Tina Peterson's Reviews > Bella

Bella by Steve Piacente
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's review
Jan 13, 11

Read in January, 2011

The back of the book:
A striking widow intent on proving the military lied about her husband's death lures a Washington journalist into the investigation. Working together, they discover the power of temptation, the futility of revenge, and the consequences of yielding to either.

My review:
Bella is the ideal Political Thriller. You have the military, the government, senators, generals, congressmen and others covering up a story. A story about Hank Moss, upcoming tennis star and soldier in Afghanistan who is killed. His wife, Isabelle, receives a call "It's about Hank. He didn't die the way they said." Isabelle goes to her congressman, because congressmen are supposed to listen to their state's people. He tells her to go to the Army and follow the chain of command. Then she goes to Dan Patragno, Washington Correspondent, to ask him to look into her husband's death, which he relunctantly does.

Bella is very well written with short chapters that are packed with information and intrigue. Steve Piacente's writing reminded me a lot of John Grisham although his story didn't move quite as fast at the beginning. The first several chapters are background to the story told by Isabelle, along with some of Dan's family story. After that the story starts really moving fast and it's hard to put the book down.

The characters of the book are well written and easy to get to know. Isabelle is a beautiful woman who knows how to use her body to draw men in and yet you get the feeling that she loved her husband. Dan is a family man with Trouble - yes, with a capital T. And of course, Isabelle and Dan have a story of their own.

There is quite a bit of language and adult themes so I wouldn't recommend it for kids under 18 - but if you enjoy a good political thriller you will truly enjoy this book.

A short interview with Steve Piacente:

Would you share where you got the idea to write Bella?
No one event inspired the idea for Bella. Rather, over a long reporting career, I covered several tragic events, including the murder of a boy from Florida named Adam Walsh. I have always been interested in how people respond to profound grief – in the Walsh case, the parents channeled their grief into action by lobbying the state legislature in Tallahassee to pass tougher child protection laws. I’m also interested in how people act when faced with tough ethical choices – essentially what decisions they make when no one is watching. The action in Bella is driven largely by ethical decisions key characters make on the battlefield and in the bedroom.What others are saying about Bella:

What was the most difficult part of writing Bella?
The toughest challenge for me was to persuade readers to empathize with Bella. She behaves despicably in many situations, but as any journalist will tell you, there are at least two sides to each story. This woman suffers a terrible loss, and it is arguable that when we meet her, she is not the same woman who was happily married to Hank. Whether she will ever again be caring and compassionate is up for debate, but I wanted readers to pull for her despite her shortcomings. I view her as a complex but flawed character with many admirable traits.

What others say about Bella:
Piacente's use of characterization, plot and description in his novel are on-the-mark. I love his news-jockey/journalist, Dan Patragno, who was at once sassy and serious, sharing the inner dialogue of a seasoned, wise and jaundice-eyed, investigative reporter. Danny is an engaging character with strengths and rough edges that make me long to know more about him and his journalistic exploits. ~ D. Previte

Piacente has written a smart, clever book that's also sexy and seductive. He's a wonderful writer, and I'm hoping he writes another fast! After you read the last page, Bella stays with you for days. ~Karen,

Penetrating character study of a woman few men can resist. Bella unfolds like a Venus Fly Trap. ~ readingmom24/7

Here is an author who knows how to give his characters a voice. So strong and so distinctive. Right away you are pulled into this journalistic/political thriller. Very powerful,jump off the pages characters, strong plot, twists and turns and true human drama keep you turning those pages. I thoroughly enjoyed this read!!! ~ Jeffrey

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