4 out of 5 stars
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Following the fourth killing by a serial killer at large in which Paul Gibran, the ten-year-old grandson of the Providence mafia boss, Frank Gibran, was the victim, Martin "Marty" Sacco, a retired police chief, would find himself in the thick of things, as Frank begged him to take up the case. As Marty proceeds with solving this mystery, there are key differences between Paul's murder and the other victims. Could this case be the handwork of the serial killer, or is one of Frank's numerous enemies taking advantage of the situation to come for his family? The plot thickens while leads continuously produce dead ends, but in the process, past family and international secrets are uncovered, placing everyone involved in great danger.
Deceived: Murdered Innocence is a riveting crime thriller by Jean Porro. The book is well-written and expertly crafted, and from the summary, readers can already guess that there will be plenty of twists and turns to keep them engaged throughout. Porro does an excellent job of creating a sense of tension and urgency throughout the story while the investigation into Paul's murder unfolds.
At the same time, Marty is also working as the head of the Norwood dead files division on a case that involves the murder of Susan Hall twenty years ago. One feature of the book I thoroughly enjoyed was that the nitty-gritty of good, old-fashioned detective work was involved here, including talking to witnesses and the tedious research that goes into solving these kinds of crimes. Sometimes this can slow down the pace of the story, but I liked how the author carried me along throughout the investigation as well as the excitement of uncovering something new after several dead ends.
One of the most impressive aspects of Deceived: Murdered Innocence is how Porro handles the subject matter. The book deals with some dark and disturbing themes, including murder, sexual assault, physical assault, and child abuse. However, Porro manages to handle these topics with sensitivity and tact without ever resorting to gratuitous or exploitative scenes. Instead, she focuses on the emotional impact of these events on the characters, addressing the negative sides of reopening old wounds for families and the loss families feel after the death of a loved one, which makes the story all the more powerful. Marty himself had suffered the loss of his wife, Connie, to cancer as well, and while he couldn't "arrest cancer" for it, I liked how he channeled that loss to help people find closure.
Another strength of the book is the way in which Porro portrays the legal system. The investigations are depicted in detail, highlighting both the strengths and weaknesses of the justice system. Porro shows the ways in which the police and the courts can sometimes fail to deliver justice, especially when people on trial have family members in the system. She also illustrates the dedication and hard work of those like Marty and his partner, James "Jim" Taylor, who are committed to finding the truth.
The book also seemed professionally edited as well. However, I had an issue with the fact that names were mixed up at times, mixing Deidra, Frank's daughter, up with Famira, his daughter-in-law, who died in a plane crash, and Girard for Gerard. Otherwise, I did not find any other aspect of the book I did not like.
Overall, Deceived: Murdered Innocence is a gripping and emotionally charged crime thriller. I rate the book four out of five since the issue I discussed means that it isn't perfect. However, Porro's skillful writing and attention to detail make for a compelling read, and the complex characters and themes will stay with the reader long after they have finished the book. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a well-crafted mystery novel.
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