A Current Deception, by Arleen Alleman. Xlibris. 340 pages. Hardcover $29.99.
The fifth in Ms. Alleman’s series of cruise adventure novels mixes the excitement of new vistas, in this case Australia, with murder mystery suspense. Freelance journalist Darcy Farthing is the central character, and her point of view prevails, though there are some risky point of view shifts that are sometimes unsettling. One thing is for sure, this series will not make the author any friends in the cruise industry. However, it may make her many new fans among readers.
Darcy is traveling with a group of family and friends, including her second husband (Mick), her former husband (Brooks), her best friend (Sid), who is about to be married onboard to Brooks. Also in the crowd is Darcy’s daughter Rachael and Rachael’s baby daughter Anna. Wait, there’s more: Don and Charlie, a gay couple (also Darcy’s good friends) traveling with their precocious, temperamental adopted daughter, and several other fellow cruisers who all went to high school together and are having a floating reunion. Brooks, head of a large travel agency, had put this special group together.
There is trouble all around. Daughter Rachael, a woman in her early twenties from whom until recently Darcy had been long separated, is having trouble with motherhood and with her decision about whether her future will include young Anna’s father. Sid, thinking of this voyage as her honeymoon trip, feels that Brooks is way too busy with his clients.
Then things get much worse. Yellow crazy ants (I’m not kidding) turn up and leave their acid burns on some of the shipboard guests in Brooks’s group. Is this infestation the result of negligence or is someone using the ants as a weapon? Attempted murders onboard and a murder on the streets of Adelaide put the group in a panic, especially as the chief of security seems indifferent, incompetent, or both.
Darcy is outsleuthing the professionals, but she’s having a hard time selling her insights. Curiously, items are found in Brooks’s stateroom that point to him as the criminal. It’s clear to Darcy and to us that the criminal (if there is only one) is extremely clever; however, she knows that Brooks can’t possibly be guilty.
Remember those Columbo episodes with Peter Faulk? We see the crime, know who the culprit is, and wonder if the faux discombobulated detective will figure things out? “A Current Deception” has a bit of that as readers are given many scenes presented from the whacko’s point of view. We can’t put it all together until Darcy does, but it is fun to try. Ms. Alleman has a sure sense of knowing just how much to reveal at each stage of the investigation, ratcheting up the suspense. . . .
To read the entire review, as it appears in the May 13, 2015 Fort Myers Florida Weekly and the May 14 Naples and Bonita Springs editions, click here: Florida Weekly – Alleman