Saturday, March 7, 2015

Book Review: DEADLY RUSE (A Mac McClellan Mystery #2) by E. Michael Helms


Mac’s girlfriend, Kate Bell, thinks she’s seen a ghost. Wes Harrison, Kate’s former boyfriend, supposedly perished twelve years ago in a boating accident. But now she swears a man she spotted in a crowded theater lobby is Wes. Mac has his doubts--it was only a fleeting glimpse. But to calm her shattered nerves, he starts making inquiries.

A clue leads him from his home in St. George, Florida, to a Texas orphanage. There he uncovers startling information that turns both his and Kate’s world upside-down. Diamond smuggling, sex, deceit, and murder are just part of the twisted tale that emerges from Kate’s earlier life. Using wit, grit, and the ingrained military training of a former Marine, Mac starts to fit the pieces of this scrambled puzzle together.

Further clues point to the Palmetto Royale Casino and Resort near St. George. He and Kate discover that the casino is a front for big drug deals. When they barely escape a murder attempt, Mac knows he’s on the right track. 

But he better play his cards right–because losing this high-stakes game could cost him his life.

Mac may not have figured out what he's doing with his life for the future yet, but he's prepared to enjoy the present with Kate. What starts out as a pleasant night out starts a journey into Kate's previous relationships back in Destin.  He gets to meet the rest of the family, including old family friends, but not exactly the way he planned. Unfortunately, instead of bringing them closer, the more information Mac is able to come up with, the farther Kate seems to drift. Romance aside, the more information increases the risk to both of them.

Mac has to deal with much ambiguity and temptation, but manages to stay with the goal - find Wes Harrison if he is still alive and not a ghost. He's the strong hero type - ex-marine so what else would be expected? He's also human and has a sense of humor, very likable despite a tendency to order people around.  

The story is well written and moves quickly -  I was hooked from the start and stayed up well past my bedtime to see how it ended.  The multiple twists and turns make it hard to be sure the real scams and who Mac should or shouldn't trust. I'd read the first in the series, DEADLY CATCH, and I was glad to see Bo and JD back, along with some of the others. Dakota definitely adds some spice to the mix. At the same time, DEADLY RUSE could easily be read as a stand alone. I'll be waiting for #3 in this series for sure!


  1. Thanks for the wonderful review, Christa! Mac mystery #3 (Deadly Dunes) due out January 2016.