Summer reading programs were a highlight of my childhood. I got several great, free books from Barnes & Noble by completing their summer reading challenge. Sammy Keyes and the Art of Deception was not one of the books I selected. My brother, however, did. And because I read everything in my house, I eventually read this one. And became utterly obsessed. Eventually my brother even gave me his copy of the book. Though he liked it, his enjoyment was nothing compared to mine. I reread and reread this book, and finally realized I could read the rest of the series via the library. And so my love for this series began. Ironically, this is not one of my favorite of the series. It’s very much average in comparison to some of the other books in the series. Even so, I wouldn’t love the series without this book.
Side Note: My brothers and I convinced mom to let us try mac and cheese with salsa because of this book. It saddens me to say I did not find it “god-like.”
Sammy attends an art gallery reception with Grams and Hudson. And since trouble follows Sammy everywhere, someone decides to rob the gallery during the reception. With a squirt gun. Just your standard Sammy Keyes day. (I mean that in a good way.)
In school, everything focuses on art, or the Renaissance Fair. Casey kisses Sammy’s hand while playing a “Renaissance” character, so Heather spends the book trying to keep them apart. Also, Billy Pratt is included for more than five seconds. Though not important before this book, he’s a pretty central character for the rest of the series.
I wasn’t an artist growing up, but I loved reading fiction that focused on art and art history. The topic is so fun! It’s probably why I loved this book so much.
There’s a lot of cool, subtles twists in this one in regards to the mystery. It’s also nice that this one isn’t so inherently dangerous. The previous three books included a drug bust, crazy murderer and gang entanglements that often put Sammy’s life at risk. This one brings a change of pace. The mystery is unclear at first, and so different from the previous books that we don’t even have police involvement. Unless I somehow missed it, Officer Borsch doesn’t appear or get mentioned at all in this book.
The relationships in Art of Deception develop so well. We meet Billy, and see the beginnings of his dynamic with Sammy’s squad. We see more of Danny Urbanski, and the role he’s going to play for the rest of the series. Trouble hits Grams and Hudson’s relationship, with artist Diane playing the third point in a love triangle with these two.
Most importantly, Casey becomes an official love interest for Sammy. If he wasn’t on the reader’s radar before this book, he has to be after this one. Heather will spend the rest of the series trying to keep the two apart.
There’s a lot of laughs in this one, and after a few dark turns from the previous books, the series begins to feel a bit lighter. All in all, it’s a fun read and it ultimately was a good place for me to begin this series.