Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Mystery Book Review: False Fortune by Twist Phelan

Mysterious ReviewsMysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, has written a review of False Fortune by Twist Phelan. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.False Fortune by Twist Phelan

False Fortune by
A Pinnnacle Peak Mystery

Poisoned Pen Press (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 1-59058-363-9 (1590583639)
ISBN-13: 978-1-59058-363-0 (9781590583630)
Publication Date: September 2007
List Price: $24.95

Synopsis (from the publisher): Business attorney Hannah Dain is in such deep water not even her trusty kayak can keep her afloat. A trip to an abandoned uranium mine with her sister Shelby turns into a daring lake rescue. Then Hannah is appointed lead counsel in Shelby's pollution case on behalf of the local Indian tribe against the Feds - a case that some people will do anything to keep out of the courtroom. When things seem as if they can't get any stranger, a recently discovered family member shows up on Hannah's doorstep.

Review: Twist Phelan's fourth mystery in the Pinnacle Peak series, False Fortune, has attorney Hannah Dain involved in an unnecessarily complex case of the US government accused of polluting the land of a local Indian tribe.

Hannah, her half-sister Shelby, and lead council Franklin Rowley are trying to come to an agreement with the Federal Government over a pollution complaint by an Arizona tribe dating back 50 years. The government accepts full responsibility and has offered a very generous settlement. When Rowley has a heart attack, the court appoints Hannah as lead council and gives her two weeks to prepare her settlement case. Shelby, however, is not convinced the agreement is in the best interest of their clients, and disavows the settlement. When Hannah tries to seek the help of a friend to provide additional evidence against the government, they find their lives in danger. Those who are trying to cover up the crime are associated with government lawyers, local businessmen, and legal representatives for the Indian tribe, many of which won't just stop at a cover up, but are willing to commit murder to prevent this case from being heard.

A parallel storyline has Hannah discovering she has another half-sister, Anuya, who surprises Hannah by showing up and announcing that she intends to stay with her for a while. Anuya insists on accompanying Hannah on her investigation to find out who is polluting the reservation. Over the course of one night they have their tires slashed, are shot at, and hide out in a bat cave. On another night they are forced into a ditch, are shot at, and hide out in a cave that is later blasted shut forcing them to dig their way out. Throughout all this, Hannah learns who is doing the illegal dumping, but who is trying to kill them remains unknown.

Although there are some very interesting and quirky parts to False Fortune, it's rather tedious after a while. In spite of all the action, the story itself seems to falter, especially after Anuya enters the picture and Shelby inexplicably is shunted off to the sidelines. The mystery of who, what, where, and why seem lost in a convoluted plot which never seems to regain its early momentum.

Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of for contributing her review of False Fortune and to Poisoned Pen Press for providing an ARC of the book for this review.

Review Copyright © 2007 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved.

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