Swan Deception

Swan Deception_A psychological thriller_400x638

By Glede Kabongo

Author Photo_Glede Kabongo_b&w



Shelby Cooper has a past she’d like to keep hidden. Of course, it won’t be. Her troubles begin when she tries to help a friend disappear from a bad marriage. Said friend ends up dead in her automobile trunk. Shelby is arrested for murder. Her husband, Jason, takes steps to prove her innocence. The troubles aren’t over for her family as her daughter, Abbie, has to contend with a stalker and Jason has problems with a coworker. Oh, and let’s not forget about Jason’s past.

A lot going on here. Some interesting sidelines, but a concern I had was it jumped right into matters with hardly any set up. Sometimes that works but I felt like I do when I watch many British mysteries…as if I’ve come in part way into the story and should already understand what is happening.


Shelby Durant Cooper: 40, black, has a doctorate, large eyes, works in bioinformatics, drives a Mercedes, owns a motorcycle, owns a Golden Retriever, attended Duke and Johns Hopkins, has a brother

Jason Cooper: black, Shelby’s husband, handsome, CFO for Orphion Technologies, father worked for a brokerage firm, has a sister, attended Duke and Texas University

Abbie Cooper: 15, Shelby’s daughter, black hair

Miles Cooper: 11, Shelby’s son

Andrew Clarke: banker, volunteer fireman, large frame, married

Mia Lansing: black, blonde, wears colored contacts, smokes electronic cigarettes, freckles

Greg Marr: co-founder of Bryant International, fit, tanned, salt and pepper hair

Dr. Singer: psychiatrist, attended Harvard, mostly white hair, married with children, owns a dog

Tom Bilko: private investigator, former cop, 6’5”, large arms

Vivian March: Shelby’s friend, thin, art consultant, attended the Art Institute of Chicago

Rayne Revington: 20s, bachelor’s in education, taught kindergarten, brown eyes

Shelby has a stalker who’s making over threats and she acts like she’s a former covert agent. Yes, she’s fearful, but her actions match a professional operative rather than a research assistant/mother. That’s fine, but the reader needs to know that she’s been an operative at the outset. Otherwise, the character comes off as not believable.


The first couple of conversations between Shelby and the bad guy didn’t seem right. Yes, Shelby has a range of emotions because of these conversations, but it’s not exhibited in the dialogue, especially the first encounter. I didn’t see the fear and confusion.

Abbie doesn’t sound fifteen at times, but several years older.

Some of the dialogue sounds forced.


Book divided up into title Parts. Part of the story is first person from Shelby’s POV. Other parts are third person. Relatively short chapters. Profanity. Written in present tense from Shelby’s POV, past tense when it’s third person. One or two times the tense gets switched within one part.

One of the problems I had with the story is the secondary plot regarding one of Shelby’s friends and her efforts to help him and his daughters disappear. The situation is introduced almost as if the reader should know everything about it. There is very little background information. Again, the way Shelby reacts doesn’t fit her character. How would she know to arrange the things she arranges? Plus, the reason for the disappearance isn’t explained. There’s spousal abuse, but I wouldn’t think that would necessarily warrant a trip abroad. Plus, it’s later revealed the guy was going back to his home country, which would be an obvious choice if anybody cared to investigate.

Continuity error: Abbie blocks a boy from texting her on her cell phone and doesn’t reverse the action. Yet days later she receives a text from him.

Some grammar and punctuations errors.

I mentioned some subplots above and I wonder if there aren’t too many. This reads like a soap opera with connections spider-webbing off. This gets complex but there was enough to keep me interested.

My Rank:

Green Belt



Posted on March 23, 2015, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: