cover image Betrayals


Brian Freemantle. Tor Books, $18.95 (307pp) ISBN 978-0-312-93138-4

Naive, vulnerable widow Janet Stone, lecturer in Middle Eastern Studies, is quietly romanced and won by handsome, enigmatic John Sheridan, who claims to work for the State Department. She is dismayed when he is sent on a mission to Beirut and then devastated when he is kidnapped by terrorists, who reveal his identity as a top CIA operative. This implausible but compelling thriller follows Janet as she metamorphoses from an artless innocent to a manipulative cynic, beginning with her first futile encounters with an evasive State Department. Resolving to go to Lebanon and contact the terrorists, Janet becomes involved in interlocking circles of deception, extortion and betrayal. She is set up for multiple con games, barely escapes being sold into a brothel, commits a murder and becomes a media star. Eventually, she finds a journalist she thinks she can trust. But who is he, and what are his motives for helping her? This adventure by the author of the Charlie Muffin series careens along at a breakneck pace, enhanced by its cast of believably despicable characters and by a convincing portrayal of a maturing heroine. (Feb.)