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Monday, February 9, 2015

H. L. Wegley: Triple Threat

By Kelly Bridgewater

Back Cover Copy: 

From Amazon
Brilliant, beautiful, twenty-one year-old Katie Brandt, PhD candidate and woman of faith, detects a deadly conspiracy. Suspecting it's only the tip of an iceberg, she dives in, pulling fellow grad student, Joshua West, with her into a high-risk investigation of a cyber-terrorist plot. Damaged as a child by the foster-care system, Katie takes huge risks to win acceptance and love. But when she risks the life of Josh, an agnostic who isn't prepared to die, she fears her mistake might have eternal consequences. And that would break Katie's heart, a heart rapidly falling for Josh. If Katie and Josh survive the investigation, can they span the chasm of divergent worldviews that separates them? How can they awaken a dozing nation to a three-pronged danger that threatens its very existence? Triple Threat, a conspiracy you might read in tomorrow's paper...but pray you never will.

My Thoughts:

I was drawn to Triple Threat by H. L. Wegley because I’m an avid reader of suspense, mystery, and thrillers. The synopsis on the back cover grabbed my attention and sparked my curiosity. I wanted to know if Katie and Josh would actually stop the terrorist threat to America and if their love would sparkle. Wegley, definitely, understood what fans of a thriller would want because the story was non-stop with action, but my expectations for the plot were not met.

Wegley’s writing had serious issues that made the story confusing to follow. More than a couple of times, the chapter would start in Josh or Katie’s perspective, then all of sudden, the opposing character’s perspective would jump in. Not for long, but for a paragraph or two. Katie talked in technical jargon, which lost me on a number of occasions, allowing me to skip over lines and move forward. On the other hand, Wegley does have a good command at writing dialogue. With Katie’s personality, I could imagine her talking the way she did and her reactions to situations were spot on. There was a good mixture of dialogue and prose; neither commanded all the reader’s attention. To satisfy readers of thrillers, Wegley drops the readers into the action on the second page and keeps escalating the tension as the story unfolds.  There were hints of original life, but they were skimmed over and not given much attention, allowing the reader to step back and take a breather.  

The setting is important when trying to anchor the readers to the story, but Wegley did mention the name of a town, a beach, and the Seattle Center, but other than those telling items, I really had not been anchored in Katie and Josh’s surroundings. Sometimes I forgot where the story took place.

The hero, Josh, and the heroine, Katie, could have been better written. I struggled with empathizing with the character of Katie as a person, who described for half a page this horrific past life, but as a reader, who has not read any of Wegley’s previous books, I wanted more information about her past. Katie, as a character, does not change at all. She’s a static character who tries to convince Josh to change for her. Katie is a genius and liked to flaunt it to the authorities, using her connections in the FBI and the local police force to break the law repeatedly. Wegley did not allow the police to hold her responsible for her actions. Just like Katie, Josh broke the law a number of times, but because he knew Katie, he got off free too. As for the secondary characters of the mom, dad, granddad, and the twins, I wished Wegley would have shown them more. It would have been nice to have another point of view character to deepen the characters of Katie and Josh. They were just passing through the background without a lot of depth. After reading the synopsis for the previous books, I realized the mom and dad’s story was already told. It would have been stronger to flush out these characters, so they didn’t appear two dimensional running around behind the frontal characters.

 The tension was two-fold, internal and external. With the internal or the romantic tension between Josh and Katie, it was much too rushed for my taste. In the beginning, Kate needs someone to drive her to stop a terror attack on the Seattle Center in fifteen minutes. Josh enters. While zooming through the streets of town, Josh does not get pulled over, stops at any red lights, or conveniently hits no other cars. The story builds quite rapidly from there. The entire story takes place in three weeks with Josh and Katie’s emotions developing quickly ending with Josh and Katie married. Their whirlwind romance had me shaking my head and doubting their new-found love. In contrast, the external tension is created by the terrorist wanting to demolish America. It is a non-stop ride with no breaks along the way. Nothing really stood in their way from accomplishing their goals, but Josh and Katie were shot at and chased a number of times. I had no fear they wouldn’t reach their final goals.

Triple Threat is a predictable thriller about a terrorist threat on American soil. It could have been ripped from today’s headlines, like Wegley wrote on the front of the story, but it was pretty predictable how the story would end. No questionable content, so the story will appeal to male and female readers of a mature age who enjoy chasing the bad guys. As for the spiritual aspect, it did seem kind of preachy to the readers and convenient that Josh threw away all his old ways of thinking after listening to Katie preach at him a number of times. I would have liked to seen the spiritual elements woven into the seam of the story more seamlessly.

Triple Threat was an exciting ride of a thriller that dragged the readers in and did not let go, but the romance was unrealistic and filled with moments of religious preaching while the secondary characters’ backstory left something to be desired. 

My Rating: 2 out of 5 stars 

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