The Bottom Line: A chilling conspiracy thriller that dares to explore some of society’s most divisive moral questions. Highly recommended.
Told from alternating points of view, Justifiable Deceit begins as teenager Tierra Campos describes a deadly school shooting in which his own demise seems inevitable. A decade later, Campos is a journalist who has just landed her first big interview. Her subject? Ethan Harrington, a fellow school shooting survivor and the country’s leading gun control activist.
The interview will be marketed as “one shooting victim interviewing another.” Ambitious Tierra is paying her dues for the sake of her career, but the stakes are far higher for Ethan, who is teaming up with a prominent senator to push a controversial gun control bill through congress. But the heady interview sparks far more than either can imagine, as Tierra loses her job, gets hacked and receives death threats.
Meanwhile, no-nonsense FBI agent Victoria has learned that footage from Ethan’s school shooting disappeared after being entered into evidence. That’s only the first vexing problem she’ll find, leading to an exploration of a potentially explosive and complex conspiracy that threatens to shake American society to its core.
Author Mikael Carlson, a former U.S. Army Paratrooper and retired Army National Guardsman, has created a compelling conspiracy thriller that deftly explores the role of manipulation in the quest for justice. As a writer, Carlson specializes in dialogue and situations that transcend the page and engage readers on an emotional and visceral level (check the scenes featuring “Skull Face” for a prime example).
Readers seeing political affirmation of their personal political views on the 2nd Amendment should look elsewhere, as Carlson deftly explores the nature of American politics, media and multiple dilemmas facing law enforcement through uncommonly well-drawn characters. More importantly, Justifiable Deceit is simply an exceptionally entertaining book with sky-high stakes.