects to find it. Joanne Weeks knows Baxter Jackson killed Linda—his second wife and Joanne’s best friend—six years ago. But Baxter, a church elder and beloved member of the town, walks the streets a free man. The police tell Joanne to leave well enough alone, but she is determined to bring him down. Using her skills as a professional skip tracer, she sets out to locate the only person who may be able to put Baxter behind bars. Melissa Harkoff was a traumatized sixteen-year-old foster child in the Jackson household when Linda disappeared. At the time Melissa claimed to know nothing of Linda's whereabouts—but was she lying? In relentless style, Deceit careens between Joanne's pursuit of the truth— which puts her own life in danger—and the events of six years' past, when Melissa came to live with the Jacksons. What really happened in that household? Beneath the veneer of perfection lies a story of shakeable faith, choices, and the lure of deceit.

Author Bio

Brandilyn Collins, known for her trademark Seatbelt Suspense™, is the bestselling author of Violet Dawn, Coral Moon, Crimson Eve, Eyes of Elisha, and other novels. She and her family live in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Visit her website at and her blog at

Deceit, a mystery by Brandilyn Collins, attacks dishonesty to reveal truth about friendship and love. As a missing persons detective, Joanne Weeks is required to lie to reveal truth, but as a Christian she is required to love. These obligations divide Joanne between helping others through lying and loving the liars.

Deceit carries two stories. As Joanne meets new people in one chapter, we learn about these people's past in the next chapter. We want to shout warnings to Joanne that the people she is trusting are dishonest because we have seen their true character.

Joanne has never accepted the death of Linda Jackson as a mere accident. Her best friend was murdered, but the only suspect is the town's philanthropist and Linda's religious husband. This tangled network of suspicion leads Joanne’s search for the couple’s lost foster daughter and the murder’s witness, Melissa. However, Melissa's past action puts this young woman’s integrity into question.

Joanne Weeks has the stuff of a plucky woman. Even after her husband passes away, she has continued to enjoy her work and life. Unfortunately, whereas Joanne’s character comes vividly to life, the secondary characters never leave the page. Shallow relationships leave the readers wading in waters in which they would prefer to swim.

Women will find Deceit as satisfying as a glass of water – its Christian flavor may be tasteless, but its plot is refreshing. Clever construction seasoned with intense scenes and a dash of romance makes Deceit a truly good overall story. – Micah M. Hancock,

Editorial Reviews

Jul 2010. 320 p. Zondervan, paperback, $14.99. (9780310276449). Six years ago Joanne Weeks’ best friend mysteriously disappeared, later to be declared dead. Her husband, a bigwig in the California town of Vonita, remarried, and now his second wife has died in an unlikely accident. Joanne, a skip tracer by trade, is convinced that Baxter Jackson murdered both his wives, maybe to collect on the insurance, maybe for other reasons. One thing she’s sure of: if she intends to prove the man is a murderer, she’ll need to find someone who saw something important, six years ago. The author is known for fiction that blends mystery with Christian themes (and for not hitting the reader over the head with the latter: it’s there, but it’s subtle). Here her primary focus is the mystery, and it's is solidly constructed. Joanne is a strong and immediately likable protagonist, and the book’s ending leaves plenty of room for a sequel, which wouldn’t be a bad idea at all.
Fans of Collins and her trademarked 'Seatbelt Suspense' will find her usual blend of good storytelling and notable mystery in this standalone tale of murder and suspicion wrapped in a cloak of deceit. Joanne Weeks is a skip tracer---someone who looks for deadbeats, a profession worth reading the book to learn more about---and knows that Baxter Jackson killed his wife, who was Joanne's best friend. The investigation stalls until Jackson's second wife turns up dead and frightening events begin to unfold in Joanne's life. Who is the man who jumps in front of her car on a rainy night? Why is he urging her to find Melissa Harkoff, a foster child long gone from the scene? Did someone break into Joanne's home? What does the Jacksons' foster daughter know about Linda Jackson's murder? Collins provides an enticing read while posing tough questions about truth and lies, power and control, faith and forgiveness. This will cause readers to look for the deceit in their own lives, and give them a fine summer read. (June)

