Monday, April 5, 2010

Book Review: Hand of Fate by Lis Wiehl and April Henry

FBI Agent Nicole Hedges, Federal Prosecutor Allison Pierce and TV news reporter Cassidy Shaw form the Triple Threat Club--friends united by their mutual passions for justice and dark chocolate. This second book of the series has them working to solve the murder of radio personality Jim Fate. The problem is not who would want kill him--the problem is, who wouldn't? A bombastic, over-opinated loud-mouth, this is a man who uses even his own hate mail to boost his ratings, handing out "Nut of the Day" awards on the air for the wackiest emails and insults he receives. Former lovers, envious co-workers, corrupt politicians and people he has bullied and mocked on the air provide a daunting list of suspects.

This was a fun read. It's billed as a thriller, but I would describe it more as a crime drama. It reminded me strongly of TV shows like Law & Order, CSI, and Numb3rs. Strong characterization is nicely woven together with almost non-stop action, and well-chosen details about law and media sketch in the professions of the protagonists well. And Portland here is written very much as itself--not just as a generic city. I appreciate the light, realistic touch that the authors give religion here. Each of the three protagonists has a different religious viewpoint (Christian, cynically de-churched and agnostic), and each is written simply and fairly. Our beliefs influence how we interact with the world around us and we don't all believe the same thing. The authors clearly intend to follow these themes out over the course of the series, but I appreciate the fact that they don't seem to be in any hurry to come to quick solutions and canned answers. Real change usually is slow and organic, after all. My one real complaint with the book was towards the end, with a twist that seemed to come out of left field. Would there have been a mystery if they had found that key piece of information on page 50 instead of 250? Maybe not. On the other hand, is it realistic that it would have taken that long for that to turn up? Um, yes. Definitely.

I'd have no hesitation in recommending this book to someone looking for a good piece of beach reading for Spring Break. I'll probably go and get the first of the series now from the library and will definitely look for the third coming out next year.

Three and a half stars out of five.

1 comment:

Jen @ Little Bit This n That said...

I reviewed the book for Book Sneeze too and had many of the same thoughts. I think I will also try to pick up the first book. You're right a good vacation read!