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    Book Review: Dark Deceiver by Pamela Palmer Reviewed by Author Anna Campbell
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  • Published: Jun 26th, 2008

Reviewed by Anna Campbell

palmer_deceiverreview1.JPGPamela Palmer was a Golden Heart finalist with me in 2006 and she’s great fun and a thoroughly good egg. So I really looked forward to reading the sexy paranormals she sold to Silhouette Nocturne.

Her first book in the Esri series, THE DARK GATE, was fantastic. Romantic, suspenseful and featuring one of the creepiest villains I’ve encountered in ages. I’ve just finished her second Esri book, DARK DECEIVER, and you know what? It’s even BETTER than THE DARK GATE. And that’s saying something!

I’m a sucker for stories where the hero is torn between the demands of honor and his love for the heroine. That duty/love conflict is such a powerful hook and it makes DARK DECEIVER a corker of a read.

In Esria, a parallel universe peopled by powerful faerie creatures, Kaderil the Dark is known as The Punisher. Because he has human blood, most of his compatriots despise him. He uses his great strength to instil the respect he yearns for, but he’s smart enough to recognize it’s a respect based purely on fear. He also hides a secret, that he has very little magic of his own. Oh, and need I mention he’s as sexy as all get-out?

The ambitious Esrian king sends a party of Esri, including Kaderil, into our world to find the Stones of Power which will give the Esri unlimited access to earth where, let’s say, their intentions are not benevolent! Kaderil soon encounters our heroine Autumn McGinn, who is already part of a group fighting against the Esri. With that meeting, everything he believes and every principle he’s always followed start to unravel. Love it!

Autumn is another of my favorite types of heroines (can you tell I enjoyed this book?). I love the Ugly Duckling plot. I love books where the hero sees beauty in a woman who’s never been considered beautiful by less perceptive people around her.

Autumn is over six feet tall and red-haired and freckled and a real klutz. But Kaderil, who’s seven feet tall himself, thinks she’s a goddess from the moment he meets her. Ah, love at first sight, don’t you just dig it? She’s clever and a bit of a geek – she works for the Smithsonian and she’s a research whiz. And she’s brave so she is spiritually a perfect match for Kaderil. He recognizes and admires that in her from the beginning.

Poor Kaderil’s sufferings will wrench your heart as he tries to come to terms with the fact that it’s his duty to kill Autumn and her friends and yet she’s the only being who has ever shown him any genuine warmth. From the start, he reluctantly deceives her about his true identity – the scene where she discovers who she really is will rock your socks, trust me!

I don’t want to give away too much of the plot of DARK DECEIVER, which is fast-paced and edgy. The story can stand on its own although characters from THE DARK GATE make an appearance. But I dare you to put down Kaderil and Autumn’s love story once you start reading it. It’s passionate, sexy and beautifully written. I can’t wait for the next Esri book to fly into my hot little hands! Come on, Pamela, get writing!

26 Responses to “Book Review: Dark Deceiver by Pamela Palmer Reviewed by Author Anna Campbell”

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  1. Annie West
    on Jun 27th, 2008
    @ 1:38 am

    Anna, I’m hooked! I’ve just got to get my hands on a copy of this book. As you know I LOVE the tenstion between duty and love in a romance – it’s one of my favourite themes. And as for the ugly duckling heroine – count me in! A tall red headed klutz of a researcher sounds just the sort of woman I can relate to. Will look forward to tracking this one down.

  2. Christine Wells
    on Jun 27th, 2008
    @ 4:54 am

    Anna, you’ve sold me, too, and I’m not usually one for paranormals. I love big gorgeous ruthless heroes, but the klutzy heroine really clinched the deal. As you say, the duty/love conflict is a very powerful one–the choice between two rights. Argh, the agony!

    Annie, you’re always so beautiful and poised–how could you relate to being a klutzy ugly duckling!

    Oh, and Anna, given Pamela’s publishing schedule, I think it’s safe to say that she never STOPS writing, even in her sleep! 😉

  3. Buffie
    on Jun 27th, 2008
    @ 5:37 am

    Fabulous review Anna!! It sure makes me want to go out and get the book. I have heard so many wonderful things about Pamela Palmer and her books.

  4. Marisa O'Neill
    on Jun 27th, 2008
    @ 5:55 am

    Anna – great review, I’m reading this book right now, and you’re spot on about why I’m loving this series. Pamela has a way of creating characters that you can relate to, like Autumn. I’m also really enjoying her world building, it’s quite fantastic and has me hooked.

    Since you’ve finished Pamela’s book, and we all know she IS busy writing (new Avon 3 book contract, way to go Pamela!) what new books are you reading in the meantime? And of course, rabid Anna fan here – how’s your writing coming?

