The Face Of Deception – Iris Johansen

FaceofDeceptionFrom An unidentified skull…
A trail of terrifying secrets…
And a woman whose talented hands could reveal the shocking truth…
As a forensic sculptor, Eve Duncan helps identify the dead from their skulls. Her own daughter murdered and her body never found, the job is Eve’s way of coming to terms with her personal nightmare. But more terror lies ahead when she accepts work from billionaire John Logan. Beneath her gifted hands a face emerges from the skull he has given her to reconstruct– a face no one was ever meant to see. Now Eve is trapped in a frightening web of murder and deceit. Powerful enemies are determined to cover up the truth, and they will make certain that truth goes to the grave…even if Eve gets buried with it.

Published: 1998

Why I Chose It: My sister loaned it to me!

The Review:

This book and remaining series center around the character of Eve Duncan. I was immediately curious about her because she’s a forensic sculptor. I’ve watched a lot of cop and forensic shows, and while they usually feature some sort of sculptor, that character is never front and center. I was excited to be able to focus on a skill set that usually supports others. Eve did not disappoint. I really liked the amount of science in the book and learning what Eve did for her job. It was also tactfully written, as there were not a lot of information dumps, but rather Eve is describing the different stages of her work to other characters, resulting in a very believable and easy information transfer to the reader.

As a character I actually really like Eve. She’s got a lot of emotional baggage, and Johansen isn’t afraid to use that. It gave the character a lot of depth and realism that I don’t always find in novels. On top of her history, Eve has real emotions, and I liked how genuine these emotions felt to me as a reader. In very intense moments, Eve was responding like a human – she got angry, sad, and at times even scared. I really appreciated how Johansen approached certain situations and created an emotional response to it.

In direct contrast to Eve, the other characters almost fell flat. They didn’t have complex backgrounds like Eve and I didn’t find them all that interesting. I also struggled a lot with the love story. The love interest is introduced in questionable circumstances, leaving me (and Eve) with conflicting emotions. I found I could never put those emotions aside, and remained unattached to the character. I do think more details about the other characters will be revealed in the other books in the series, but for this particular novel, I thought the characters could have brought more to the story.

While I think the mystery and intensity behind the story was good, it didn’t wow me. Quite possibly because I have seen a lot of those forensic shows, I didn’t really find anything special about this story; however, I do think it was well written and a very strong story. This book does make me very curious about Johansen’s other work. Plus I’m definitely curious to see where Eve Duncan’s story goes. I would recommend this book to those interested in forensic stories or political mysteries.

Rating: 3 / 5

Main Character: 5/5
Supporting Characters: 2/5

Science: 4/5
Love Interest: 2/5


“Well, there was no use staring wistfully out of the window. She was glad her mother had a new romance, but she wouldn’t trade places with her. Eve wouldn’t know what to do with a man in her life. She wasn’t good at one-night stands, and anything else required a commitment she couldn’t afford.” p 25

“It had taken her a long time to be able to separate the good memories from the bad. At first she had tried to save herself from pain by closing out all thoughts of Bonnie. Then she had come to understand that that would be forgetting Bonnie and all the joy she had brought into her and Sandra’s lives. Bonnie deserved more.” p 26

“He took in the rust and beige striped couch, the green plants on the windowsill, and then the framed photos of her mother and Bonnie on the bookshelf across the room. ‘It looks…warm.’ ‘I hate cold, sterile labs. There’s no reason why I can’t have comfort as well as efficiency.'” p 29


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