: Body of Lies
Author: Iris Johansen
Not a bad book, but once again, Johansen is stretching to find her plots. This one is overly elaborate and ludicrous. Worse, we’re not given the explanation until the very end, when things make a little bit of sense: instead we have to wait through many pages of confusion and the unknown to get that explanation. The plot is revealed in reverse, and it’s very strange. We’re once again dealing with Eve Duncan, forensic sculpture. Johansen makes a brave attempt to develop the characters deeper with Eve’s lover, Joe, betraying her, forcing her to run off to do a scuplting assignment for a shady Senator, but the argument, while it could be legitimate, feels forced from the reader’s perspective. The two obviously love each other deeply, so why are they running away? At lot of the decisions made don’t make much sense and it feels like Johansen is manipulating the characters to fit into her planned plot instead of the other way around. That sounds worse than it is, because she does an excellent job at force-fitting, but there are subtle flaws that made reading it awkward for me. I suspect most wouldn’t notice, though. The actual plot, when revealed, turns out to involve a world cartel, one of those “secret society” things that run the world. Very strange, her going off into looney-land like that. Her novels are usually a bit more grounded in reality, but I think she’s trying to hard to come up with plots. Still, it’s an entertaining read, and the mystery’s intriguing, even if the payoff takes too long to deliver. Johansen does dot all the i’s and cross the t’s at the end, though everything is rather predictable by that point. A fun read that wants to be more than it is.