  5. Gannon
    on Jun 27th, 2008
    @ 6:37 am

    Fantastic review, Anna! I’m definitely sold. How can you not love a hero who thinks the heroine is a goddess?!

  6. MaryKate
    on Jun 27th, 2008
    @ 6:50 am

    Mornin’/Afternoon, Anna! Wonderful review. I think it must be the fact that you’re a professional author, you really know how to write! 😉

  7. Maria Lokken
    on Jun 27th, 2008
    @ 7:22 am

    Thanks for the review Anna! It seems Pamela has hit on one of the themes I too love in romance – duty vs. love. I’m curious, so I’m throwing this question out there; What are some of the other themes readers love?

  8. Anna Campbell
    on Jun 27th, 2008
    @ 1:23 pm

    Hey, look who’s here! Thanks, guys, for popping by and checking out the review.

    Annie, I think you’d really enjoy Pam’s writing. It has a depth and an emotion that I think you’d relate to. Actually I remember back in my university days reading a book about Handel operas (yes, I was a GEEK!) which said every single Handel opera has the same plot. Love vs. Duty. In the Handel operas, duty always wins so there’s an unhappy ending. What I like about the modern take on love vs. duty is that in the hands of a good writer, she manages to reconcile the two. Generally by giving the character a ‘higher’ duty that supersedes his/her old ways of thinking. But it’s still a powerful conflict. And someone like Pam, who really writes great, complex characters, gets that the choice isn’t easy. I love to see characters struggle in a romance – makes the happy ending that much sweeter, doesn’t it?

    Hiya Christine! I love seeing a heroine who grows and becomes who she’s meant to be which is often the journey with a klutzy heroine. Her awkwardness is a sign that she’s not comfortable in her world and then what she learns falling in love with the hero shows her a new way of being. Hmm, I seem to be waxing philosophical this morning! Oh, well, better to be waxing philsophical than waxing hurty bits, I suppose! Ouch!

  9. Anna Campbell
    on Jun 27th, 2008
    @ 1:33 pm

    Buffie, I think you’d enjoy DARK DECEIVER. See if you can grab a copy of THE DARK GATE first. You don’t have to read them in order but I’m a Virgo, I like to do things the right way 😉 When I read TDG, I was blown away by Pam’s ability to combine suspense, romance and the eerie stuff and as I said, I think this book is even more assured. I’m not at all surprised that she now has contracts up to the Wazoo. Hmm, does one wax a wazoo?

    Hey, Marisa! Rabid, huh? You’re definitely on the Christmas card list! So glad you’re enjoying Pam’s book. It’s got a very individual feel, doesn’t it? And those Esri are seriously scary dudes! Not sure I’d trust them with the good china.

    I finished the first draft of the wip just over a week ago. I gave myself permission to have a reading binge for a day or so then before I started revisions. It was great – not a dud amongst them. Read DEMON ANGEL by Meljean Brook which I enjoyed – it’s often hard to make a ‘good’ boy compelling, but she sure managed that with Hugh. That’s been on the TBR pile forever. Read a fantastic Harlequin Blaze by an author new to me called Kathleen O’Reilly. It was called SHAKEN AND STIRRED. There’s two more in the series and I’m now desperately waiting for them to get to me from Amazon. I haven’t read a lot of Blazes – the early ones just didn’t appeal to me much. But this was real and funny and emotional and you felt like you really knew the world these people lived in by the time you got to the end. And a book I absolutely loved was THE LAST RAKE IN LONDON by my friend and fellow RITA finalist (hey, you knew I’d get that in there somewhere!) Nicola Cornick. It was written to celebrate Mills and Boon’s 100th birthday and it’s set in the Edwardian era. Such fun to read a different setting where people drove cars and used the telephone and wore those cool pre-WWI clothes. The heroine is a cool babe who runs a nightclub in London called The Blue Parrot and the hero is the seriously sexy Jack Kestrel, the heir to a dukedom, who thinks the heroine is blackmailing someone in his family. There’s some great comedy with dotty aristocratic family members and also some wonderful emotional depth that Nicola does so well. Hmm, are you sorry you asked now?

  10. Anna Campbell
    on Jun 27th, 2008
    @ 1:35 pm

    Gannon, I’m so with you on the goddess thing. I particularly love it when the hero sees something in her that nobody else has. There’s an Anne Gracie called THE PERFECT RAKE that does this really well too. Do you know it? The heroine is the ‘plain’ one in a family of beauties but the hero just can’t see that. He thinks she’s gorgeous right from the start. So of course, you just fall in love with him from the get-go.

