A Jemimah Hodge Mystery by Marie Romero Cash
Review: An accident that took the life of Rose Ilfeld, the wife of a police officer, a case long closed, is re-opened years later after the dead woman's parents finally convince someone in authority that the circumstances surrounding their daughter's death are at the very least suspicious in Deadly Deception, the second "Jemimah Hodge" mystery by Marie Romero Cash.
Jemimah Hodge, a Santa Fe-based forensic psychologist who has been in Washington DC for the past six months attending an intensive training course, is assigned to the case. She enlists the assistance of Rick Romero of the Sheriff's Office, a man with whom she had a personal relationship but now isn't so sure she wants to continue it. It makes for an awkward pairing, but she knows Rick will be objective in looking at the facts, especially since the accident — if indeed it was one — involved a police officer. Jemimah agrees that there are a number of unusual elements to the case, things that should have been investigated more thoroughly at the time, and begins to suspect that there was a cover-up. But who all was involved … and more importantly, why?
The preface to Deadly Deception describes the "accident", who was involved, and the fact that it was murder, plain and simple. The only potential unknown is why, though it's pretty clear early on — given the reader knows everything else — why the parties involved conspired to kill Rose Ilfeld. Knowing the who, how, and why in the first few pages isn't necessarily a problem for a mystery, but lacking a whodunit, howdunit, or whydunit there really isn't much else here to hold the reader's attention. The characters are well drawn, and there aren't all that many of them. Still, too much time is spent on them, individually and collectively, with the narrative skipping from one character's perspective to another, the first half of the book merely setting up the interpersonal relationships, complete with extensive character backstories and sidetrips into why someone feels the way they do about their job, their life, their colleagues, and so on. The police procedural aspect begins in earnest at about the mid-point, but doesn't seem to be an important part of the book as a whole and never really gains much traction. Deadly Deception is a relatively short, fast reading novel, but one without much substance.
Acknowledgment: Camel Press provided a copy of Deadly Deception for this review.
Review Copyright © 2012 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Location(s) referenced in Deadly Deception: Santa Fe, New Mexico
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Deadly Deception by Marie Romero Cash — A Jemimah Hodge Mystery
Publisher: Camel Press
Format: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: November 2012
List Price: $12.95