“Truth be told, I took it as a sign of betrayal. And betrayal in my life is unforgivable, something I simply won’t tolerate.” – Michael DeVeccio
As Chicago art curator Margot Montgomery comes to realize in Sharon Donovan’s debut, Mask of the Betrayer, Michael DeVeccio is deadly serious about not tolerating betrayal. Trained from a young age by his uncle to be the ultimate killing machine, DeVeccio also happens to be a dashingly handsome billionaire “with the face of a fallen angel,” which makes for a dangerous combination.
Swept off her feet by DeVeccio in a whirlwind romance, Margot marries him and moves into his fortress-like mansion in the foothills of Red Rock Canyon. And while it is somewhere she should feel safe, there is a killer stalking Red Rock, one who is targeting people close to DeVeccio. Only after she’s in too deep does Margot fully realize just what she’s gotten into, and that the killer is closer than she could ever have imagined.
Her only hope at getting out alive comes in the form of cop Diego Santiago. Having worked a case similar to the current murders ten years prior, Santiago is convinced they are the work of the same killer; one who was never caught, and who Santiago believes to be Michael DeVeccio.
Author Sharon Donovan has created a truly nasty character in Michael DeVeccio, and the ugliness he is capable of makes for an interesting juxtaposition with the beautiful setting of Red Rock Canyon. Personally, I would have just shot him once I found out what was going on, but that wouldn’t have made for such a good book… nor a very long one. Instead, despite revealing DeVeccio for who he is very early in the book, Donovan still manages to ratchet up the psychological tension relentlessly, pushing both Margot and the reader right to the very edge before a climactic end-of-book showdown.