    Hey, MK, thanks for that lovely compliment! I think it’s easy to wax eloquent over something you enjoyed as much as I enjoyed DD. What are you reading right now? Not that I need recommendations. I’ve got a TBR pile that blocks out the sun right now.

  11. Anna Campbell
    on Jun 27th, 2008
    @ 1:37 pm

    Hiya Maria!!! Glad you enjoyed the review. Actually themes in romance are interesting, aren’t they? Hmm, off the top of my head, sexual awakening – Sleeping Beauty? Redemption – most romances, I think? Cinderella? Any other takers? Actually, a really strong one is the lone wolf being taken into the fold which usually means a family of some sort.

  12. Anna Campbell
    on Jun 27th, 2008
    @ 1:40 pm

    Oh, dear, I just noticed I’ve just waxed my eloquent! And man, did that sting!

  13. MaryKate
    on Jun 27th, 2008
    @ 1:50 pm

    Hi Anna! I actually just started (finished the prologue and that’s it) Jessica Anderson’s NIGHTKEEPERS, which Marisa has been GUSHING about for weeks. I can’t tell anything yet, except that the premise is intriguing and one I haven’t read before. I just finished writing the review for Linda Winstead Jones’s newest UNTOUCHED. I think she’s a very lyrical writer. I also just finished WHEN TWILIGHT BURNS by Colleen Gleason which has me BURSTING at the seams to talk about, since the events in the book are mind blowing! And I read Nalini Singh’s September release HOSTAGE TO PLEASURE which turned out to be among my favorites by her. I wrote reviews for all of them, so now I’m treating myself by going off the reservation a little bit and reading some stuff that I don’t need to review. Although, the minute Sarah McCarty’s newest hits my doorstep I’ll be gobbling it up. I tortured myself by reading the excerpts last night. I love her style, she puts up a “regular” excerpt and a “spice” one, which is SMOKING HOT! Love it! And love her! If you haven’t tried Sarah, try CAINE’S RECKONING, he’s a Texas Ranger, and she’s a fallen woman. And he’s DELICIOUS. Really yummy!

    I’ve got quite a collection in my TBR stack too right now. Most of which are historical (Quinn, Chase, etc), but I’ve been in a paranormal mood lately, so they’re sitting there untouched. And July 1st is coming, and with it the release of the new Joanna Bourne, the new Linda Howard and the new Nora Roberts. ARGH! I’ve got to get reading! 😉

    Oops, I just noticed that I too waxed eloquent. Aren’t you sorry you asked?!

  14. Anna Campbell
    on Jun 27th, 2008
    @ 2:35 pm

    Another woman with a waxed eloquent. We’ll be setting a trend, if we’re not careful! No, I’m not all sorry I asked! Don’t tell me there’s ANOTHER Untouched! There’s a RITA book (another Blaze) called Untouched too. You know, when I wrote the darned thing, the title wasn’t on Amazon. I’ve seen great stuff about the Jessica Anderson. I’m behind on Nalini’s stuff – there’s just too much good stuff out there. I loved the first two. Got CARESSED BY ICE on the bookcase. I love the sound of the Sarah McCarty – might start putting together another Amazon order. Oh, man, that poor credit card! Actually my next off the TBR pile is my fellow Bandita Jeanne Adams’s debut, DARK AND DANGEROUS. It’s had some great review and Jeanne’s a hoot and really smart so I’m looking forward to that. A series of books I’ve really enjoyed lately are the latest lot from Madeline Hunter. I really enjoyed THE RULES OF SEDUCTION and LESSONS IN DESIRE and I’ve got THE SECRETS OF SURRENDER in, you guessed it, the TBR pile. She’s such a great writer and has an unusual take on the Regency setting that I enjoy. I’ve also got the last of Anne Stuart’s Ice books waiting for me FIRE AND ICE. She’s another writer I really like. Actually, an author who’s new to me whose first book I really loved is C.S. Harris. She used to write historical romance as Candice Proctor but now she does a historical mystery series featuring a really sexy hero called Sebastian St. Cyr. I read the first one, WHAT ANGELS FEAR, a couple of weeks ago and couldn’t put it down. And there’s, thank goodness, still quite a lot of romance amongst the mystery. I like passion amongst my murders, thank you! 😉

  15. Marisa O'Neill
    on Jun 27th, 2008
    @ 2:40 pm

    Anna’s in the house! Anna The Last Rake in London sounds like a book I need to pick, I’m very addicted to that particular time in history.
    I too have a ton of books to review. I just finished Kathryn Smith’s new contemporary (which will be out this July) Before I Wake – and WOW, loved it; who knew she had such a terrific contemporary voice. I have a lot of contemporaries to review, Lora Leigh, Jo Davis and Jenesi Ash – so I’m looking forward to the weekend -me, a coke and a book or three.

