Depth of Deceit
by Betty Briggs
Back Cover Blurb: "Blonde and stunningly beautiful, fledgling attorney Stephanie Saunders vows to protect the innocent even though as indigent defense attorney her clients rarely are. Does that include Josh Durrant, who seems to be following her? Stephanie is dismayed when her peers begin calling her 'Prom Queen' like her boyfriend, Todd Saxton, often does. While desperately trying to prove her credibility in her profession, she overlooks a scheme to steal her innocence. Although she plans to forgive Todd for his ultimate betrayal, she is never given the chance. Her boss, attorney Charles Connelly, offers support, but is Stephanie's welfare, or his own, top priority? The only thing that keeps Stephanie sane in her insane world are the horses she loves but does not own. The example of the abused mare, Riskie Business, helps Stephanie make the most difficult decision of her life. Relying on wit and courage, Stephanie must save herself and another during the final showdown where she proves a loyalty and strength of which she never knew herself capable."
About the Author: A retired legal secretary of thirty-three years and lifetime horse lover, Betty notes that some of her experiences sneak into her story lines, but not without embellishments. Already the author of four young adult books, she is excited to introduce Depth of Deceit, her first mainstream novel. She is the mother of two grown children and grandmother to five. She lives in the Rocky Mountains with her husband, Scott. Her three horses round out the family.
My Review: I thought that the premise of the story was good. I enjoyed the larger mystery of what was going on in the plot. I was also interested in reading a story about a woman attorney because I've never read a book about one before. I appreciated that Briggs kept the book tastefully clean, with no swearing or sex scenes, though she could easily have done both if she were that kind of writer.
Now, I have to express my disappointment on a couple of things. The first is personal and is a bit of a plot spoiler, so skip this paragraph if you don't want to know. The single young protagonist, Stephanie, becomes pregnant without her consent and makes the decision to give the baby up for adoption to a two-parent family. She believes that would be best for the baby and she can get on with her life and career. I was quietly cheering her on in this decision because I feel it's the most unselfish thing an unwed mother can do for her child, and the child's best hope for a healthy future. Later on in the book, because of the example of a horse, she changes her mind and decides to keep the baby, even though she is more alone in the world than ever. Of course, I found that disappointing, but what really annoyed me was when her friend referred to her as a "colossal idiot" for deciding to give the baby up for adoption in the first place, Stephanie agrees with her. That did not sit well with me. Young women who give their babies up for adoption are not colossal idiots.
Other things that I found hard to swallow were: much forced-sounding dialog; the fact that except in the very beginning, throughout the whole book Stephanie didn't really seem to do any lawyering, but seemed more like an office stick figure; a boss that was way too paternal to the point of being liable for a harassment suit; and the fact that after the climax of the story the author felt obligated to tie up every single possible little loose end (some that we didn't even know were loose) so that the reader would know for sure that Stephanie really did live happily ever after. It was just too much. We didn't need all that and it kind of made my eyes glaze over.
I'd recommend this book for people who like clean novels with action and a romantic element. It is a great read for those who are not sensitive about adoption issues and who love horses.
You can purchase Depth of Deceit here.
Visit Betty Brigg's website to learn more about her and her books.