Sunday, September 16, 2012

Review: Widow's Might

Widow's Might
Widow's Might by Sandra Brannan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Book Info: Genre: Suspense Thriller Reading Level: Adult Recommended for: Fans of mysteries, suspense, thrillers

Disclosure: I received a free ebook ARC from JKS Communications (the author’s publicist) in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis: The third Liv Bergen mystery picks up right where the second one left off: the murder of Liv’s future sister-in-law has been solved, but an older rancher has been bludgeoned to death in a style eerily reminiscent of a long-inactive killer known only as the Crooked Man. FBI agent Streeter Pierce, still on assignment in Sturgis, South Dakota, must now turn his sights on tracking down the killer—his nemesis from ten years earlier. Pierce doesn’t complain, though; he’s falling in love with Liv and sets in motion an unconventional plan to recruit her for the FBI’s training camp in Quantico as they work the case together. But is Liv falling for the brilliant, exotic agent Jack Linwood instead?

Once again, Liv’s vast knowledge of the Black Hills of South Dakota—territory made famous by the gold rush that followed General George Custer’s expedition—and the novel folk who live there leads her to unearth critical clues about the Crooked Man. But are facts enough to safeguard Liv’s sister Elizabeth and her friend, an elderly woman battling cancer who was attacked just days after her husband was murdered? Will the frail yet feisty widow recover her strength in time to help Liv thwart the Crooked Man’s murderous plans and fatal blows?

My Thoughts: I read the first two books in this series – In the Belly of Jonah and Lot’s Return to Sodom – last November (2011). From the looks of my reviews (which you can see by following the previous links), I quite enjoyed the books, but due to the 400 or so books I’ve read in the interim (between actual reviews and edits), I’ve quite forgotten what they were about. Sadly, I simply did not have time to re-read them before starting this one, so I’ll have to hope I didn’t miss anything important.

I am always amused to read books set in a place where I have been. In the case of the Black Hills of SD, it is an area to which I have been several times, as my family frequently traveled through SD on the way to Missouri and would sometimes sight-see on the way, and a friend of mine used to live in Rapid City and I spent some time there with her as well. This hardly makes me an expert on the area, but I am at least aware a bit of what it is like there.

This was a pretty fun story. It’s full of twists and turns and a very clever serial killer that Streeter has been chasing for over 10 years. Plus lots of interesting historical facts concerning Custer’s expedition to the Black Hills, which resulted in the finding of gold and the breaking of the treaty that allowed the Sioux to remain in their sacred area. This, of course, led to the war with the Native Americans that eventually led to Custer’s Last Stand. It’s obvious that the author did a lot of research and put the information in subtly but consistently, which is quite impressive.

I warn potential readers that they will need to start at the beginning of the series, In the Belly of Jonah, and read the books in order to get the most out of the story, which continues from book to book, requiring the reader to have read the previous book to get the most out of the current story. I have spoken to a few people who tried to start here and were stymied, so... fair warning.

However, that said, this is a series I would highly recommend to folks who enjoy a twisty set of suspense/thrillers with a feisty and unique heroine. Things are rarely as they seem, and that’s just terrific. If you enjoy thrillers, mysteries and suspense, definitely check out the Liv Bergen series by Sandra Brannan. You’ll be glad you did. The next mystery in this series is scheduled for next year. I can’t remember the exact title at the moment, but it’s something to do with Noah, so be sure to watch for it.

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