Nancy Mehl. Blind Betrayal. Bethany House, 2018. See here to buy the book.
Blind Betrayal is the third book of Nancy Mehl’s “Defenders of Justice” series. I read the first book of the series, Fatal Frost, but not the second book. One can follow the plot of Blind Betrayal without having read the previous books. At the same time, Blind Betrayal contains some of the characters who were in the previous books, so one can perhaps follow it better after reading the first two books.
In Blind Betrayal, there is a wealthy Saudi oilman, Ali Al-Saud. He is using a U.S. Senator, Senator Warren (who is a man, not the progressive Senator from Massachusetts), to stop an oil pipeline in the U.S. Ali Al-Saud does not want the U.S. to become energy independent, as that can cut into his profits. There is an environmentalist, Martin Avery, who catches wind of this plot, and he talks to a reporter, Valerie Bennett. Avery has been kidnapped, and two Deputy U.S. Marshals, Casey Sloane and Doug Howard, are transporting Valerie to Washington, D.C. so she can testify. As they make their way towards D.C., they are pursued by the menacing Ben Mattan, who is Ali Al-Saud’s hit-man and (it is rumored) his son.
Accompanying Casey, Doug, and Valerie is E.J. Queen, Casey’s former partner. E.J. long had an attraction towards Casey, but she was dating his friend, Jared. It turns out that Jared was physically abusive towards her. In addition, Casey is dealing with feelings of guilt.
Overall, this was a good book. Its prose was light, but it dealt with heavy personal subjects and the question of what psychological considerations motivate people to do what they do. The political suspense was also rather interesting: Was Ali Al-Saud truly connected with terror, or would that interfere with his own agenda of power? Ben Mattan and Ali Al-Saud are intimidating. Ben Mattan is like the villain in No Country for Old Men, and Ali Al-Saud is like the Godfather. Senator Warren is a bit of a crook, but he started out idealistic, and he still loves his ex-wife. E.J. is a noble person who tries to be a good influence to those around him. He is baffled that his friend is abusive, and that Casey, a strong woman, endured the abuse.
Although this book is “Romantic Suspense,” it rarely left me on the edge of my seat. The time when the secret agent was about to shoot one of the main characters came close to doing so, however.
There are some lighthearted moments in the book: E.J. telling his co-workers what the “E.J.” stands for comes to mind.
The book is rather light in the spiritual-religious department. Martin Avery is skeptical about God, but he remembers his mother telling him that God is near, so he prays. And Casey decides to get therapy so she can heal. The book ends with a slight swipe at Ben Mattan’s religious beliefs: Ben “cursed the Marshal and the god who had turned his back on him.” The book perhaps could have used some sympathetic Muslim characters. It was more balanced on the issue of environmentalism: Ali Al-Saud co-opts environmentalism for his own financial wealth, yet Martin Avery is depicted as a sincere person, committed to protecting the environment.
I enjoyed this book more than I did Fatal Frost. Blind Betrayal presented a more intriguing plot. It was also more complex: some of the flawed characters had good in them, and the primary characters were dealing with their complicated motives. There was also more going on, which made the book interesting.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. My review is honest.