Monday, April 5, 2010

Hand of Fate by Lis Wiehl, April Henry

book cover

Hand of Fate
by Lis Wiehl
with April Henry

Hardback: 321 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
First Released: 2010

Author Website

Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Back Cover Description:
When the host of a popular Portland, OR radio talk show is murdered, the Triple Threat Club—a federal prosecutor, an FBI agent, and a journalist—must narrow down the lengthy list of suspects who wanted him dead.

Outspoken radio talk show host Jim Fate dies tragically and dramatically when poisonous gas fills his recording booth while his show, “The Hand of Fate” is on air. In the ensuing panic, police evacuate downtown Portland, leaving FBI Special Agent Nicole Hedges trapped in a high-rise building.

Crime reporter Cassidy Shaw is the only journalist brave enough to report from the scene as chaos overtakes the streets. And federal prosecutor Allison Pierce must rescue a child separated from her family even as she escapes the danger herself.

In the days following Fate’s murder, these three colleagues and friends team up to piece together the not-so public life of Jim Fate in order to uncover the stunning truth of who killed him—and why.

Hand of Fate is the second novel in this well-written, fast-paced detective mystery/suspense series. The novel is perfectly understandable without reading the first novel in the series, but it will probably still be more enjoyable if you start with the first book, The Face of Betrayal.

The characters were realistic and interesting, and they struggled with realistic personal troubles even as they worked to solve the case. The world-building about the city and the jobs was excellent. It felt like this story really was happening somewhere--or, at least, that it could happen. The level of detail never slowed the fast pacing.

It was a clever mystery. I was a bit surprised that they overlooked an obvious odd point to the crime until the end, but noting it earlier probably wouldn't have changed their course of investigation. The only downside to the mystery was that the authors are already following a pattern, so I knew what to expect and figured out the killer (though not why) before they did. On the other hand, the suspense was handled better than in the first novel, and that kept me turning the pages with interest.

One of the main characters (and a few minor ones) were Christian. Their faith affected how they lived their lives and dealt with a crisis, but they weren't pushy about it with others. I wouldn't really label this a "Christian book." I think both Christians and non-Christians would really enjoy it.

There is no sex, and I don't recall any bad language. Overall, I'd highly recommend this novel as well-written, clean reading.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt from Chapter One
KNWS Radio
Tuesday, February 7

Jim Fate bounced on the toes of his black Salvatore Ferragamo loafers. He liked to work on his feet. Listeners could hear it in your voice if you were sitting down, could detect the lack of energy. He leaned forward, his lips nearly touching the silver mesh of the mike.

“Can massive federal spending and a huge new layer of government bureaucracy really make the United States a better, safer place? Or is it a matter of simply enforcing the food safety laws the states already have on the books? For more than a century, our food safety system has been built on the policy that food companies—not government—have the primary responsibility for the safety and integrity of the foods they produce.”

“So what are you suggesting, Jim?” Victoria Hanawa, his cohost, asked. “Are you saying we just let more Americans die when they buy food a company couldn’t bother to keep clean?”

She sat on a high stool on the other side of the U-shaped table, her back to the glass wall that separated the radio studio from the screener’s booth. To Jim’s right was the control room, sometimes called the news tank, where the board operator worked his bank of equipment and where one or more local reporters joined him at the top and the bottom of the hour.

“What I’m saying, Hanawa, is that activists are seizing on the latest salmonella scare to further their own goals of increasing the power of the federal government. They don’t really care about these people. They only care about their own agenda, which is to create a nanny state full of burdensome, unworkable, and costly regulation. And of course the federal government, being the federal government, believes that the only solution to any problem is adding another layer—or ten—of federal government.”

While he spoke, Jim eyed the two screens in front of him. One displayed the show schedule. It was also hooked up to the Internet so he could look up points on the fly. The other screen showed the listeners holding for their chance to talk. On it, Chris had listed the name, town, and point of view of each caller. Three people were still on the list, meaning they would hold over the upcoming break. Now a fourth caller and a fifth joined the queue.

Read more of chapter one.


Sheila Deeth said...

I like it. Definitely going to have to look out for it.

Genre Reviewer said...


Thanks for taking the time to comment! I certainly enjoyed the novel, and I hope you do, too. :)

Tammy Griffin said...

I read this book too. I enjoyed without reading her first book. A clever suspense/mystery.

Genre Reviewer said...


Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts on this novel. :)