Book: Deception Pass

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Deception Pass: A Thomas Black Mystery

Author: Earl Emerson
Publisher: Ballantine Books

“Mother Teresa with a bankroll” is P.I. Thomas Black’s first impression of Lainie Smith. Her rise from rags to riches and her bottomless generosity on behalf of Seattle’s children are something out of a Frank Capra movie. But that sentimental assessment is obliterated as Black investigates Lainie’s hidden past—and a purportively tranquil spot called Deception Pass.

As a rebellious teen, Lainie hooked up with a drifter named Charlie—and she may have been an eyewitness to murder in the shadow of cliff-walled Deception Pass, where the water runs river-swift and turbulent. When justice, and the executioner, finally caught up with Charlie, Lainie was long gone.

But somebody who knows the truth—the whole truth—about Lainie’s dark history is blackmailing her. Lainie won’t tell Thomas Black why she’s being blackmailed, only that her tormentor “knows things he couldn’t possibly know.” Just how far will Black’s saint-like client go to bury her past forever?

For a one-way passage to nonstop suspense, travel no farther than Deception Pass.


Barnes and Noble

Emerson’s fast-moving novels about Seattle PI Thomas Black are a smart mixture of very witty banter and very dark subject matter. The mix continues here, weighed a bit toward the latter, with Black investigating a particularly vicious 17-year-old Manson-like multiple murder. His client is a wealthy, seemingly well intentioned woman whom he initially describes as “Mother Teresa with a bankroll.” A blackmailer has unearthed her involvement in the Deception Pass slayings. Black’s problem: Was she a helpless witness or did she commit the crimes? One of the best of the year.

—Dick Lochte

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