32935069How well do you know your loved ones?

A girl struggling to cope with the murders of her mother and five-year-old brother.
A journalist chasing the ghost of a potential serial killer.
A thirteen-year-old girl who slaughtered her parents.
And a revenge-driven psychopath who is about to destroy everyone’s life.

After 9 years, a young writer is still coping with the brutal murders of her mother and five-year-old brother, as she moves into a house of horrors, to start a new life with her lover. Will friends and family be able to redeem Ally out of the impending doom in time? Will her infallible love become the key to the destruction of her already fragile world? Will madness prevail over love; true love over revenge?

Deceived is a gripping psychological thriller that mazes through the deepest, darkest emotions of human mind through the story of a vulnerable girl who treads in the mist of deception bred from a long unforgiven betrayal.

Author: Heena Rathore P.

Genre: Psychological Thriller, Mystery, Suspense

Number of Pages: 350

Purchase onGoodreads

Hernández Novels Score: 3.5/5

First and foremost I want to thank Emily Green at Citrus Publishers for sending me a copy of Deceived in return for an honest review. I found Heena’s website on my WordPress Reader and, as an avid fan of thrillers, I was immediately captivated by the book’s description. A story about psychopaths, sociopaths, and a murder mystery? Sold! I began reading it as soon as I was able to get my hands on it.

The main character, Allison Stone, is deeply troubled by the horrible events of her past: the murders of her mother and younger brother at the hands of a ruthless killer. Justice was never served. She is surrounded by her best friend, a German Sheppard named Max, her obscure yet charming boyfriend Danny, and by her much smarter roommate Sam. Allison is forced to revisit the murders of her family when her journalist cousin, Steve, returns to town on the heels of what he believes to be a serial killer. Both Ally and Steve become narrators of the story, providing the readers with a fresh perspective on every chapter.

We also meet two despicable characters, Beth and Michael. We are told Beth’s story through the third-person point of view, as we return to the past as it interweaves with the present events of the story. Beth murdered her parents when she was only a teenager and was in search of redemption when her life took a twisted turn. We learn about Michael directly from him, as we are presented with his journal entries, giving the reader insight into his psychotic thoughts, behaviors, and plans. The four stories and perspectives are difficult to follow at first but, once they all come together, they blend in harmoniously.

What I really liked about the book:

 The shift in perspective every chapter is genius. I was captivated by all four of them and loved learning more about each and every single character rather than just Allison. This was very necessary to the story, and I also liked that not every perspective was narrated by the character of choice. Heena did a beautiful job interweaving the story through each character’s lens.

– As a huge fan of psychology, I was immediately intrigued by the foreword to the novel, which brilliantly explains the subtle differences between a sociopath and a psychopath. We are then asked to be mindful of the hints we are given as we read the story, and to make our own assumptions about the characters and who they are. I was ready for a rollercoaster after that.

What I really didn’t like about the book:

– I was seductively immersed during the first third of the book but, as soon as the story lines started to come together, I was very quickly able to see what was coming. Long before Heena tells us the truth behind the murders, I had already figured it all out. I had correctly guessed who Beth was, who Danny was, and who Michael was. The story became predictable and, once I was close to finishing, I had lost all interest in the actual words I was reading.

– The dialogue between the characters also gave me trouble, as I thought some of it was melodramatic, some of it out of place, and some of it stale. Perhaps each character needed more nuances to their speech, but I found some of the dialogue lacking in personality and style.

– Allison was difficult to love and support. Honestly, I found her obnoxious. She’s the kind of girl in the scary movie that you’ll yell at the screen for doing exactly the opposite of what she should be doing. There was very little strength in who she was and her development was weak. I understand she’s troubled by her past, but I would hope to see her gain strength over time and become someone I believed in. That never happened.

– The ending happened too quick and it felt very rushed. The action was jammed packed, as were the gruesome details, and it read very quickly. It was easy to point out holes in the story towards the end, and a lot of questions were left unanswered. For a story that takes its time being told, the pay off left something to be desired.

As a debut novel, I enjoyed it and think the idea is clever. I can tell that Heena did a lot of background work and research to develop the pathology behind some of the characters, but I think the execution of the novel itself needed a closer attention to detail and a stronger stylistic voice. The story is strong and the characters stand out, it’s all about putting it together and keeping an editing eye on everything. Overall, I savored the story and, I’ll admit, I even had a nightmare the day I finished the novel.

Heena, you have a strong passion for psychology and suspense, and a very creative mind. I look forward to reading your second novel in hopes that we see just as strong and thrilling a story with a revamped style and character development. As a new author, you’ve gained my respect.

Does Deceived sound like something you want to read? Why or why not? Leave your thoughts, comments, questions, and suggestions below!

Head to Heena’s website to find out more about her,