I was purchasing a book for another series I was in the middle of when this came up in the suggested reading. It was available through my Kindle unlimited subscription, so I was game to give it a try.
David Wolf sure has a lot going on in his life. He’s a Deputy Sheriff in a Colorado ski-town in line to be the next Sheriff, like his father was. His ex-wife is back from a stint in rehab and trying to get back on her feet. There’s a report of a missing high school student. As David leads the search for him, he’s nearly killed by the only other man who wants the Sheriff job.
As if that isn’t enough, word comes from Italy that David’s brother committed suicide. Of course, David doesn’t believe that’s the case. After wrapping things up in the missing person case, he heads to Lake Como, Italy, to bring back his brother’s body and discover the truth.
There was a lot to like about Foreign Deceit. However, if what I wrote above seems to be a lot for a first novel, you’d be right. The characters don’t have as much depth to them as they could. Comparing the first in this series to M.K. Coker’s Dakota series, and the first novel there definitely made me want to care about the characters and continue the story. Jeff Carson ends Foreign Deceit with a cliff-hanger that makes me want to learn what’s really going on in that Colorado town, but I didn’t find myself into the characters all that much.
The mystery in Colorado really was enough for this book, along with David’s confrontation with the competition for the sheriff’s position. That story could have been expanded a bit, leaving the brother’s suicide for another time or another novel. The rivalry in the department could be carried through a few stories. There’s a lot packed into this that could have been served better.
That said, both of the mysteries here are pretty good. For a while, I was wondering what Carson’s grudge was with Italy that he painted their police department in such a negative, inept light. There’s a payoff to that, though, as the story unwinds and serves up answers as to what was going on. This book won’t be a boon for Lake Como tourism, though.
I enjoyed Foreign Deceit and I’m going to continue with the series. I just think there was a lot crammed into the first novel that could have developed characters better. Since the rest of the series is not set in Italy, it would have been better to spend time getting to know the people in Colorado who will be continuing to be in David Wolf’s life.