Lauren Maddison's ambitious debut novel will more than satisfy fans of the emergent lesbian mystery genre. She offers an intricate and absorbing plot, and the excitement of a new heroine, Connor Hawthorne, a successful mystery novelist and former district attorney who owes something to Patricia Cornwell's Kay Scarpetta--and possibly to the glamorous Cornwell herself. The lesser characters in Deception tend to be overwritten (her Jews offer food and wisdom, her rich people can't take a step without crushing an oriental rug underfoot), but the story is rich and suspenseful enough to distract the reader from these minor flaws. In fact, the conventional elements of the plot--a secret, a break-in, a bomb blast, a friendship, a romance, a car chase through the Arizona desert--carry us further than the ancient magic that helps Connor flee from her pursuers and, with the help of others, solve the murder of her ex-lover Arianna.
This was a good formulaic lesbian mystery...good writing, decent plot and characters...for the first 90% of the book. Then it went careening off into the loony. After a suspenseful nighttime chase through the desert, our heroines and our story veer into some sort of metaphysical land of cliches, where stupid dialogue goes to die.
If Maddison were smart, she would have killed off all her characters in the desert and spared them all the indignity of the final chapters. Oh...and added more sex.