Stratagem by Robin Caroll
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Stratagem is defined in the dictionary as a plan or scheme that can be used to outwit an opponent or to achieve a goal and author Robin Caroll uses this as both the name of her new book and the basis of the plot. From the very beginning readers are drawn into murder, police investigations, multiple suspects and motives, and many clues that completely baffle the mind. A beautiful young woman who did some deplorable things to further her career is found dead and her death soon becomes a murder investigation. Her ex-husband seems to be the obvious suspect when it is discovered that he helped develop the mind-bending adventure game that she was involved in. Grayson Thibodeaux is a psychologist who worked with his partner to invent this game for the corporation who employed his ex-wife Anna Belle. One of the policemen investigating the murder is Grayson's friend and he completely believes in his innocence but the female investigationg officer adamantly believes in his guilt. Her dogged determination to charge Grayson with the crime made her an easy person for me to dislike. It is obvious that she has a personal agenda in trying to convict him but the reason isn't immediately clear as to why she wants this so badly.
I like mysteries and I thoroughly enjoyed this book that is full of intrigue and twists and turns. There are several other characters who had motives and readers are teased with hints of how and why they could have been involved. I wasn't completely sure of the guilty person until the second part of the story because there are so many conflicting clues but Grayson Thibodeaux was never a suspect to me. Throughout it all, he showed compassion and love for the woman who had betrayed his love and trust and he also felt the need to be able to truly forgive her. And, as he grapples with his pain and loss while trying to find the true murderer, he finally realizes that "There were no coincidences. That is where his faith came in---God could take any situation, no matter how awful it seemed, and turn it around for good".
I appreciate the many mentions of God and prayer and the strong faith element woven throughout this story and I recommend Stratagem to anyone who enjoys Christian fiction and mystery/suspense novels.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.
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