Monday, August 30, 2010

Review #83: In the Belly of Jonah by Sandra Brannan

Title: In the Belly of Jonah

Author: Sandra Brannan
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Publisher: Greenleaf Book Group Press
ISBN: 978-1-60832-050-9
Price/Pages: $14.95/288
Release Date: September 1
Author Website: SANDRA BRANNAN
Description: From Author's Website:

In the Belly of Jonah is a fast-paced mystery with a likable protagonist and an intricately woven narrative brimming with bizarre yet believable twists. The first in a series, the book expertly lays the groundwork for Liv Bergen, amateur sleuth, and her love interest, FBI Agent Streeter Pierce.

Liv becomes involved in the investigation of the murder of Jill Brannigan, a summer intern at the limestone mine Liv manages near Fort Collins, Colorado (a breathtaking setting that unwittingly becomes an accessory to crime). In doing so, she inadvertently puts her friends, her family, and herself at risk of being swallowed in the belly of a madman bloated with perverse appetites for women, surrealistic art, and renown.

Perhaps a bit too daring (and at times irreverent) for her own good, “Boots,” as Liv’s eight siblings call her, soon realizes she has a knack for outsmarting and tracking down the Venus de Milo murderer—and she enjoys it! As the gripping plot of In the Belly of Jonah unfolds, Liv Bergen takes her place alongside the best female crime-solvers as a woman with smarts, self-confidence, and intuitive savvy.

My Review:
I attacked this book on the plane ride home from NYC and BEA. Gone were the mountains of books I fought for at BEA, they were all hidden away ready to be mailed to me. Nope, it was just me and this fast paced thriller and a 3 hour plane ride.
Let me tell you. I chose well.
I am a stickler for plane ride books. You know you have to have the perfect one or else you are screwed. You don't want to bring too many or else you pay some $ to carry on extra luggage. The choice is always a hard one but this time it worked out.
This is Sandra Brannan's first novel but it definitely showed the talent of a seasoned writer. The female protagonist, Liv Bergen, is a unique character; full of life, balls and wit. She makes her living in a career field where you don't see many women and does it well. The mine in which she manages is filled with rough and tumble boys and men who she needs to keep in line. Located near Fort Collins, Colorado, the location plays a huge part in setting the atmosphere as a beautiful yet rough landscape.

Faced with the untimely murder of one of her female workers, she attacks the case with sharp observance and dedicated cooperation. Partnered with her old college buddy, Lisa; now a part of the FBI and handsome Detective Streeter Pierce, she will do anything to find the killer.
Streeter Pierce is a rock solid guy; great at his job, sharp when he needs to be, sincere when he needs to be. You can count on him and hell, you may even fall for him a little bit too.
Together they take apart the last days of the young girl's life and the world she lived in at college. She was a hard working student and a strong athlete, plenty of friends, seemed to love life. Who does the finger point to?

Well, that's what Sandra Brannan does really well. She delivers a strong, puzzling case. You read the investigation on one end and into the mind of the killer on the other. Though you do find who the killer is, it doesn't hold back the suspense. You delve deeper into his crazy factor and hope for an explosive ending.

I could not put it down! It took me another day after I got home to finish. Mysteries that are going to be a part of a series have to have really strong, well written characters for me or else I'm done. I really liked Liv Bergen. She had just enough of a difference to her that made her unique and I am always a sucker for a rugged, handsome detective who delivers. Streeter, I'm so following you to the next book.

Rating: 6 stars/6 stars
Because I had the pleasure of meeting Sandra, this book was even more fun to read. It is fast paced, edgy and one heck of a thriller. Fans of good ol' suspense will like this one. Add on the different location and the unique atmosphere of a mine, you got a unique book on your hands.

Here is my quote from her website:
"In the Belly of Jonah starts off running. Suspenseful and vivid, you enter a world of spine tingling evil. The first in a new mystery series featuring protagonist, Liv Bergen, it is set in a mining town in Fort Collins, CO, which, so richly described, becomes an important character itself. The hunt for a madman becomes personal and terrifying for Liv when she discovers that one of her employees from the mine is murdered. What follow is slippery slope into the mind and world of a soulless killer. A must read for fans of gritty suspense. There is nothing cozy about this mystery and that is a good thing!!”
—Red Headed Book Child

Thank you so much for Sandra for sharing her book with me and so many others. I hope together we can make it a success!
Join Sandra on Twitter on Wednesday! Here's a message from her:
@SandraBrannan Alright all your #mystery lovers, what gives you chills and thrills? Let's chat this Wednesday! #livbergen

Stay tuned tomorrow and Wednesday for a Q&A with Liv Bergen and Sandra Brannan and a GIVEAWAY!!
You can also read an excerpt from the book on her website too.

Happy Reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child


Tales of Whimsy said...

Great review! You can read on planes? I'm jealous. I can never read over all the noises, chatter, etc.

Gina said...

Certainly sounds like one to see...I mean read. Thanks for the head's up! ^_^

Lori Johnston said...

Fantastic review, Michelle! Sounds like a terrific mystery. And you are right about reading on planes - - you must have the right book or you're screwed. Glad you chose so wisely!

Happy Tuesday!

Ryan said...

Ok, you convinced me that I need to read this book. I agree with you that a book that is going to introduce a series has to be strong or there is no point in reading further. this one sound straong and promising and one I'm going to have to get ahold of.

Stacy at The Novel Life said...

awesome review - and a 6 out of 6?!? I'm going to have to add this to my Peril the First Challenge for Fall!!! and OMG I so know what you mean about picking the absolute right book for the plane!!! Before I had my Kindle I would agonize for hours, literally HOURS, over what books to take and spend FIVE minutes packing clothes!!! Now I be sure to have a few books on my Kindle loaded and if those don't work I just download while waiting on the tarmac...cause it never, ever fails...there's always a wait - LOL!