Werner's Reviews > Lady Deception

Lady Deception by Bobbi Smith
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Feb 19, 2008

liked it
bookshelves: action-heroines, westerns, books-barb-owns
Recommended to Werner by: My wife
Recommended for: Western (esp. cowgirl) fans; romance fans
Read in March, 2008

This is another book I got for my wife, because I felt the pistol-packing cowgirl on the cover would appeal to her, and then read on her recommendation. It's even more of a departure from my usual reading fare, since it isn't only a Western, but a paperback romance as well. Set mainly in Texas in 1877, the title refers to the heroines's penchant for using disguise and deception in her work; she's a bounty hunter with a reputation for bringing in her quarry alive. The leading male character is an ex-gunfighter recently turned rancher, who's mistakenly accused of complicity in a bank robbery; she's hired to bring him in alive.

Smith's prose style could use polishing, and often lacks artistry; scenes often aren't sketched with much sensory detail, and many of the characters are not sharply drawn. And there is a certain amount of explicit, while not disgusting, illicit sex in the book, though it doesn't come across as something the author (who is a professing Roman Catholic) is trying to promote or justify --it seems merely to be presented as something that could realistically happen between two people in the situations depicted here. (There is some violence, too, though it isn't glorified, and a certain amount of bad language, of the h- and d-word sort.) However, to the extent that the book presents any moral messages, they're generally wholesome ones, and even religious ones in places --one of our heroine's guises is as a lady preacher, and while Christ is never mentioned in her preaching, it definitely presents a theistic and moral world- view, with a call to repentance and a recognition of the possibility of forgiveness and grace; and she has a positive effect on some characters' lives. (Granted, to some degree she's playing a role here --but it's not a role that's wholly foreign to her own convictions.)

The plot moves with several inventive twists and turns that enhance reader interest, and Smith even incorporates a bit of mystery, in the hidden identity of the shadowy outlaw chieftain El Diablo. (Astute readers will guess this early on --but trying to guess the solution to a mystery is part of its fun.) Cody and Luke are appealing characters whom the reader can readily like and respect, despite their human foibles.
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