The Face of Deception

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Haunted by the fact that her daughter’s murderer was executed without revealing where he had buried his victim, Eve Duncan became a forensic sculptor, specializing in the identification of children. However, when the billionaire John Logan offers her a million dollars to reconstruct an adult skull, which Logan implies is that of John F. Kennedy, Eve agrees, stipulating that her fee go to a fund for missing children. Eve soon finds that Logan has lied to her: he believes that the skull he has found is that of the current president. By now, however, Eve is committed, for she is sure that without Logan’s protection, both she and those she loves will be killed.

Johansen’s practice of alternating between the good people and the villains intensifies the suspense to an almost unbearable level. One feels helpless as the hired killer Albert Fiske eliminates one witness after another. Eventually, however, the tide turns. One of Eve’s friends, the Atlanta detective Joe Quinn, turns the tables on Fiske, and then, with Logan’s help, Eve outwits a very clever First Lady. There are still more revelations before THE FACE OF DECEPTION comes to its dramatic conclusion. With its believable characters and its brilliant plot, surely this is one of Johansen’s best thrillers.