A Current Deception by Arleen Alleman (Darcy Farthing Mystery #5)

A Current Deception is the 5th book in the Darcy Farthing mystery series by the author Arleen Alleman. I have read and reviewed the 4th book, Alternate Currents about a year ago, and the author recently offered me a copy of her latest book in the series hoping that I would pick it up to read and possibly review it as well.

Darcy is a freelance writer who let’s just say is a magnet for trouble due to her nosy character. Whenever she smells something off, she starts asking questions. And those questions can easily annoy those who don’t want them answered, which more often than not end up putting her – and everyone around her in danger.

In this book Darcy, her now husband Mick, her ex Brooks and his fiance (and Darcy’s friend) Sidney, her daughter and granddaughter and a few other friends decide to take a sea cruise to Australia’s various ports, hoping that the cruise will be happy, uneventful and a joyous get together.The ship is called  The Sea Star, a World of Seas Cruise Ship,  a luxurious vessel which would be the base for Darcy and Mick’s honeymoon. It would also be the place where Brooks and Sid got married.

Some time before (in a previous book), Darcy and the gang went on a sea cruise which ended very badly for them. I don’t know the details of that story, as I haven’t read that book, but apparently it was an intense one, as Darcy, her friends and family are still recovering from the past experience, some even with the help of counseling.

Darcy figured that having bad luck once is more than enough, and this time around the cruise will be a good one, which might even help heal some old wounds.

But of course as per Murphy’s Law, if something can go wrong, it will go wrong – or put another way – if it happened once, it will happen the second time again, which is exactly what occurred during this new trip, causing everyone to relive some really bad memories from the previous cruise they’ve all been together on.

Things started innocently enough – some ants delivered on a plate of food as a gift from American Travel Corp (travel agency company belonging to Brook) to a couple ended up spraying acid on the hands of one of the passenger, who needed medical attention.

Soon after, unexplained dangerous things starts to happen, which put Darcy (and the rest of the team as well) on high alert, giving them all nauseous flashbacks to their previous trip.

What is worse is that the chief of security seems to blame Brook for everything that’s been happening, while of course Darcy knows that this is not true at all.

So Darcy once again – against everyone’s initial wishes, starts her own investigation into these seemingly unrelated problems. The more she investigates, the more she realizes that there might be more to the yellow ants than meets the eye, there is a serial killer on the loose on the ship and some people are not exactly who they say they are.

The story unfolds at a fast pace giving me an urgency to turn the pages to see what comes next. Lots of stuff going on during that cruise, which makes for a very unforgettable trip (I can only imagine what the previous trip must have been like).

To slow the pace a bit down, the author added lots of fun details about pretty much anything related to places and events. Great description of various parts in Australia, especially for a person like me who will probably never visit that continent.

I even enjoyed those small chapters devoting to the ants – I’ll never look at those little bugger the same way again!

The characters are great – you simply have to connect to them at a deeper level. Darcy has a great straightforward personality, she knows what’s right and wrong and never loses sight of what’s important even for a minute, especially when dealing with her daughter.

Speaking of the daughter, she really annoyed me at times, but I guess she just needs time to really grow up and mature internally (given her history), even though she’s already a mom herself.

I especially enjoyed the small Penelope, who is sharp, witted and extremely observant. She did play a major part in solving the big puzzle on that ship and I hope she will be around in the next book as well.

In a way I’m sorry I didn’t get to read the previous novels in the series, however I can honestly say that both books I’ve read so far (Alternate Currents and Current Deception) stand well on their own. There is enough background information included to make things clear every step of the way.

Oh and it was in this book that I realized what ‘Current’ means in this series and now that I know what the titles are all about – they do fit the stories nicely.

Overall I loved this book and I’m looking forward to reading the new Darcy Farthing story  whenever it’s out.

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