Hi friends! I know it’s been a while – my personal life exploded in the last month, and I’ve been taking the time away as both self-care and self-preservation. But I’m excited to pop back in today to talk about Calculated Deception by K.T. Lee. I’m part of the blog tour! This book was fun, and I have a lot to say about it!
In Calculated Deception, Dr. Ree Ryland is suspected of smuggling dangerous weapons through her mechanical engineering lab at a small university in Indiana. Parker Landon and his team at the FBI go undercover to try to solve the case and quickly realize that Ree is far from guilty – she’s a pawn in a much larger game. So they enlist her help. Can Parker, Ree, and the team chase down the real weapons smuggler before it’s too late?
3 Things I Loved
- Ree. At first, I honestly thought I was going to hate Ree. She seemed like the type of character who was always going to be in need of saving, which just… isn’t for me. And while she’s a nervous wreck a lot of the time, and clumsy, and a little ditzy, there is so much more to her. She’s a triple black belt, and she’s got her conceal and carry, and she’s a PhD in Mechanical Engineering. She’s smarter than everyone else on that crime-solving team, that’s for sure. And by the end of the book, I wanted more Ree.
- Parker. Again, at first, I thought I was going to hate Parker. He was chauvinistic and always going around trying to be Prince Charming and other such nonsense. But then he started to get to know Ree, and we got to read him interacting with others on the team, and I realized that he was just doing his job. He was well-written, really, because the character development is easy to watch play out on the pages.
- Alexis. Heyyyyyy kick ass lady character! She isn’t introduced immediately, but I was pumped when she made her way onto the page. Alexis is an FBI agent who can play a multitude of characters while undercover but who is also completely capable of taking care of herself and Ree. In fact, the scenes where Alexis was the one protecting Ree were my favorite, because it was such a flip of the script. I loved it.
There were a couple of things I didn’t enjoy about this book, even though I liked it overall. It’s mostly nit-picky stuff, and I hope none of this would stop a person from picking it up and reading it.
First, some of the inner monologue of the characters was ridiculous. From a writing and reading standpoint, you 100% DON’T have to tell readers that “this doesn’t happen very often” or that so-and-so is “starting to feel this way.” Things like that are stilted and unnecessary and are telling readers something that could easily be shown. I found those passages the most annoying in the entire book (and honestly, they were mostly when we were hearing from Parker).
Second, and possibly most important – why was the FBI always doing illegal stuff? I know TV shows can get away with that stuff, but it doesn’t translate as well to books, ESPECIALLY when a point is made several times that the government works slow and needs evidence. Oh, evidence is needed, but it’s cool to pick locks on a desk to just check it out? So they can’t make a spectacular arrest, but it’s fine to tell a normal person (which they call a civilian in the book, which made me laugh) about what I would assume to be classified information about weapons systems and an ongoing investigation? It wasn’t consistent. That’s why it works on TV – they’re consistently not following real-life rules. But this book tries to pick and choose, and I highly doubt it works that way.
But, like I said, this book was overall very entertaining!
A reminder of the rating scale:
- Red = DNF, I hated everything
- Orange = Ugh, no thank you
- Yellow = I mean, I’ve read worse, but there were problems
- Green = This was good!
- Blue = Oh my gosh, I loved this book!
- Purple = This is the unicorn of books and I will be rereading it until the binding falls apart and EVERYONE should be reading it!
So, obviously, there are going to be some caveats to this rating. I truly enjoyed the book, but yeah, there were some problems. That would generally put me solidly in the yellow category, but this is a blog tour, and I’m being nit-picky! So I’m going to give Calculated Deception a GREEN rating because it was truly a fun read!
Thank you to the author, the publisher, and to Love Books Group for the review copy of the book and for choosing me to be a part of the blog tour. None of that affected by rating of the book. I had a great time with this one!