Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Lot's Return to Sodom by Sandra Brannan (review #126)

Author: Sandra Brannan
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Publisher: Greenleaf Press
Format: Review Copy

Description from Publisher website:

The Annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is no place for buttoned-down citizens—unless, of course, they’re trying to hide a murder or two.

In this second book in the eponymous series, Liv Bergen is back with a vengeance—a righteous one. The gutsy, sharp-witted amateur sleuth pulls out all the stops as she solves the murder of her brother Jens’s fiancĂ©e, Michelle, and clears his name. As it turns out, more than one person in Liv’s sleepy hometown wanted Michelle dead. A trail of clues leads Liv through the Black Hills, where she encounters half a mil- lion hardcore bikers and sideline gawkers—many clad in nothing but black leather thongs and bikinis—who have turned the place into a sodomitical playground saturated in booze.

Further complicating matters, Liv is an eyewitness to a second homicide, which calls down upon her the uninvited attentions of the men- acing leader of a biker gang called Lucifer’s Lot. The cat-and-mouse game that ensues puts Liv in the path of her admirer Streeter Pierce, who’s gone undercover with a fellow FBI agent to find both Michelle’s murderer and a perp the agency calls the Crooked Man. Liv taps every ounce of brains and brawn she has to avoid becoming the killer’s next victim, which wins her the further respect of Streeter.

By the end of Lot’s Return to Sodom, Streeter has shown his admiration for Liv by giving her Beulah, an FBI bloodhound who is certain to help them track down the still-at-large Crooked Man in book three.

I had received this book a few months ago but saved reading it until I flew out to NYC for BEA. Sandra Brannan was going to be there and I wanted to have it fresh in my mind for when I could talk to her about it. I read a little over half on the way there and finished it on the way home.

It is a stellar second installment in the Liv Bergen mystery series. Set in Rapid City around the time of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, you once again get wholly absorbed in the atmosphere so richly described by Brannan. Like In the Belly of Jonah, the setting for these books is its own character and one that Brannan knows and creates quite well.
Rapid City being her own hometown you really get a strong feel for it all.

I always knew that Sturgis was a bad ass time, having some how fallen under the spell of stories told to me by bar fly members of my family or what I've seen in action movies. Not that I am a biker chick at all but I have to confess that I did go on a date with a man in my twenties, far from desirable, because he had a motorcycle and promised me a ride. :)

Anyway, in this book, the glorified life of the motorcycle crowd is far, far from desirable or cool or even one I care to even think about anymore. Brannan, with her knack for research, got down in the dirty ditches of these men and women and the political, power hungry, abusive and just down right mean way in which most seem to live.

Throw in two murders, and the clash between the scared local enforcement and the scrumptious FBI agent, Streeter Pierce and you got yourself a sharp, sassy, scary thriller.
You also get a greater glimpse into Liv's family ( God Bless Em' ,they are just like mine!) due to her brother being a suspect in one of the murders.
I felt like I wanted to pull up a chair during a Sunday dinner and
eat their yummy comfort food and say my prayers.

Review: 6/6
Overall, in the world of mystery book series where it's hard to keep the pace and the characters strong, Brannan masters her sophmoric release. The world is gritty and some parts are not for the faint of heart. I even had to give my two cents to Sandra about some parts that crossed the line for me a little. But I have a line I draw when it comes to harm against children. You don't need to say much for me to get sick and want to kick some ass.
Aside from that, she writes an intense world that is a reality; the life of motorcycle gangs.
I was intrigued and the pace did not let up. There are more twists and turns in this one and what I liked, is that you don't get the whole story really until the end. I also liked that I couldn't figure it out. Surprising me as a reader is a very good thing.
And Liv and Streeter...well, that's a story I look forward to reading more about....

Remember the book is out and can be purchased at this site, to get you started!

Author Website:

Happy Reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child


Michelle Stockard Miller said...

Great review, Michelle! I just got this one and In the Belly of Jonah for free on my Sony Reader. I was beyond thrilled! See, I take your recommendations very seriously. ;O)

Did you have a good birthday?

StephTheBookworm said...

Your excitement makes me want to read this series even more! I got this one at BEA but still have to read the first one.

LivBergen said...

Thank you for the kind words, Michelle! I so lucky to have you as a fan and your loyal followers have made great comments over the year that are always helpful for me.

And I'm so grateful to you for your comments about drawing the line with children's involvement in my stories... children are certainly a passion of mine and travesties against them enrage the beast in me. So I'll try to warn you ahead of time with future books.

Audra said...

Really so excited to read this one -- I lived in Rapid City in my early teens and the motorcycle festivals/gatherings were really quite eye-opening. It will be great to revisit it all as an adult!

Misha said...

Lately I have been hearing so much about Sandra Brennan's books.I must read the first in the series soon. I love mysteries that keep me on the edge of the seat.

Jenny Girl said...

WEll since I adore Sons of Anarchy this book is in wheelhouse. Thanks for the recommendation. I always a good murder mystery.

Marce said...

Her books are all over the blogosphere and getting great reviews. You know I must add them to my Wislist.

Someone here said you had a birthday :-) HappyBelated

Marce said...

Yaaaay, I just downloaded both for free on Kindle, wow

Ryan said...

One of these days I will get to this series, I just have to.

Senator said...

Oooo I loved your review Michelle. I'm still iffy about reading this one, but I think you've made me a little braver!