Sense of Deception by Victoria Laurie

sense of deceptionSENSE OF DECEPTION

Victoria Laurie

July 7, 2015

As a consultant for the FBI, psychic Abby Cooper has helped convict more than her fair share of criminals. When a series of unfortunate events conspires to land her in a jail cell with Skylar Miller, though, she finds herself desperate to do just the opposite.

Ten years ago, Skylar was given the death penalty for murdering her nine-year-old son. When Abby meets her, she’s two weeks away from her final appeal. If the argument doesn’t go well—and Abby can sense that it won’t—Skylar will be executed. The thing is, Abby’s pretty sure her cell mate is innocent, and her “radar” never steers her wrong. Can Abby and company exonerate Skylar and catch the real killer before the woman pays the ultimate price for a crime she didn’t commit?

Sense of Deception is the thirteenth of Victoria Laurie’s stellar Psychic Eye Mysteries. Each book in this series is better than the last, and Laurie’s latest is no exception. Don’t let the cute cover and cozy branding fool you; this ain’t your mama’s traditional mystery. Laurie may spare her readers the gory details and keep the swearing to a minimum, but this tale is a thriller to its very core—and a smart, fun, wildly original one, at that.

There are several different story lines at play in Sense of Deception, each of them interesting enough to carry the book. Rather than warring with each other for attention, though, they instead work in tandem, scene by scene, to quicken the pace, raise the stakes, and ratchet the tension. The setup is clever, the structure is elegant, and Laurie strikes a perfect balance between humor, action, and heart. Seasoned genre veterans may be able to guess whodunit, but even if they do, they’ll find the mystery no less enjoyable for that knowledge. Sense of Deception’s ending is rock-solid, and the solution Laurie’s crafted satisfies on every level.

Abby has long been one of my favorite series protagonists, and I daresay she’s at her finest in Sense of Deception. She’s still her sweet, goofy, determined self—full of snark and fire—but this book illustrates that in addition to being a psychic, she’s an investigative rock star, to boot. Sure, Abby’s gift comes in handy when she wants to know if a witness or a suspect is telling the truth, but it’s far from a magic bullet. She doesn’t divine what really happened the night Skylar’s son was killed—she solves the case using blood, sweat, tears, and some damn fine detective work. Abby Cooper can break down a crime scene with the best of them, and that’s a rare and admirable trait in an amateur sleuth.

Katrina Niidas Holm