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February 19, 2011

Book Review - Face of Betrayal by Lis Wiehl

Today's book entry is yet another double feature.

I first saw Lis Wiehl on Fox News, as a regular guest on the O'Reilly Factor (I believe she was also his "sidekick" on his radio show). She has always come across as highly intelligent, a great prosecutor, and all of that good stuff.

Face of Betrayal (A Triple Threat Novel)I will refrain from mentioning her hotness (whoops! Too late).

Anyway, Face of Betrayal was the first book in the "Triple Threat" series of books, written with April Henry, about a federal prosecutor, an FBI agent, and a TV reporter, all of whom are friends and work together to solve crimes.

It's actually quite an interesting concept, and I was intrigued, but not intrigued enough to go out and buy it.

Hand of Fate (Triple Threat Series #2)Then the second book, Hand of Fate, came out, and showed up on the Curled Up With a Good Book list of books to review. Despite being the second book, I snapped it up. And wasn't that impressed. But I'll talk about that in a minute.

Face of Betrayal recently showed up on the list, and since I had read the second, I thought I'd give it a try. And it was so much better! I couldn't believe it. Not only that, but I think I understand what Wiehl's trying to do with the series now, so the second book has bumped up marginally from where it was before.

The first book introduces the whole concept of the Triple Threat. However, since I reviewed them out of order, let me introduce them out of order.

First, from my review of Hand of Fate:
"Jim Fate is a huge talk-radio success, syndicated in over 100 markets. He's opinionated, brusque, able to talk over anybody who's trying to argue with him (consider him a cross between Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly and Nancy Grace). Many people have a beef with him, and one of those people has killed him with a dangerous poison gas attack. In the ensuing panic, downtown Portland is evacuated, and the three women who make up the "Triple Threat" club - FBI Agent Nicole Hedges, Federal Prosecutor Allison Pierce and Crime Reporter Cassidy Shaw - are each affected by the situation in unique ways. Afterward, they have to team up to figure out just who hated Fate enough to kill him.

Hand of Fate is a fairly short book (around 300 pages), and it’s very disjointed. In most series, the character development comes out of the characters' reactions to the main plot, or perhaps within a subplot regarding something minor. In this book, some major events occur simply for the purposes of character development and have nothing to do with the main story. The entire Sarin gas scare at the beginning of the book ends up being mainly a character-development vehicle for these three women, and that's almost a third of the book."
As you can see, I wasn't that impressed, with the character development completely unrelated to the plot and seeming to just take up space in the novel. It was an interesting story, but too many issues marred my enjoyment of the book.

Now that I've read Face of Betrayal, it makes a bit more sense.
"One of the hazards of reading a continuing series out of order (not a trilogy that tells one story, but a series that involves the same characters in different stories) is that you may misinterpret what an author is trying to accomplish with the series. I discovered this after reading Face of Betrayal, the first "Triple Threat" novel by Lis Wiehl. The second book, Hand of Fate, employed tons of character development that had nothing to do with the main plot of the novel. After reading the first book, it's obvious that Wiehl is using this series both to present thrillers to the reader as well as exploring the characters she has created (it says "with April Henry," but it seems that Wiehl has done most of the plot and character work). Thankfully, Wiehl did a much better job of integrating everything thematically in Face of Betrayal, leaving the reader with a great book.

Katie Converse is a Senate page home in Portland for Christmas break. Everything seems perfect for the, at least publicly. When she disappears, though, seedy details of her life beyond the public image start to surface. A domineering mother, an anonymous blog of her time as a page that seems to indicate a relationship with a certain senator, an unhappy life - all provide conflicting signals as to who may have abducted her. Or killed her. FBI agent Nicole Hedges, federal prosecutor Allison Pearce and reporter Cassiday Shaw (the "Triple Threat" of the series) combine resources to figure out not only what happened but who did it as well."
The first book is well-worth a read. The second one not nearly so much, but it is better than I had originally thought, not that I understand Wiehl's motivation.

I hope another book comes out so we can see more of the three ladies. They have intriguing stories, and it will be interesting to see what Wiehl does with them.

And check out the reviews! Let me know what you think.


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