Forensic Artist Uncovers ‘Formula of Deception’ in Carrie Stuart Parks’ New Thriller [REVIEW]

The motion of drawing

An artist uses her talents to uncover long-buried secrets in Carrie Stuart Parks’ Formula of Deception. (Photo by Kendra, Flickr)

She did everything she could to escape. She got out of town. She moved to a remote location. She changed her name and hit the reboot button on her life. But the past has finally caught up with her. Does she have the mettle to survive the approaching storm once again? Find out in Carrie Stuart Park’s captivating new thriller, Formula of Deception. 


Thomas Nelson

Murphy Anderson just wants to be left alone. After her twin sister’s murder, she moved to Alaska where she lives in someone’s basement and rides a bike to avoid having a DMV record, all so she can live under the radar and avoid media attention.

Strapped for cash, she takes a job working with local police as a forensic artist. Sure, she had to tell a few fibs to secure the gig, but she figures she’s good with a pencil and sketch pad, even if she hasn’t ever drawn a crime scene in her life. How difficult can it be?

Suddenly she’s listening to a dying old Russian man recount the time he stumbled across five dead bodies on a remote island ten years before. When she draws his memories, it begins to unravel a dangerous conspiracy dating all the way back to World War II, and someone will kill to keep all the secrets buried.

As the case unfolds, investigators are confounded by each clue that surfaces, from the five bodies that were intentionally destroyed to the abandoned Quonset hut which seems at the very vortex of the mystery. Will Murphy be able to help the authorities solve the case? Or will she put herself in the crosshairs of the very killer she has sought to avoid?

With Formula of Deception, Carrie Stuart Parks delivers a novel that continues the grand tradition of legendary authors Mary Higgins Clark and Iris Johansen. Murphy is a woman in peril, one who seeks to avoid danger but who can’t seem to avoid it, and thus this becomes a story we simply can’t put down.

One of the things I love about this novel is that despite being a mystery where dead bodies appear everywhere you look, it never once gets mired down in despair. Rather, Parks infuses the story with humor and hope, and while some of this buoyancy comes from our heroine’s unsinkable attitude and determination, it also arises from careful craftsmanship. Parks diligently holds our attention and obviously doesn’t feel the need to paint each page with bloody carnage in order to maintain that taut level of suspense.

If you’re looking for a devilishly good suspense novel with a charming, witty heroine this is the book for you. If you’re looking for a nailbiting thriller without salty language and grisly, unnecessarily graphic detail, don’t hesitate. Add Formula of Deception to your to-be-read pile. It’s a book you’re going to want to keep, and it will make Carrie Stuart Parks a name to remember in your household for years to come.

Carrie Stuart Parks

Carrie Stuart Parks


Carrie Stuart Parks is the ECPA Christy Award and multiple ACFW Carol and Inspy Award-winning author of Portrait of Vengeance and A Cry from the Dust

An internationally known forensic artist, Carrie draws on her extensive experience with actual criminal investigations to write authentic, true-to-life fictional suspense. Carrie lives in Idaho and travels with her husband, Rick, across the US and Canada, teaching courses in forensic art to law enforcement professionals.

She has won numerous awards for her fine art and is the author/illustrator of numerous books on drawing and painting.

Visit her home on the Web at, like her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter.

By Carrie Stuart Parks
320 pgs. Thomas Nelson. $15.99

TLC Book Tours Tour HostPurchase Formula of Deception at one of these fine online retailers: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, iBooks, IndieBound, and Powell’s.

Formula of Deception is brought to you in association with TLC Book Tours.

About Jathan Fink
Jathan is a journalist, philanthropist, and entrepreneur. He is also a travel junkie, foodie and jazz aficionado. A California native, he resides in Texas.

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