deceiver of mindsRating: 4.5 stars
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Length: Novel

 

Deceiver of Minds is the fifth book in Season 3 of Jordan L. Hawk’s amazing SPECTR series. The books are written in serial form and read as one long story, with a new overarching plot each season. Therefore, this review will spoil previous key events in the series (but not for this book). SPECTR is one of my all time favorite series, so if you haven’t started yet, jump in with Season 1!

John Starkweather is still reeling from all his recent discoveries… including that he is not actually the real John Starkweather. He is struggling with the idea that SPECTR, the organization that he saw as his family, is actually behind all the horrible things that have befallen him. Now that he is starting to get his memories back, John knows that he needs to find the others who were held at the same facility with him, the ones who hatched the plan to escape along with him. All of them share the same false memories and John needs to make sure they know the truth.

Caleb and Gray want nothing more than to be there for John, but they are struggling with the fact that they are being kept on the sidelines. They worry that Caleb’s possession is bringing up bad memories for John of his own forced possession and fear that it is causing distance between them. It is hard watching John go off with Ryan while they are left behind, but John fears that Caleb and Gray’s more volatile nature may make the delicate situation even more complicated.

However, when they learn that SPECTR has been tracking and monitoring them, the men realize that they can no longer continue to pretend ignorance where the organization is concerned. Yet, at the same time, they can’t just flee, as there is no way SPECTR would tolerate Gray being off grid and out of their supervision. As Caleb, Gray, and John try to stay one step ahead of SPECTR, more secrets are revealed that once again change everything for the men.

The SPECTR series has always been an incredible thrill ride and this season is no exception. The story has been amping up over the last few books as we learn the secrets of John’s past and it just keeps getting more explosive. I thought that learning about the false memories and SPECTR’s role in it all would be the big reveal, however, yet again we get some major new information that shakes things up. I will admit to having some suspicions in this regard, but absolutely zero idea in terms of how it actually played out. Jordan L. Hawk has been just masterful this season with the way he has built the suspense and parsed out the details. Each book builds on one another and the drama and excitement just keeps coming. The story is suspenseful and intense and so nicely twisty. I am absolutely loving the way the mystery is unfolding here and learning the truth about SPECTR and John’s past.

This third season has really been John’s story, which I think works well given that the first two seasons were more Caleb and Gray focused. It is also less about the individual book investigations and more on the big picture of the series. This book sets things up well for the next one (maybe the last of the season?) and I think the shift in focus has really been a great way to expand this larger world and take things in new directions.

John, Caleb, and Gray are one of my favorite romance relationships and I continue to adore them all. This season we have seen John more on his own without the other two, as they have often been split up for investigations. I think this makes sense for the story, particularly given what we learn here. And it has given a chance to get some of the side characters additional focus, such as more time with Night and Ryan. But I do miss seeing our leads together more this season. The connection between them is still clear, but we get very little on page time. Now that some things have shaken up, I’m hoping that we get more time with the three of them coming soon.

As I said, this is one of my all time favorite series and I feel like it just keeps getting better and better. I love the direction Hawk has taken things this season and this book is so exciting and captivating, I could hardly put it down.

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