Deed to Death: A Novel by D. B. Henson (Touchstone; $14.00; 288 pages)
“Shame on your greed, shame on your wicked schemes…” Bob Dylan, “Thunder on the Mountain”
D. B. Henson’s Deed to Death is action-packed from start to finish. It opens with the death of Scott Chadwick, a real estate developer, who is on the cusp of his wedding to Toni Matthews, a real estate agent. When authorities rule the death a suicide, Toni takes matters into her own hands, challenging contemporary wisdom, and – before it’s all over – seemingly half the world.
If Toni were a cat, a sequel would not be possible (as all of her nine lives were used up in this tale). Good guys become bad guys, and, in some cases, morph back into good guys at the drop of a hat, forcing the damsel in distress to conjure disguises, secret plans, and take dangerous chances to vindicate her lover’s death. Forget putting her life back together. Survival becomes the name of the game.
Surprises come even more frequently in the final third of the book in the form of gunshots, kidnappings, and great escapes until, finally, the story concludes with the “real” good guys coming out on top.
The final, final ending is a bit contrived and probably unnecessary. It doesn’t seem to make much sense in light of the fact that the reader doesn’t gain much insight into the characters, subplots, and subtleties because that’s not really the point of this particular novel. Nonetheless, for what the novel sets out to do – to tell a suspense thriller the likes of which one might see on TV’s Lifetime or USA, it succeeds.
A review copy was received from the publisher. “…good fun. Exquisite plotting, stunning twists and a heroine you can’t stop rooting for make Deed to Death a fascinating debut.” Allison Leotta, author of Law of Attraction.