Labyrinth of Lies – Irene Hannon

Labyrinth of Lies by Irene Hannon
Series: Triple Threat #2
Published by Revell on October 5, 2021
Genres: Fiction, Christian, Romance, Suspense
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three-half-stars

When the daughter of a high-profile businessman disappears from an exclusive girls' boarding school, police detective Cate Reilly is tapped for an undercover assignment. It doesn't take her long to realize that beneath the veneer of polish and wealth, things are not as they seem at Ivy Hill Academy. But the biggest surprise of all? The only man she ever loved is also working at the school.
Zeke Sloan has never forgotten Cate, but now isn't the best time for their paths to cross again. When their two seemingly disparate agendas begin to intertwine--and startling connections emerge among the players--the danger escalates significantly. But who is the mastermind behind the elaborate ruse? And how far will they go to protect their house of cards?
Queen of romantic suspense Irene Hannon invites you to scale the heights of human folly and plumb the depths of the human heart in this second gripping book in the Triple Threat series.

Labyrinth of Lies by Irene Hannon is a typical Christian romantic suspense novel: Fast-paced. A crime of some variety forces two characters together who have a…complicated history. One, never truly gave up on the relationship, even with a broken heart in the mix. The other, wishing after eight years that the past would stay in the past. Mix in missing teens, drugs, and an all-girls private school, and you’ve got yourself a mystery! One that seems like it should be explosive. For me, however, Labyrinth of Lies fell a bit flat.

When I opened the novel, I didn’t realize it was the second book of a series. Checked out the first one from my library, consumed it while on a work trip before starting Labyrinth of Lies the next morning at the airport. I finished the book in just a little over four hours—I read the novel from cover to cover, only stopping to board my plane. So Labyrinth of Lies definitely kept my attention, and it made the time pass quickly. But truthfully, I don’t know if that was because I super enjoyed the book, or if it was because…you know, I was stuck on a plane.

Something was missing for me with this book. I waited to write this review, hoping I could identify it, but I still can’t. Not exactly. Part of my problem may have been because I read Hannon’s two Triple Threat books in quick succession. After finishing Point of Danger, I knew what to look for in Labyrinth of Lies. The villain was no great mystery, and while Hannon threw a few curve balls, I predicted—with some accuracy—the next steps in the story. The crimes differ in Point of Danger and Labyrinth of Lies, but the characters are too similar for my liking, with reversed roles.  In the former, the female character believes in the relationship and wants to see where it’ll go; in the latter, Zeke’s trying to convince Cate.

Have I read Christian novels that hinted at sexual attraction? Yes. Labyrinth of Lies does not feature it frequently, but it does play a role, and I’m…not sure I liked that about the book. If I wanted to read about how certain things affected the male character’s libido, I would read a non-Christian romance novel.

Finally: The set-up of Labyrinth of Lies seemed completely unbelievable.  A 33-year-old posing as a 17-year-old girl? I cannot fathom that for a second. There are too many distinct differences between a woman’s body in her thirties and a girl’s in her teens. Cate has a roommate. Is the roommate just…oblivious? Zeke goes undercover as a teacher, and Cate is one of his students. He offers her “private tutoring,” and they meet in a study room. That’s…okay with the all-girls school?  To have a male teacher being alone with a female student?  I somehow doubt that would go over well in today’s society—or that any man with a brain would willingly set himself up for the potential repercussions that could follow.

Will I read the third Triple Threat book after its publication? Probably. But that’s because I’ve read two-thirds of the series already, and I dislike not finishing what I start. It isn’t because I have formed any attachments to Irene Hannon’s characters.  Hannon is a talented author, but I enjoy others’ works just a little bit more.

three-half-stars