Review of: Labyrinth of Lies by Irene Hannon
This is the 2nd book in the author's Triple Threat series, and while I did read the first, I would agree they can be read as stand-alones (which is definitely a huge bonus!). Each of the 3 books here features one of 3 sisters which is the thread that ties them all together. I was very happy that this book started right off with little if any backstory to detract from the mystery at hand, but still includes appearances from Cate's sisters here & there which will be a treat for those who read the first novel. The author really does a fabulous job of creating a stand-alone story while including little bits & pieces to reference other books!
There was a bit of a formatting problem with the ebook, since there was no indication of a separation between viewpoints. It wasn't much of a problem to figure out whose "head" we were in, though, because the points of view were each very unique, and the reader quickly becomes familiar with the main characters.
I still found this to be a superb character-driven/ psychological mystery! I loved how Cate (a detective with the St. Louis PD) went undercover to play the role of a boarding school teen to find out what happened to a student and her boyfriend who had both gone missing. Cate's roommate, Kayla, was a wonderful addition to the story who unknowingly helped Cate work through some unresolved issues in her past. Sometimes voices of wisdom come from unexpected sources in our lives, after all!
When Cate runs into her ex-boyfriend, Zeke, a DEA agent also undercover as the school's new Spanish teacher to try to infiltrate a drug smuggling operation, their paths cross and the sparks fly!
I guessed who the villains were right off the bat, so there wasn't as much mystery or suspense as I would have liked. I also wish the author hadn't included a very random character who readers never saw to solve the mystery, and that aspect felt a bit contrived.
However, the real focus of the book was the story of how Cate & Zeke had to face their pasts and learn to work together and be honest with each other to put the missing pieces together.
I cannot say enough how much I appreciated the fact that this was clean read - meaning, no on-page violence, gore, cursing, etc. and how justice was served in the end (without unnecessary violence as well). Best of all, the author address key issues facing our society in such a compassionate way, I would allow my teenage daughter to read this book!