Book Review: Kelley Armstrong’s Deceptions

Posted September 22, 2015 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Kelley Armstrong’s Deceptions



Kelley Armstrong

urban fantasy in Hardcover edition that was published by Dutton on August 18, 2015 and has 455 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

Other books by this author which I have reviewed include Dates from Hell, Made to Be Broken, Aftertaste, Kisses from Hell, Enthralled: Paranormal Diversions, Visions, The Masked Truth, City of the Lost, Empire of Night, Forest of Ruin, Betrayals, A Darkness Absolute, Indigo, Rituals, The Unquiet Past

Third in the Cainsville urban fantasy series set in Chicago and revolving around Olivia Taylor-Jones, Ricky Gallagher, and Gabriel Walsh.

My Take

Oh, boy, there are answers in Deceptions, giving us some satisfaction about the past, clarifying the roles our threesome are intended to play. Yet, there are still more revelations that lead to yet more questions, but at least those questions are going forward.

One answer is about Chandler and why he is not at all eager to get out of jail. Another clue in the pot about these past crimes, especially when Armstrong makes it sound as if Chandler had killed four people?

There are a number of firsts in Deceptions… Liv finally gets to meet with her birth father, Todd; the why and truth of the killings; Gabriel learning of Gwynn ap Nudd; Tristan’s goals; what the visions are; James’ reasons for pursuing Liv; and, another step forward in why the different fae groups are after Liv.

There is a lot of subtle infighting over Olivia: Don is still testing Ricky’s resolve to stand for the club and pushes too far on one occasion, and Gabe is blowing hot and cold on keeping Ricky informed while keeping him away (or not) from Olivia. The guy is so conflicted! Aunt Rose has her own issues as well, for she sees that Ricky is good for Olivia, Olivia likes him, and Gabriel needs someone like Olivia, and he’s attracted to her, who has Ricky.

Poor Gabe wants Olivia, and he has no idea. None. And I really, really appreciate that Armstrong makes this clear; she also opens Gabriel up into admitting that he doesn’t know the proper responses that most people have. He’s so careful, so terrified that he’ll try something, want something, and have it taken away. Both Gabe and Ricky want to do what’s right; Gabe is more fearful in this while Ricky is vulnerable in his own breezy way. They both want her for their own, and yet Gabe “knows” he wouldn’t be right, an excellent example — and a great twist — of the I’m-not-good-enough trope. Ricky simply loves her, always thinking about what’s best for Olivia whether it’ll help him or not. Nor does he want to interfere with her relationship with Gabriel. It’s Gabriel’s want and fear with how wonderful Ricky is that makes for great romantic tension and is one of the many reasons I need to keep reading Cainsville.

LOL. Ricky cracked me up with that field trip he insisted TC come on. How can you NOT adore Ricky? He’s so mature, thoughtful, funny…being gorgeous helps *grin*. And then you think of Gabriel, and how honorable he is as well. Of that horrible childhood Patrick condemned him to, and you want him to be happy too.

Olivia’s visions increase in number, flipping her into her own past lives, health histories. She gets exposed to other worlds, ahem, including Ricky’s clubhouse, lol. Where women are meant to be seen but not heard. It’ll open yet another world for Ricky and Olivia.

Morgan is whacked. You will not believe the stunts he pulls, trying to get Olivia back. It makes what happens to him all the sadder, especially when the truth all comes out.

I do like Armstrong’s statement that demons do not exist. Good and bad fae do not exist. What does exist is good and bad in any group. This makes a LOT more sense than demons lurking around a corner. Armstrong uses Patrick to tell us that we “look for ways to explain evil, and instead of seeing it in yourselves, you offload the responsibility onto monsters.” Yep, sounds like what I’d prefer to think!

The whole fate concept finally gets explained — the reason why both sides are battling to join Olivia with their “chosen prince”, and I am dying of curiosity as to how Armstrong is going to solve this.

I gotta sympathize with the Huntsman on why he won’t give Liv the answers she wants. He’s absolutely right, and I suspect I’d be as untrusting as Liv.

And Liv finally has to tell Gabe about Matilda, Gwynn, and Arawn.

It’s a busy, busy story with lots of characters. It’s also difficult to put down, partially because that means we’ll have to wait for Betrayals coming in August 2016! I hate that…!

The Story

Olivia Taylor-Jones’ visions continue to haunt her: particularly a little blonde girl in a green sundress who insists she has an important message for Olivia, one that may help her balance the light and darkness within herself.

Now if Olivia can survive her ex-fiancé stalker and those fae who don’t want her to succeed. If she can pull the truth from her imprisoned mother. If, if, if while death stalks both Olivia and the two men most important to her, as she desperately searches to understand whether ancient scripts are dictating the triangle that connects them.

The Characters

Olivia Taylor-Jones, a.k.a., Eden Larsen and the Queen of Swords, is the adopted (arranged by the fae) daughter of Lena Taylor and heiress to a department store fortune. Pamela Bowen Larsen and Todd Larsen are her birth parents and imprisoned for life for multiple murders.

