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Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite
Conjuring Deception by Camilo Iribarren is a thrilling crime read of illusion and misdirect. To stop a series of crimes committed by magicians, FBI Agent Simon Shakespeare puts together a team with a special set of talents: Feste Fillmore who is a mentalist, skilled cardist Ophelia, Damon MacBeth who has a talent for escaping, and stage illusionist Juliet Gardner. The team tackles a series of unusual cases from a mysterious jewel thief, with an unusual message they have to decipher, to a hypnotist robbing men and leaving no traces behind. The team is led to an unexpected source that will have a significant impact on a member of the team.
The team's personal lives often factor into the plot, especially for Feste as he struggles to maintain a relationship. He doesn't want to tell any of his girlfriends the truth about his job with the FBI, because he fears they'll be put in danger, something which is highlighted in a significant moment where he discovers a note where yet another girlfriend broke up with him due to all his secrets. It's interesting to see him have, in some ways, a detachment from his relationships as he won't let them in completely. This has an interesting contrast to his past, when he was abandoned as a baby, and his present close friendship with his foster sister. His life has the biggest contrast to Simon's, whose life does include his cases and is rooted in family. He's happily married to a loving wife and has a son, both of whom are seen throughout the story, but every time they show Simon's heart. The warmth of his family gives this team the feeling of being a family.
Conjuring Deception with its flair of magicians and unusual crimes isn't your average crime read. Unlike in most crime novels that tend to only focus on a single case, Camilo Iribarren brings the characters up against more than one, giving each member of the team a chance to shine. The case isn't the important aspect of the story; it's more in the background of the characters as they drive everything forward. This allows more time with them personally as a lot of the focus is on their personal lives. Iribarren provides a real chance to see each character's heart and to watch them bond as they work together, slowly becoming a team. Their friendship is genuine and has a bit of romance thrown in that begins to blossom over time between a couple of the characters. Conjuring Deception is about a playful team of unusual crime solvers in a mystery in the vein of shows like Psych, Monk, and White Collar. The perfect read for those that enjoy a good cozy mystery!