Deceptions of the Heart

Author – Denise Moncrief
Publication Date – October 15, 2012
Number of Pages – 258 pages
Genre – Psychological Mystery
Geographical Setting – Virginia / California

What would you do if one morning you awoke in someone else’s body? Surviving as Jennifer Cristobal isn’t easy for Rhonda Prentiss. Three years ago, a sudden, fatal trauma stripped Rhonda of her middle-class, stay-at-home mom existence. A brand new shock prompts Rhonda’s essence to invade Jennifer’s soul, suppressing the other woman’s memories and replacing them with her own. When Jennifer’s heart transplant surgeon, Dr. Crane, can’t—or won’t—help her understand her unusual body-swapping dilemma, she turns to the only man she can trust. But can she fully trust Jennifer’s husband, Anson? Multiple threats from her past shake her fragile hold on mental stability. If one of her enemies succeeds, he will kill Rhonda’s soul… or Jennifer’s body… or both “. Blurb ~ Amazon.com

I received an electronic copy of this book during a recent free a give away on Amazon. So I took it with me on our family trip to the Wisconsin Dells over the weekend and just finished it last night. This book was so irresistible, I could not put it down. Written from the first person perspective, the crisis is introduced right from the first page. From then on, the reader is anxious to find out exactly how and why Jen woke up in a strange room and in a strange body.

My Take
The author skillfully paints a poignant picture of a protagonist who seems to be tortured by two different personalities while caught in between her past life (as Rhonda?) and her present life (as Jennifer?). The reader painstakingly journeys with Jen as she uncovers layers of disturbing events surrounding her life. Conflicts are introduced through the mind of the protagonist which she immediately responds to creating tension for the reader. And because Jen can be unpredictable sometimes, the reader is uncertain of her next move this tends to heighten suspense. Additionally, dialogues between characters help the story develop, letting the reader evaluate and make their own determinations about the various characters. I see Jen as a woman with fuzzy and muddled mind trying to figure out who she is and not knowing who to trust. I like that Anson’s character – on his introduction, may or may not be trusted. Other secondary characters also develop well over time. Without much memory of the past and with people around her acting hateful and suspicious, the reader is forced to share Jen’s anxiety about her safety. As tension mounts, sometimes one might expect Jen to take a particular action but instead she does the opposite thing keeping the reader anxious and nervous about the outcome.

I have to add, as the story unfolded I kept wondering who exactly she was – a frail, helpless Rhonda that needed saving or a conceited, calculating Jen who deserves no good. Admittedly, on a few occasions I got caught up in the confusion and had to go back to re read some sections. Honestly, this got me thinking soooo much!

I find the theme very fascinating and intriguing. It’s filled with lots of twists and turns. One of the tricky things about this book is, as the reader starts to feel as though they have a sense of a resolution, the author quickly throws in an unexpected dimension which keeps the reader guessing till the end – note that it’s a very short book just 258 pages!

This is indeed a quick and refreshing read. Such complexities and intrigues are uncommon in most Mystery books. I also like that it is a psychological novel with a lot of mind games leading to unraveling of the mystery (think a little bit of Gone Girl by Flynn). I’m surprised this book isn’t getting the popularity it deserves. I commend Monciref’s plotting skills in this novel. If you enjoy thriller and mystery, you would thoroughly love this book – I found this book gripping, utterly suspenseful, intriguing and exhilarating.

About the Author

Denise lives in Louisiana with one husband, two children, and one very chubby canine. Her family not only endures her writing moods, but also encourages her to indulge her passion. An accountant by day and a writer of romantic suspense by night, she leads a very busy and joyous life. She’s been writing off and on since she was seventeen, and with several stories already published, she has no desire to slow down. ~ Amazon.com

Author Interview withM. J. Kane
Link to recent Author Give-Awayblogspot.com

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2 thoughts on “Deceptions of the Heart

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