Ricky Gallagher, the Knight of Wands evolving into the King of Wands, is studying for an MBA at the University of Chicago so he’ll be a better leader for Satan’s Saints. He, Olivia, and Gabe all have a sprinkling of fairy genes and are believed to be a reincarnation of Arawn, Lord of the Otherworld and Leader of the Wild Hunt, dark; Matilda the Crone is Mallt-y-nos, the Night Hag who is both Light and Dark; and, Gwynn ap Nudd of the light Tylwyth Teg.

Satan’s Saints are…
…a motorcycle club led by Don Gallagher, Ricky’s dad. Wallace is a sergeant-at-arms for the club, Don’s right-hand man, and his enforcer. He and CJ frequently act as bodyguards for Ricky. Lily is a nineteen-year-old with a yen for Ricky. Meribeth is Lily’s mother. Beau is a prospect who had hooked up with Lily, and I’d say he egged her on.

Gabriel Walsh, the King of Pentacles, is Chicago’s most notorious defense attorney. Pamela Larsen hired him to get her a new trial. Olivia considers him a friend, wants to love him, and works for his legal office. He’s retained by Satan’s Saints as their lawyer. Lydia is Gabriel’s office assistant and a marvel. She was also an executive assistant for the CIA’s Chicago field office, a mom with two kids, three grandchildren, and in a long-distance dating relationship. Go, Lydia! Aunt Rose Walsh Razvan reads the cards, sees the future, and cares very much for her nephew.

The drug-addicted Seanna Walsh was Gabe’s horrible mother. Doug had been one of his mother’s friends who taught Gabe a lesson. Patrick is Gabe’s true father. It’s his childhood that explains Gabe’s obsession with protecting himself. With his need to hoard.

James Morgan is Olivia’s ex-fiancée, obsessed with getting her back, or at least away from Gabriel. Maura is his nutjob of a mother.

Cainsville is…
…an enclave the Tylwyth Teg, Welsh fae, have created and protected from the outside world. The elders rule it, among them are Ida and Walter Clark. They desperately want Olivia to mate with Gabriel. They sometimes send owls to watch over Liv. Grace is Liv’s landlord and a bogart. TC is Liv’s cat who’s living with Rose.

Patrick is an elder and a bòcan, a hobgoblin. Think Puck. The Carew house, Olivia’s ancestors’ home, is owned by Cainsville. Glenys Carew was Liv’s great-great-grandmother. Isolde Carew was born in 1901 and died in 1970. Grandma Jean, a.k.a., Daere Jean Carew, had been Pamela’s mother. John Bowen had been Pams’ father.

The Cŵn Annwn is…
…the Wild Hunt, vigilantes who exact justice where the human world cannot, for those who commit crimes against those from the Old World. They want Olivia with Ricky. They send ravens to watch Liv.

A dökkálfar, a dark elf, is targeting Ricky with the help of wights, the disir.

Jon Childs is supposed to be a self-employed equities trader. Tristan is the man, the spriggan, Chandler wants “removed” in exchange for information. Alis is Tristan’s glamoured neighbor. Macy Shaw died in Visions, 2, after betraying Tristan. Ransom is one of the prison guards *nudge, nudge, wink, wink* The blonde girl in the Mary Janes from Olivia’s visions is her: Matilda, Eden, Olivia…

The Lost Rebels are a motorcycle gang that wants some Saints territory.

Villa Tuscana is…
…an estate built by Nathaniel Mills for his wife, Letitia Roosevelt. Only he massacred fae to do it, and they retaliated the night of the ball. Nathaniel is a distant cousin of James’. Campbell was the foreman back then. Napier was the hunter.

Detective Chris Pemberton had investigated the Valentine Killers, the Larsens. He’s retired now. Dr. Escoda is the daughter of Olivia’s original pediatrician.

The people who were murdered include Jan Gunderson, Peter’s fiancée; Peter Evans, the son of Dr. William Evans; and, Josh Gray, Peter’s friend. There are others, but I never thought to track them in the first book, so I’m confused at this point. Then Armstrong tosses in Imogene Seale‘s testimony about Marty and Lisa Tyson (who looked similar enough to the Larsens from a distance for a witness to think it was them) killing Amanda Mays and Ken Perkins, the first victims. That the Tysons invented the “ritual” they used to murder and that was supposedly used by the Larsens. That the Tysons and Stacey Pasolini and Eddie Hilton were chosen for the Larsens to execute for them. Nor can you ignore what has come up with Edgar Chandler‘s arrest. A psychologist who ran a top-secret CIA experiment in the 1960s on mind control, MKULTRA, who was Dr. William Evans‘ supervisor.

The Cover and Title

The cover has an Escher-like feel with the cast iron pale green staircase against a pale, yet warm, yellow wall that reflects itself as well as the Olivias moving fast across the middle band of black with the author’s name. The title is smaller with the series information just below it…and mirrored as well.

The title is the Deceptions all around Liv, Gabriel, and Ricky.