Louisa Shidler works directly under Ambassador Royall Stillwell, now Republican candidate for vice-president in the upcoming national election. Separated from her handsome but philandering husband, Louisa lives with her precocious twelve-year-old daughter Isabel in a $650,000 house in Bethesda, Maryland. Her enviable lifestyle disintegrates when she accidentally finds evidence that Stillwell and henchmen are using her identity to collect and transfer multi-million-dollar bribes from foreign arms and drug merchants. Practically overnight she finds herself on trial for a list of the most serious federal crimes. Although facing a ten-year sentence, she offers no defense because kidnappers threaten to kill Isabel unless Louisa pleads guilty.
When she learns that her spunky daughter has managed to escape her captors in Wyoming, she breaks out of house arrest and hitches a ride with a pot-smoking long-haul truck driver to join Isabel near Yellowstone Park. Facing national media exposure, the conspirators direct their network of assassins to track down the exhausted mother and recapture the terrified girl, who has become lost in the wilderness. Ultimately, Stillwell himself is shot to death in his swimming pool, demonstrating that he was only a subordinate to ruthless, power-hungry Cynthia Barnett, who masquerades as CEO of a firm of lobbyists and political consultants.
Author Sabin Willett, who graduated from Harvard and Harvard Law School, is a partner with a Boston law firm. THE BETRAYAL, his second novel, impresses with its sophisticated literary style, sharp pacing, and apparent insider authority in depicting the political and social life of Washington’s elite.