Betrayed by Karen Olson

Book Review:  Betrayed by Karen Olson

Nicole Jones aka Tina Adler aka Susan McQueen aka Helene LeBlanc is back.  FBI agents are waiting for her at the Cape Cod bike shop where’s she’s been working for the past few months, going by the name Helen White and living off of the grid.  She’s asked about a laptop that contains incriminating data about a hit on mobster Tony DeMarco.  She’s released but isn’t surprised to find FBI agent Zeke Chapman waiting for her at the house she’s sitting for the summer.  She and Zeke have a long history — he knows who she really is and why she’s been on the run all these years.  He offers her a way to clean the slate once and for all.

While I normally enjoy this series, this installment drove me nuts.  I’m jumping right to the parts that really bugged me.  Spoilers follow.

Zeke expects Tina to run, so he plants a GPS in the laptop — which she easily finds and removes.  They are both expert hackers well aware of each other’s talents and tendencies — Zeke didn’t think he needed to plant more than one and Tina didn’t think to look for more than one???  And she disconnected the GPS he installed on page 59.  She finds the second GPS tracker on page 94 and disables it before leaving the motel.  So, how does Zeke find her on page 96?  She leaves the motel in a rush, unsure of her destination, and ends up at a Starbucks– where Zeke is already conveniently hiding in the shadows.  What???

Zeke also conveniently ends up near the country club later.  This isn’t as much of a stretch — Tina expects him to be there and goes looking for him.  She doesn’t find him at the club but she sees Tony DeMarco’s henchmen — and they see her.  Tina makes a run for it, sprinting for almost four blocks before she looks over her shoulder and tumbles to the sidewalk — and the hand reaching down to pull her up is conveniently Zeke’s.  Seriously???  She just happened to stumble within his reach?

And the bad guys — the hackers framing Tina and Zeke.  Complaint One:  If Amelie is the expert hacker this book makes her out to be, why did she and Ian ever need Tina for the bank job all those years ago?  Complaint Two:  How does everyone know that Tina and Ian had sex when he found her on Block Island?  What did the guy do, post it as a status update on FB?  Complaint Three:  Was the sloppy code part of Daniel’s cover or just a convenient plot detail to clue Tina in that there were two hackers?  Complaint Four:  I’m not a techie person, so I never went into this series expecting that I’d understand any hacking details BUT Amelie appears to be some sort of super villain — the hacking described here almost seems like ESP is involved.

Those are my major gripes.  Despite them, I enjoy the series, and will probably re-read it from the beginning someday before the next book comes out.  And given the cliffhanger ending, I’m sure there will be a next book.



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