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Bargains and Betrayals: A 13 to Life Novel    by Shannon Delany order for
Bargains and Betrayals
by Shannon Delany
Order:  USA  Can
St. Martin's, 2011 (2011)
Paperback, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Bargains and Betrayals follows 13 to Life and Secrets and Shadows as the third in an intriguing but awkwardly plotted series that follows a family of werewolves (the Rusakovas), created from Cold War experimentation by the Soviets. Though this has given them power, it also abbreviates their lives. The story is told from different points of view, in turn.

The Rusakova father was killed and the mother (Tatiana) imprisoned by the CIA. Teen Jess Gillmansen loves her schoolmate, Pietr Rusakova and has discovered that her blood can cure werewolves (something that puts her at risk as various groups do not want to see that happen). The teen Rusakovas (Max, Pietr, and Cat) are desperate to rescue their mother, and the Russian Mafia is on their trail too.

Another schoolmate of Jess's, Derek, has powers - feeding on others' emotions, influencing with a touch, and remote-viewing - he is now able to see what's happening through Jess's eyes. Jess's dad is involved with librarian Wanda, a CIA agent working undercover. Young people in the area have been dying in surprising numbers. Sound complex? It is, and there's a lot more going on too.

As Bargains and Betrayals opens, Jessie has been taken to Pecan Place, a mental institution. Of course Pietr puts himself at risk by trying to see her. Wanda begins to wonder who she's really working for. Pietr seeks dangerous allies to free his mother, and finds 'a nest full of trouble in the bargain.'

And Jess learns more from Pecan Place than its staff (some of whom are zombies) do from her. Pietr saves her from an assassination attempt by another inmate and gets her out. And, all working together along with Pietr's new allies, they finally rescue Tatiana Rusakova.

As this episode ends, a villain gives Jess and others a gift. To Jess it feels like 'Something crawling in my head, like a snake slowly coiling, readying to strike.' I'm sure it will strike hard in the next 13 to Life adventure, along with the usual teen angst in dealing with it.

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