Have you ever read a book and felt the entire time like you were listening to some suspense music --- maybe even the theme song from "The Twilight Zone"? It's hard to explain the tension, but each time I read Brandilyn Collins I get the feeling that it's better to tackle these books in the daylight. The suspense and twists are a powerful element in the pages of WEB OF LIES, the fourth and final installment of the Hidden Faces series. As the author recommends to readers in the opening note, "Don't Forget to Breathe."
The world of Chelsea Adams has spun out of control, and from time to time God gives her visions. The current vision is of a dark room, dusty and feeling like it is closing in, yet there is no escape. Compelled from her vision, Chelsea contacts forensic artist Annie Kingston in Redding, California. But before the pair can talk to each other, Annie and her sister Jenna witness a robbery and the killing of Mike Winger at a convenience store.
The majority of the story is told from the perspective of Annie. In dark bold type scattered throughout the book, the rhythm and the perspective drastically shifts as the reader sees the story in the eyes of the psycho who is killing people. This evil person has built a dark room and loves to stock it with various types of spiders. Some of these insects are deadly while others are harmless. The victim who is locked in the room can't distinguish a good spider from a harmless one, and each contact breeds fear into their heart. The villain removes the shoes and socks of his victims, and then forces them to stay in this dreaded room.
Because of her occupation as a forensic artist, Annie regularly works with various members of the Redding police. Learning about Chelsea Adams's abilities, Annie offers to draw the person in her vision. When the pair gives their evidence to the police, the detective becomes extremely skeptical when he learns that the drawing resulted from a vision, and he will not release the sketch to the media. When Chelsea and Annie come out of the police station, the tires on Chelsea's Lexus are slashed and on her windshield Annie discovers a threatening note in red felt-tip pen: "I killed Mike Winger. You're next." Slowly Chelsea and Annie are drawn into the web of lies of a killer.
Frustrated with some of the leaks from the police, they meet Milt Waking, a television reporter for FOX news. About half way through the story, Milt summarizes the plot: "We have a spider-crazed idiot out there. Who has also threatened to kill you, Annie. With Chelsea's visions, we now know more than the police. Problem is the police won't listen."
The well-drawn characters in this book combine with short chapters and the story forces the drama ahead. The spiritual message of the constant need to trust God in every situation is built into the fiber of this excellent book. It's easy to see why Brandilyn Collins's fan base continues to grow; WEB OF LIES will only increase her audience.
Reviewed by W. Terry Whalin on January 24, 2006