Product Reviews

4.6 Stars Out Of 5
4.6 out of 5
4.6 out Of 5
(4.6 out of 5)
4.6 out Of 5
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Meets Expectations:
4.6 out Of 5
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  1. Detroit, MI
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Deceit Indeed
    November 26, 2012
    Detroit, MI
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Wow, this book was definitely a page turner. Brandilyn never lies when she tells us to buckle our seatbelts before reading her novels. Great, great read!
  2. Georgia
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: female
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    Enjoyed this book!
    January 26, 2012
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: female
    Quality: 4
    Value: 4
    Meets Expectations: 5
    This book was a free ebook, which is why I started reading it. I kept reading it, though, because it was a very interesting thriller that kept my attention. It was a little scary if you aren't used to reading thrillers. It kept me guessing for most of the book, which was fun.
  3. Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Another hit
    August 10, 2011
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    I love Brandilyn Collins. Another thriller. Well done!
  4. Mesa, AZ
    Age: Over 65
    Gender: female
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    This was an excellent read.
    March 7, 2011
    Mesa, AZ
    Age: Over 65
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 4
    Brandilyn has done it again. This was a suspenseful read with a surprise twist at the end. I found it difficult to put aside.
  5. 5 Stars Out Of 5
    Loved it!
    January 27, 2011
    Cindy Loven
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Joanne Weeks is a a skiptracer. Hunting down folks who have skipped bail, but this time, she has a big fish in her sights. And it is not a skipper, it is a well respected business man, Baxter Johnson, in her town. She is sure that he has killed both of his wives, his first wife, Linda being her best friend. However her accusations to the police chief are overheard and make the front page of the local newspaper, needless to say the heat is up now.

    During a storm someone jumps out in front of her vehicle, warning her that she needs to find Melissa Harkoff, the sixteen year old foster child of Baxter and Linda, at the time of Linda's death. Joanne starts on a course of trying to find the now twenty two year old Melissa.

    A wild night after she finally finds Melissa, convinces Joanne that she is in eminent danger. In fact she is pretty sure the guy trying to kill Melissa is also trying to kill her. She knows that Baxter Johnson is behind it all, despite his lousy attempt of doing the "Christian" thing, by bringing the pastor to her house. Joanne is determined that the truth will come out about these deaths! She feels like she owes it to her friend Linda.

    This is the first Brandilyn Collins book that I have read and I loved it. This book was exciting and you were on the edge of your seat wondering what would happen next. I loved the characters and the story, just a great book, that you will not want to miss! 314 pages US $14.99 5 stars

    This book was provided by Christian Bookworm Reviews for review purposes only. No payment was received for this review.
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Author/Artist Review

Author: Brandilyn Collins
Submitted: August 05, 2010

    Tell us a little about yourself.  I'm known for writing my trademarked Seatbelt Suspense®--stories that are fast-paced from page one, feature three-dimensional characters, are full of twists, and include a faith thread woven naturally into the story. DECEIT is my 21st book.

    What was your motivation behind this project?  Skip tracing as a choice of career fascinated me and provided a natural means for my protagonist to get herself into trouble. When I started plotting, besides the skip tracing skills I knew only a few things about my protagonist, Joanne Weeks: she loves Jelly Belly jelly beans (no, they're not a favorite of mine), and she has one of those crazy Billy Bass singing fishes hanging on her wall. Hm, I thought, those are some interesting quirks. Just who IS this character ...?

    What do you hope folks will gain from this project?  Bottom line, DECEIT is about deceit. Lying is something that is part of so many people's lives--from the big deceptions to the "little white lies." Is God ever okay with any kind of lie? And what deceit might reside in each of us--deceit we've managed to learn to live with and not think much about?

    How were you personally impacted by working on this project?  As I hope my readers do, I took a look at deceit in my own life. Did it play any part--and if so, what was I going to do about it?

    Anything else you'd like readers / listeners to know:  DECEIT is a present/past story. The current story features Joanne on her quest to prove Baxter Jackson, the most respected man in town, killed his wife. The past story from six years ago slowly unfolds the story of Melissa, the foster child who came to live in the Jackson household two months before Linda Jackson's disappearance. As Melissa's story unfolds it sheds light on Joanne's current pursuit, with the two stories culminating at the crisis/climax of the book. I like this kind of story. There's a lot of action and tension, but these are fueled by character motivation. In the end, good suspense is not just about action. Suspense starts with the heart.

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