Ultimate Deception
Reviewed By: Susan Keefe
Susan Keefe reviews novels, poetry and non-fiction books for TheColumbiaReview.com

Crossing borders, politics and religion, this powerful legal thriller exposes the reaches of international governments with sleeper spies who infiltrate vulnerable targets. It highlights cleverly the very real danger of those seemingly innocent internet chat rooms, places where the young, angry, and resentful post hot-head comments. Immigrant Abdul Alnoor, whose mother was killed in an American bombing in Iraq, discovers just how dangerous this pastime can be when his outspoken comments online implicate him in a terrorist campaign. As the plot develops, the death toll rises, and secrets are revealed.

Michael Winstead is the author of Ultimate Deception, the second novel in his ‘Ultimate’ series. Here, he uses his experience as an attorney for over 30 years to bring to his readers the drama and suspense of a terrorist prosecution—and clandestine cases tried in a secret courtroom.

Refreshingly, in this legal thriller with a twist, Ultimate Deception chronicles the vigilante exploits of Raleigh Westlake, a federal judge in North Carolina, whom we originally met in the first book, Ultimate Verdict. The Judge and his cohorts are incensed at the ability of those with power, influence, and money to manipulate the justice system. They hold their own secret court sessions in a mobile courtroom. Behind closed doors, in this ‘special’ court, there is no mercy—only true justice. In this courtroom, the guilty pay the ultimate price.

However, Winstead also exposes the human side of the vigilantes:. When one of their own seeks revenge for a crime against a family member, it becomes apparent that even they can become blind to the truth. Anger and vengeance are deep-seated emotions, and even those trained to be impartial can find them hard to control. The central conflict in this story is whether the vigilantes will be able to remain steadfast in their strong sense of righteousness in the official halls of justice, and in their secret court, even when faced with their own peril.

In summary: Ultimate Deception is an action-packed story that will be loved by people who enjoy suspense and legal thrillers. Laced with intrigue, yet thought-provoking, Michael Winstead’s second novel successfully combines an excellent plot with a fascinating glimpse into courts and the criminal justice system. – Susan Keefe, TheColumbiaReview.com