Thursday, August 23, 2007

Twist Phelan's False Fortune ~ Reviewed

False Fortune - A Pinnacle Peak Mystery
Twist Phelan
Reading level: Ages 9-12
Hardcover: 292 pages
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press (September 15, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1590583639

Business attorney Hannah Dain is in such deep water not even her trusty kayak can keep her afloat. A trip to an abandoned uranium mine with her sister Shelby turns into a daring lake rescue of a mysterious woman. Then Hannah is appointed lead counsel in Shelby’s pollution case on behalf of the local Indian tribe against the Feds – a case, Hannah discovers, that some people will do anything to keep out of the courtroom. When things seem as if they can’t get any stranger, a recently discovered family member shows up on Hannah’s doorstep, further jeopardizing Hannah’s fragile relationship with Shelby.

And then there’s Hannah’s newfound friend, Jerry Dan Kovacs. From the moment he jumps into the lake with Hannah to prevent the mystery woman from drowning, Jerry Dan entangles Hannah in a whirlwind of events, eventually pulling her into a mysterious treasure hunt.

Is Jerry Dan an innocent participant in whatever is going on out by the lake, or merely a bystander? Who put Hannah’s newfound relative at risk” And what about Hannah’s relationship with her ex-boyfriend, Cooper Smith” Only by taking a gutsy chance can Hannah unravel the scheme, bring both halves of her family together, and answer the questions about her future.

My Review

I like fiction that spends time focused on characters and their growth more so than plot. Don’t get me wrong -- I don’t like a character who sits in a Lazy-Boy contemplating how his belly-button lint might bring about world peace -- I just prefer my characters to be realistic.

Twist Phelan’s Hannah is a three dimensional character. But coming into the third book of the series without the benefit of the first two made Hannah a little challenging to grab hold of. Part over-achieving lawyer/athlete, part squashed marshmallow, Hannah is “someone” I’ve encountered several times in my lifetime. But by the end of the novel Hannah felt more fleshed out.

The family dynamics, likely explained fully in books one and two, kept pulling my focus away from the plot. But had I read book one and two – I’ve no doubt I would have easily slid into Hannah’s world.

Phelan creates desert scenery that at times came alive.

Athletes may find much to like in Phelan’s stories. Each contains a different sporting focus. False Fortune focused on the kayak which became symbolic of Hannah’s life.

I was surprised at the level of spirituality (mostly Hindu) in False Fortune. This fascinates me. I read much Christian fiction and as I see a decrease in focus on religion in much Christian genres, I see more spiritual focus in the mainstream fiction I’m reading.

The mystery in False Fortune delivers though a couple items remained unraveled.

Overall, the solid writing and storytelling skills should satisfy legal, mystery, southwest and sports fans.

Reviewed by: Kelly Klepfer

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