  16. Anna Campbell
    on Jun 27th, 2008
    @ 2:43 pm

    Marisa, fantastic news about Kate’s new book! Actually I’m planning a getaway once I get this book in (which is ages away yet) and just taking a lump of the TBR pile with me. It’s getting unmanageable and as you can see, it’s full of great stuff. Another book I’m really looking forward to tugging out of it is the new J.R. Ward, LOVER ENSHRINED. So that’s a whole stack of my favorite authors sitting there waiting for some attention. I really need to get onto it!

  17. katiebabs
    on Jun 27th, 2008
    @ 2:55 pm

    There should be more ugly duckling plots! 😀
    Loved your review Anna!

  18. Anna Campbell
    on Jun 27th, 2008
    @ 3:05 pm

    Hiya Katiebabs! Glad you enjoyed the review. Thank you. Yeah, the ugly duckling plot is one that always gets me in – even if she only turns into a swan in the hero’s eyes. I’m a still a sucker for the moment where the hero takes off the heroine’s metaphorical glasses and says, “Why, Miss Jones, you’re beautiful!”

  19. Buffie
    on Jun 27th, 2008
    @ 3:36 pm

    Hey Anna — I have Demon Angel in my TBR pile. Meljean sent it to a while ago and it just keeps getting bumped back. Guess I should really move to the top and leave it there, huh? You have mentioned Kathleen O’Reill to me before, I guess I need to pick up her stuff too. I have only read a few authors in the Blaze series — bandita Tawny Weber and a fav of mine Jacquie D’Alessandro. Both of those ladies can write some pretty steamy love scenes. MK makes me so jealous with all the good books she has read. I honestly don’t think the girl sleeps at all!!!! With my schedule I’m lucky to get a book in a week. I just finished Jenna Petersen’s LESSONS OF A COURTESAN, which totally fabulous. And tonight I believe I’ll start on the newest Julia Latham book — my first review for RNTV. Can I say how nervous I am?!

    Katibabs — I am SO with you on the ugly duckling stories. Those are my absolute favorite!

  20. Anna Campbell
    on Jun 27th, 2008
    @ 3:47 pm

    Buffie, I had the same experience with Demon Angel. It was a book everyone was talking about at the last RWA conference and I bought it then so that gives you an idea of how it got bumped back. I LOVE Tawny’s stuff – what I liked about Kathleen’s book is that it had that similar texture of real life that you get with Tawny’s. Hey, you’ll do fabulous reviews! You’re great at hotties 😉

  21. Anna Campbell
    on Jun 27th, 2008
    @ 4:00 pm

    Actually you can get an autographed DARK GATE, the first Esri book, and support a great cause at the Eloisa James and Julia Quinn charity auction

    There’s some great items up for grabs in this – including a heap of Bandita Booty with seven signed books by various Romance Bandits and other lovely stuff like Godiva chocolates and journals and a Bandits teddy bear – awwwww!

  22. Buffie
    on Jun 27th, 2008
    @ 4:02 pm

    Yeah, well, there’s not much intellectual thinking going on when I’m selecting hotties.

    If you haven’t read any of JacquieD’s Blaze books, you reallly should try her stuff.

  23. Anna Campbell
    on Jun 27th, 2008
    @ 4:07 pm

    Buffie, I’ll check her out. I’ve met her – she’s a hoot. Really bubbly. I wish somebody would pay me to READ!!! And hey, I think it takes a lot of brains to pick out a good hottie. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

  24. Buffie
    on Jun 27th, 2008
    @ 4:09 pm

    Yes, she is a riot. Andrea and I met her at the Moonlight and Magnolias Conference in Atlanta last year. And we enjoyed a fabulous 3 hour lunch with her too. I could just sit and listen to her tell stories all day long. No wonder she writes fabulous books.

  25. AndreaW
    on Jun 28th, 2008
    @ 7:10 am

    Great review, Anna! And like Annie, I’m hooked!!

    And WOW, y’all have listed some great books! Yes, Kathryn Smith new contemporary, BEFORE I WAKE is excellent! It blew me away and I cannot gush enough about this book. Just ask Marisa. LOL My review for it will be posted soon. 😉 And I am so with MK about WHEN TWILIGHT BURNS by Colleen Gleason. Fantastic book!

  26. Anna Campbell
    on Jun 28th, 2008
    @ 12:19 pm

    Hey, Andrea, great to see you. Looking forward to seeing your review of Kate’s new book! Glad you enjoyed the review.

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