Mountain of Deception


Tessa Cooper is on sabbatical, hiding away in a quaint mountain town to write a novel and heal after the death of her husband. Soon after her arrival, she meets her neighbors - including the gorgeous Silas Newberry who moonlights as the town's handyman. Determined to focus on her craft, she struggles to keep her mind from drifting to the attractive man in her backyard. Soon, however, she has surrendered to her curiosity and moved quickly into a relationship with Silas. While she is happy about their budding connection, she discovers that not everyone feels the same.  Her new boyfriend has many secrets. With a couple of shady co-workers, a questionable career path for Silas, and danger lurking behind every woodsy corner, Tessa wonders if she was deceived by the one who matters most.

The novel's interesting premise laid a unique backdrop for the plot - illegal animal poaching alive and well in a sleepy American town. The undercurrent of secrecy upped the suspenseful tone of the novel from beginning to end; however, the lengthy build-up of plot twists slowed the pacing of the story, leaving most of the action at the tail end of the story with the mystery's reveal happening at lightning speed. The author created a likable female lead that one quickly rooted for; however, for as dynamic as Tessa was, Silas was almost the opposite. Readers will suspect straightaway that he is hiding something, and might be able to anticipate his movements and motivations. Minor flaws aside, romantic suspense readers will enjoy this unique read.

Amy Willis