A Web of Deceit

Fiction - Suspense
266 Pages
Reviewed on 02/27/2021
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Jon Michael Miller for Readers' Favorite

A Web of Deceit by Gary D. McGugun is a high-paced international suspense thriller set during the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic that will keep you on the edge of your seat. It will also keep your mind alert with all its twists and turns and multiple, complex, well-drawn characters. As a matter of fact, Mr. McGugun is kind and prescient enough to provide us with an introductory chart listing all the players re the organizations they represent. The groups are threefold: Multima Corporation, a conglomerate of food corporations; The Organization, an international crime endeavor; and various global law enforcement bodies. And the two protagonists who face off are the straight-shooting Suzanne Simson of the first group, and the sexy Fidella Morales, head of the crime syndicate. Finally, a subterranean player is a deadly virus.

The narrative gets you on the edge of your seat right away with Suzanne’s mysterious arrest for money-laundering and with the brutal assassination of Fidella’s European competitor. Witness to the murder is another intriguing character, Howard Knight, who must find his way from the crime scene in Martinique to Canada and points Oriental. He fits into Mr. McGugun’s “freelancer” category, and his role will surprise you. The whole book is a series of almost unrelenting surprises, and everyone uses digital technology and money markets to win this potentially world-wrecking competition. These are high-end players in a high-end novel of intrigue, violence, money, and sex all in worldwide settings. It’s hard to put down as it unfolds step by step and keeps you turning the pages.

Christopher Anderson

In his aptly titled book, A Web of Deceit, Gary D McGugan introduces the reader to a masterful web of deceit as we meet Susan Simpson, the chief executive officer of a worldwide business empire, Multima Supermarkets. When she and the chief financial officer, Heather Strong, are arrested along with Multima financial services President Wilma Willingsworth and all three are charged with money laundering, the plot thickens. Alberto Ferer, the firm's legal counsel, and Jeb Kastigate’s law firm try to get to the bottom of these seemingly ridiculously outrageous charges. The author brings in twists and turns as this fast-moving story introduces other characters that are involved such as the head of the world’s largest crime syndicate, Giancarlo Mareno, who is murdered by Fidelia Morales who takes over his position in the syndicate. Find out how well her connections are within the FBI and all the way up to the White House and how all this is connected to Susan Simpson.

Gary D McGugan writes in a way that is easily understood and believable in this exciting book. He introduces characters to the story that allows you, the reader, to form a mental picture of what is going on in each scene while we are flown off in private jets to different parts of the world where crimes are plotted and put into operation. A story of how high-tech computer espionage and computer algorithms and worms are put in place to influence the world’s stock markets. As the book unfolds, you connect with the different characters and the emotions they feel such as shock, horror, fear, sorrow, sadness, mental anguish, physical pain, and desperation, all mixed in with the unknown when the Corona Virus (COVID 19) is becoming a pandemic. This all brings the book to vivid life.

Vincent Dublado

A Web of Deceit is a suspense thriller that does not go around in circles. Gary D. McGugan has created three characters in a plot filled with intrigue and deception. Suzanne Simpson has no idea that FBI agents will put her in cuffs on accusations of corporate money laundering. She must hold it together and prove her innocence. At the same time, Fidelia Morales is taking the necessary steps to take over as the head of an organized crime group known as The Organization. Part of it is to secure Stan Tan’s support—the man who masterfully manages the cybercrime operations of The Organization in Asia. Meanwhile, Howard Knight is trying to figure out what to do next after Fidelia drops him off on a sidewalk after a hit on crime boss Giancarlo Mareno. On the run, he charters a plane to the Caribbean to get in touch with his connections. These developments begin to lead Suzanne to a web of deceit perpetrated by brilliant people that she knows.

As the main protagonist, Suzanne may appear as the stereotypical executive accused of a corporate crime, but this impression is gradually eradicated as she demonstrates depth in dealing with the crisis that she faces. Gary D. McGugan does not let her have the spotlight alone as it is a story of three people and how their lives come together to create a character-driven story. The ending has a satisfying climax, and the way each chapter has a timestamp is a creative effect that heightens the pace. A Web of Deceit strikes a balance between character and information, which is lacking in many suspense thriller novels. It is a fast-paced, easy reading that will not disappoint fans of the genre.

Susan Sewell

Right as the pandemic is starting to spread across the globe, the leader of a worldwide criminal organization is murdered, and his replacement is taking advantage of cyber networks to bilk banks and corporations in the suspenseful thriller, A Web of Deceit by Gary D. McGugan. Fidelia Morales has a brilliant criminal mind. Murdering Giancarlo Marena, her boss, is just the beginning. Howard Knight is Fidelia's former lover and complicit in Giancarlo's death. Howard doesn't want to work for the Organization, and he travels to Saigon to hide. Wendal Randall is a brilliant cyber hacker that helped Fidelia set her plans to overthrow Giancarlo in motion. Suzanne Simpson is the head of a large corporation left to her by her father. Recently, a powerful person with ties to The White House has set the FBI on Suzanne's company and had her and her colleagues arrested for corporate money laundering. With a worldwide pandemic taking place, these four individuals fight for their professional positions and reputations while taking their career trajectories to a whole new level. But with Fidelia masterminding their lives from behind the scenes, will any of them survive?

Including conspiracy and murder, A Web of Deceit by Gary D. McGugan is an exciting crime thriller. The story is broken up into various points of view, letting the reader observe each character's experience. The author, Mr. McGugan, incorporates some fascinating business aspects that coincide effectively with the commercial impact the Covid pandemic brought to the corporate world. The criminal and international elements combined with intrigue and violence create an intense and dramatic storyline. It is a tale filled with deception and murder that will entertain fans of suspense and crime thrillers. With scenes containing violence, sexual encounters, and strong language, the story is appropriate for a more mature reader.

Asher Syed

A Web of Deceit by Gary D. McGugan is a suspense novel that follows three individuals within arm's-length of each other in a convergence of events, notwithstanding a coronavirus pandemic that sweeps the globe. The book begins with questioning between Multima Corporation's CEO Suzanne Simpson and the FBI, a shock arrest that leaves her shaky as share prices tumble. Also in a state of decline is Howard Knight, who hangs on to the hope that the new head of The Organization, a cartel he'd joined as a legacy right out of college, will make good on a promise to get him off the radar of The Organization, as well as a second organization, The International Criminal Police. That new head is Fidelia Morales who grasps the position of defacto Capomandamento in a way that attaches Suzanne and Howard to her marionette strings.

A Web of Deceit is a well-crafted story that allows globe-hopping for the armchair tourist in their own pandemic, and a tight string of plots for readers who expect a bit more. Gary D. McGugan delivers on both fronts with a read that is clean and easy to follow, with some nice human elements that make the characters easier to connect to, even if we don't fall in love with them. I really liked Howard, especially as his backstory begins to fill itself in. He's experienced loss and has plenty of regrets, and as he hides in low-key Asian locales he has more than enough time to simmer in them. As a woman fighting for her professional life and her future freedom, Suzanne ticks all of the boxes, whereas Fidelia initially comes off a little caricaturish. She's a woman who takes some time to grow on a reader, even with flashy pantsuits and kitten heels. Unsurprisingly, I enjoyed her page time more when she's talking to Howard, who wants nothing more than to unhitch his old wagon from her shooting star. Highly recommended.