Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Review: "Formula of Deception" by Carrie Stuart Parks

I used to love reading thrillers; Mary Higgins Clark was a favorite of mine as a teen, and in more recent years I've enjoyed books by Ted Dekker, Lis Wiehl, and Creston Mapes. But somewhere along the way, I got tired of thrillers. They're often dark, and I don't particularly like feeling tense while I'm reading. So I transitioned into romantic suspense—usually heavier on the romance, lighter on the suspense—with novels by Dani Pettrey, Terri Blackstock, and Lynette Eason.

Then I started hearing about Carrie Stuart Parks. Formula of Deception didn't sound like romantic suspense to me, but it did sound interesting, so I decided to give it a shot. I'm very glad I did!

An artist hiding from an escaped killer uncovers one of World War II’s most dangerous secrets—a secret that desperate men will do anything to keep hidden.

After the murder of her twin sister, Murphy Anderson changed her name and appearance and moved to Kodiak, Alaska, to avoid the press and publicity. But when local authorities discover she’s an artist and request her help in drawing a dying man’s memories, she unintentionally ends up in the limelight again—and back in the killer’s crosshairs.

The deathbed confessions of an Alaskan hunter have Murphy drawing the five bodies he discovered on remote Ruuwaq Island ten years ago. But what investigators find has them mystified. Evidence suggests that the bodies were deliberately destroyed, and what they uncover in an abandoned Quonset hut from World War II only brings more questions.

As one by one the investigators who were at the hut die, Murphy knows there is something much darker at stake. What happened on this island during the war? And who is willing to kill to keep its secrets buried?

Formula of Deception
is a gripping psychological thriller. From the opening lines, I was drawn into this story of a woman helping the police investigate mysterious deaths on a nearby island while also trying to evade a killer.

This is a twisty, "what just happened?" kind of suspense novel, and it's a thoroughly enjoyable read! I did sometimes struggle to keep all the characters straight, and a typo in the family tree at the beginning of the novel caused me a bit of confusion (if you read the book [and you're a detail person like me], it's important to note that Paul Stewart died in 1946, not 1941)—but really, I was having so much fun reading that I didn't mind too much.

Due to the nature of the book, I still had quite a few questions when I closed the last page (which I won't talk about here because spoilers); some of the reveals at the end seemed more believable than others, and, while there's a hint of romance in the book, I kind of wish it had been left out altogether. (And yes, that romance does factor into some of my questions.)

Overall, I really enjoyed the novel. I loved it while I was reading it; the questions came as I contemplated it after I finished reading. I desperately need one of my friends to read it so we can discuss with no fear of spoilers! 3-1/2 stars.

Follow the blog tour.
Buy the book: Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble | iBooks

Carrie Stuart Parks is an ECPA Christy Award and multiple ACFW Carol and Inspy Award–winning author. An internationally known forensic artist, Carrie draws on her extensive experience with actual criminal investigations to write authentic, true-to-life fictional suspense. Carrie lives in Idaho and travels with her husband, Rick, across the US and Canada, teaching courses in forensic art to law enforcement professionals. She has won numerous awards for her fine art and is the author/illustrator of numerous books on drawing and painting. 

Connect with Carrie: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through TLC Book Tours. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."


  1. Thanks for being on the tour!
    - Heather J @ TLC Book Tours

    1. Thanks for having me, Heather! I really enjoyed it!

  2. I read and LOVED this book! Have you read her Gwen Marcey series? I reviewed the first book for a review journal and had never heard of Carrie Stuart Parks before that time. After completing my review, I continued reading the series and thoroughly enjoyed it. I quickly became a fan of this new-to-me author!

    1. I haven't read the Gwen Marcey series, but I keep hearing how amazing they are, so I think I need to add them to my TBR. Thanks for stopping by!


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