The Betrayal

Sabin Willett, Author Villard Books $25 (0p) ISBN 978-0-679-44853-2
Louisa Shidler, the mercurial heroine of Willett's absorbing if extravagant second thriller (after The Deal), has been betrayed by her philandering husband, but she accepts that. What she can't accept is finding out she's being used as a cover for her boss and mentor, Royall Stillwell, top gun at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and Republican candidate for vice president. So when Louisa discovers that Stillwell has deposited $50 million in a Swiss bank account in her name, she confronts him with his betrayal. Next thing she knows, she's being ordered to plead guilty to trumped-up federal charges of bribery and money laundering, or her abducted 12-year-old daughter Isabel will be raped and murdered. Louisa complies for a while, then bolts on a cross-country search for Isabel. Meanwhile, Louisa's arrest has mobilized her other mentor, Mac, crusty managing editor of the Washington Herald. Will Mac get the story before Louisa is nabbed by the shadowy Republican goon squad (or, perhaps worse, the FBI)? In Louisa and Mac, Willett creates attractive, full-bodied characters, noble and smart but deeply flawed. (The snobbish Louisa on meeting her lawyer: ""A man with stones set into his wedding ring is going to be her advocate?""). Suspense builds in real time as Willett lovingly lingers over the legal niceties of Louisa's predicament, and the juicy dialogue reads like privileged information (""Louisa, do you know what democracy is? It's a client base, honey""). But the chapters written in Isabel's voice are intrusive, and the last third of the book spins out of control as Louisa, now a peroxide-blonde seductress, improbably takes up arms against her former GOP colleagues. 75,000 first printing; Random House audio. (July)
Reviewed on: 06/01/1998
Release date: 06/01/1998
Mass Market Paperbound - 493 pages - 978-0-425-17334-3
Analog Audio Cassette - 4 pages - 978-0-375-40294-4
Open Ebook - 352 pages - 978-0-307-82305-2
Show other formats
The Best Books, Emailed Every Week
Tip Sheet!