Monday, June 01, 2009

Mystery Book Review: Face of Betrayal by Lis Wiehl

Mysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, is publishing a new review of Face of Betrayal by Lis Wiehl. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.

Face of Betrayal by Lis Wiehl

by
A Triple Threat Mystery

Thomas Nelson (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 1-59554-705-3 (1595547053)
ISBN-13: 978-1-59554-705-7 (9781595547057)
Publication Date: April 2009
List Price: $24.99

Review: Lis Wiehl introduces three professional women, a Federal Prosecutor, an FBI Special Agent, and a Portland television news reporter, who call themselves the Triple Threat after a dessert they share weekly over which they discuss various aspects of their lives in Face of Betrayal.

When a 17-year-old girl goes missing, presumed kidnapped, all three women are brought together on the same case. Nicole Hedges, the FBI agent, is in charge of the investigation while Allison Pierce is pressured to find the perpetrator quickly. Cassidy Shaw, the reporter, is the face that brings the news, or lack thereof, to the viewing audience. It quickly becomes apparent that the missing girl, a page in the US Senate home for the Christmas holidays, was involved, possibly romantically, with the senior Senator from Oregon. Though he denies any wrongdoing, and claims that he had nothing to do with her being missing, the circumstantial evidence is overwhelming. Together the three women work the case from all angles, determined to uncover the truth behind the young girl's disappearance.

Face of Betrayal is all about character. Though the main plot involves the missing girl and serves to unify the women against a common danger, each of the characters has a compelling subplot unrelated to the case. Nicole, a black woman, feels she needs to work harder and smarter than her colleagues in the FBI. She's a single mother with a mysterious past in a job that requires her to be always prepared, on duty 24 hours a day. Allison, a hard-as-nails prosecutor, is newly pregnant after years of trying; she desperately wants a child but is concerned how she is going to be able to manage a family and a career. She's also being threatened by person or persons unknown, presumably as a result of one of her convictions. Cassidy is top local television talent, but wants more. She sees this case as her way out of Portland onto the national stage. She's also in an abusive relationship with a new boyfriend, something she refuses to recognize.

The author manages to keep these disparate subplots moving along at a brisk clip, but by moving in and out of them on a regular basis sacrifices much of the suspense that could have been generated by the primary case. There are, too, an unfortunate number of trite, stereotypical clich├ęs presented (the right-wing Senator involved with an underage girl, prime among them) but on the whole, Face of Betrayal is a strong introduction to this series featuring a distinctive cast of appealing characters.

Special thanks to Goldberg McDuffie Communications for providing a copy of Face of Betrayal for this review.

Review Copyright © 2009 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved

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Synopsis (from the publisher): While home on Christmas break, a seventeen-year-old Senate page takes her dog out for a walk and never returns. Reporter Cassidy Shaw is the first to break the story. The resulting media firestorm quickly ensnares Federal Prosecutor Allison Pierce and FBI Special Agent Nicole Hedges. The three unique women are life-long friends who call themselves The Triple Threat--a nickname derived from their favorite dessert and their uncanny ability to crack cases via their three positions of power.

Though authorities think Katie might have been kidnapped or run away, those theories shatter when Nicole uncovers Katie's blog. They reveal a girl troubled by a mysterious relationship with an older man. Possibly a U.S. Senator.

As the three women race against time to find Katie alive, their increasing emotional involvement brings out their own inner demons and external enemies. There are many faces of betrayal, but they must find one face in a crowd of growing suspects before they become the next victims.

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