A great deal of the story is centered on the fact that someone is innocent until their guilt is proven in a court of law. Until all the details are brought out in the open, two individuals must face numerous obstacles that deeply affect their current relationship and often cause much anguish. Virna DePaul gives the hero and heroine plenty of life experiences, especially when they must search for answers relating to physical threats while moments of unexpected happiness also take place. DEADLY CHARADE has escalating danger and one emotional confrontation after another.
Although Tony Cooper knows he will never again be in the life of Linda Delaney, he still thinks about the future they could have shared if his actions would not have caused her to doubt him. It has been a long time since they spoke, but they once again see each other when he is blamed for killing a well-known drug dealer. Now Tony is in court for arraignment proceedings and she is to be his criminal prosecutor. Upon discovering one of the defendants in court is the man whom she once loved, Linda gets another lawyer to take over for her as she is too close to the accused.
Since Tony is really an undercover police officer but is pretending to have committed criminal acts, he must get everyone to believe he is a changed man with a ruthless personality. He may be taking a chance with his own life, but is willing to do so in order to hopefully find out who is selling a very dangerous drug. While he may not care about himself, he will not risk Linda being harmed and does all he can to push her away. He may hurt her emotionally, but at least she can remain safe unless she is too stubborn.
Using knowledge she learned as an actual criminal prosecutor, Virna DePaul makes her story totally convincing when it comes to legal procedures. The emotional conflicts between her main couple are also very realistic, as these problems could very well happen in the life of an average person. I lost count of the times I became profoundly involved in the lives of Tony and Linda, since so much goes wrong in their relationship. They frequently cannot hide the distress they feel when the other says something hurtful or a certain deed causes inner despair. Ms. DePaul had me understanding the feelings of these two on quite a few occasions, and I particularly wanted to cry for Tony when he had to keep how he really felt a secret. He is definitely a tortured hero because he wants to do what is right, but the cost to him is exceedingly high and each agonizing moment clearly comes across through skillful writing. I just wanted to hug this amazing man so many times for all he had prevailed over. Both he and Linda had been introduced in an earlier book by Ms. DePaul, but plenty about their background is given throughout the story so that nothing feels like it has been missed. While they may be able to keep a lot about their lives a secret from the other, the one area where Tony and Linda are extremely compatible plus honest is when they have sex. These encounters are often adventurous and always satisfying. Between threatening incidents in their lives and feelings that must remain unspoken, I never knew what type of situation would crop up next. DEADLY CHARADE is a passionate romance filled with unpredicted peril.