M2D4 Toe Tag: 1 Last Betrayal by Valerie J. Brooks

Find Valerie J. Brooks

1 Last Betrayal is a thriller. Angeline Porter is picking up where she left off from the 2nd book in the series, Tainted Times 2, putting it all on the line for her half-sister. Bibi has disappeared and based on the last few texts, it wasn’t willingly. Angeline flies from Oregon to Florida to extract her sister from a hornets nest that includes a local detective, an ethically questionable FBI agent, a totally unethical mob queen, and a half-brother who only wants to be her family.

Bottom line: 1 Last Betrayal is for you if you like intricately woven plots that unravel one knot at a time.

Strengths of the story. 1 Last Betrayal checks a lot of boxes on the thriller checklist. First, the lead character being in mortal danger — check. Angeline, who is also called Ang, Angie, and Porter, is held at gun point, beaten, and kidnapped. She jumps from frying pan to frying pan, never quite knowing where the fire is. Second, the story has to resolve within a certain time — check. After 24 hours, most missing persons cases don’t end with a living resolution, according to the book. Three, the motivations of the other characters are hidden from the lead — check. Every one of the people helping Angeline has an ulterior motive, but those secrets are tightly held.

Where the story fell short of ideal: It is common in thrillers to have scenes from the point of view of multiple characters, enabling us readers to know what is going on and to be anxious on behalf of our heroes. 1 Last Betrayal is told only from Angeline’s point of view. In a story based on false motives, Angeline becomes confused about what is really going on. Without the ballast of other points of view for us to root in, the chaos element is dominant in the middle section of the book. For those who thrive on chaos, you’ll love it. For those who don’t, stick with it and enjoy the ride.

1 Last Betrayal is the 3rd book in a trilogy. I recommend reading the earlier books, Revenge in 3 Parts, and Tainted Times 2 first. Ms. Brooks last installment continues with characters and situations built in the first episodes. For maximum enjoyment, start from the beginning, likely an unnecessary recommendation as most of us wouldn’t conceive of starting a series anywhere but book 1. Links to all three books are in the show notes.

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