- Reviewed by David M. Kinchen
Cassidy Shaw, Allison Pierce, and Nicole Hedges — the “Triple Threat Club” of Portland, Oregon crime solving — have faced challenges in the past, described in three previous novels, but in “Eyes of Justice” (Thomas Nelson, 320 pages, $26.99) by Lis Wiehl and April Henry, all three women confront violence and terror that will surely result in the dissolution of the club…or will it?
They got their name by sharing a dessert of the same name — Triple Threat Chocolate Cake — but each in her own way — Cassidy as a crime reporter at Channel Four, Allison as a federal prosecutor and Nicole as an FBI agent — discovers that fame has its price. For Cassidy, who’s found dead in the kitchen of her condo, it’s the ultimate price. They had all been students 16 years before at Catlin Gabel, an exclusive Portland private school, but it wasn’t until their ten-year-class reunion that the three women discovered they had something in common. During the following six years they’ve met and enjoyed their favorite dessert — and friendship forged from their involvement in fighting crime.
The murder takes place during a heat wave that has benumbed the city. Allison and Nicole at first suspect that the murderer of the highly visible reporter is her abusive ex-boyfriend, Portland Police Bureau Detective Rick McEwan, who is subsequently arrested for the murder. Cassidy had gone public with their relationship and Rick’s name had become public, giving him a motive for the crime. About that name: Most American police organizations are called Police Departments, In 1915, Portland’s “Metropolitan Police Force” changed its name to the Bureau of Police. As anyone who’s visited the city, as I have, quickly discovers, Portland does everything differently!
As the case develops, complete with jurisdictional hassles involving the Police Bureau and threats by Nic’s supervisor that she may end up “freezing her butt” in the Butte, Montana FBI office, Nic and Allison become convinced that Rick McEwan may not be the murderer. They join forces with a quirky private investigator and computer whiz named Ophelia, who has three cats that she understands better than people. Ophelia — who may or may not have Asperger’s Syndrome — asks Nic and Allison to give her a complete list of all the crimes the Triple Threat Club has been involved with. Working her magic on her computer, Ophelia narrows the list down to a few criminals who might have a grudge against Allison, Cassidy and Nicole.
I’m not giving away any more details, not wanting to spoil this excellent mystery thriller, but I recognized in “Eyes of Justice” many elements that reminded me of the plot of “Cape Fear” a 1962 movie — remade in 1991 by Martin Scorsese — based on the 1957 novel “The Executioners” by one of my favorite crime writers, John D. MacDonald (1916-1986).
“Eyes of Justice” has roots in reality, with more than a few female TV personalities becoming targets — and sometimes victims — of stalkers. Too, prosecutors and judges have been targets of the criminals they convicted. I’m predicting that the Triple Threat series will continue, with Ophelia becoming the third woman.
About the Authors
Lis Wiehl is a New York Times best-selling author, Harvard Law School graduate, and former federal prosecutor. A popular legal analyst and commentator for the Fox News Channel, Wiehl appears on The O’Reilly Factor and was co-host with Bill O’Reilly on the radio for seven years. Noted author Roald Dahl helped New York Times best-selling author April Henry take her first step as a writer. When April was eleven, she sent the famous children’s author a short story about a frog who loved peanut butter. He read it to an editor of an international children’s magazine, who then asked to publish it. April has since written several highly acclaimed mysteries and thrillers. Her books have been short-listed for the Agatha Award, the Anthony Award, and the Oregon Book Award, and translated into several languages. April Henry lives in Portland, Oregon, with her husband and daughter.