A Severed Hand in “Deadly Business”


In Deadly Business by Suzette Williams, Bailey Tucker has inherited her grandfather’s cleaning service, Maid for You, determining to learn every facet of the business. One night she leaves her business late, only to find a dark SUV blocking her van. Before she can do more than barely ask the owner to leave, the police pull up and arrest her for the murder of the two people in the car, one of whom is Bailey’s employee.

After getting released, Bailey takes over the cleaning shift of an employee with a sick child, going to clean at a funeral parlor. There she finds a severed hand with a scar on it. The police don’t know how to identity the hand, but Nate, her tech guy/ hacker, tells her he saw a photo of the hand in the webcam he hacked in order to offer protection to an employee who felt uncomfortable by a man who worked in one office. With plenty of unauthorized snooping, Bailey keeps getting in trouble with Detective Max Wellington, with whom she has a strong romantic attachment, over her snooping. Her problem with her personal attraction to him is that she knows that she shouldn’t date him because he isn’t a Christian. But regardless of issues in her personal life and conflict with Max over her investigating, Bailey is determined to find the truth.

The plot of Deadly Business started out strong, with an exciting premise of a severed hand. But then it slows down by the middle of the book, mostly spent with Bailey’s trying to resist her growing attraction to Max. However, the plot does speed up as it nears the end, with more mystery details. My biggest complaint, though, is that it leaves a lot of questions unanswered, leaving a dramatic cliffhanger. Readers of my reviews will know that I have a big issue with cliffhangers, seeing them as a form of trying to manipulate the reader into buying the next book.

I didn’t connect with the characters in this book very well. Bailey annoys me in her general attitude towards Max and the case. She insists upon pursuing it in illegally sneaky ways even after the police have stopped considering her a person of interest. She uses a lot of sarcasm throughout, which becomes tiresome. Max comes across as a playboy, which he shows upon Bailey’s first meeting with him, when he suggests going out to have some fun, which Bailey points out means a casual sexual relationship.

One thing that bothered me is that Bailey is determined not to date or marry a man who is not a Christian, not because she has her own personal beliefs against such marriages but because she doesn’t want to disappoint her father. An adult should have her own set of morals and not live according to her parents’ personal rules. Further, while I think Deadly Business is meant to be a book positive towards Christians, it makes Christians look negative and judgmental, especially since the only Christian content deals with Bailey’s guilt about her desire to date a non-Christian and occasional bouts of guilt over not having attended church since she moved to take over the new business. Also, the terminology of not being unequally yoked would make no sense to people not schooled in Christian language. Actually, we are made to root for Bailey and Max to come together. As a Christian myself, I was bothered by the way Christianity is portrayed in this book. The issue would be more believable if we saw Bailey live a Christian life besides just refusing to be with a non- Christian.

Allyson Voller performs the audio edition of Deadly Business. She does a good job of playing the part of Bailey, who gives a first- person narration of the book. She gives both Bailey and Max effective voices and does a good job with the overly emotional narration of Bailey’s. She definitely helps to make this book more enjoyable than it likely would be if I were to have read it visually.

I felt that Deadly Business had strengths when it focused on the actual murder, but it lost momentum as it continued before picking up towards the end. I enjoyed the book a lot at times and grew a little bored at other times. I give the book three stars.

Disclaimer: I received this book for free through Audiobook BOOM, but that had no influence upon the content of my review.

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