Sunday, August 12, 2012

Review: Widow's Might by Sandra Brannan

To say the third book in the Liv Bergen series was highly anticipated is an understatement. This will be my third year knowing Sandra Brannan and my third year enjoying her books. I look forward to the many more years I will have reading more of her books.

Like I mentioned in my final Year of Mysteries Giveaway, I will be posting a lot about Sandra and her books this month to lead up to the book signing event she will be doing at my bookstore in September.
She deserves as much press as she can get. :)

Because this is third in the series and there may be folks out there who have not heard of them, here is a quick description of each from the author's website.

Book 1: In the Belly of Jonah

The puzzle of “a window cut into a girl’s body” leads to a serial killer with an artistic bent in this thrilling mystery set in a Colorado mining community.
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.

Book 2: Lot's Return to Sodom

The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is no place for buttoned-down citizens—unless they’re trying to hide a murder or two.
In this second book in the eponymous series, gutsy, sharp-witted Liv Bergen vows to clear her brother’s name as a murder suspect. Her way is hindered, though, by half a million bikers and gawkers who have turned the Black Hills of South Dakota into a modern-day Sodom in the dog days of summer.
When Liv witnesses a second homicide, she attracts the uninvited attentions of Mully, the menacing leader of biker gang Lucifer’s Lot. Their cat-and-mouse game puts Liv once again in the path of FBI agent Streeter Pierce, who’s gone undercover to find the perp in the first murder—plus a shadow criminal called the Crooked Man.
Liv taps every ounce of brains and brawn she has to avoid becoming the killer’s next victim, and the intriguing Streeter shoots to kill.

Book 3: Widow's Might

A vengeful killer with a crooked sense of justice threatens Liv and those she loves most.
The murder of her future sister-in-law has been solved, but Liv Bergen finds herself drawn into a new murder investigation. A rancher has been bludgeoned to death in a style eerily reminiscent of a long-inactive serial killer known only as the Crooked Man—and the rancher’s frail yet feisty widow has been assaulted. Sharp-witted, plucky Liv is asked to be the handler of Beulah, the FBI’s man-trailing bloodhound. Together they unearth critical clues as to the Crooked Man’s whereabouts and warped mind.
FBI agent Streeter Pierce likewise turns his sights on tracking down his nemesis from ten years earlier. Pierce doesn’t complain, though; he’s falling in love with Liv and sets in motion an unconventional way 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 “Boots” Bergen showcases her 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.

One of the things I like about this series is how personable they are. The people, the places all are very familiar and real to me. Liv Bergen herself, though described  differently in the book, reminds me of the Sandra and other people I know. Does this make for tricky reading when they get into rough and often terrifying situations? Yes, you bet. But it also makes it very easy for me to root for them.

The style of writing is also very straight forward. It's crime solving through and through with smart characters that aren't overly portrayed or done up in a way that they become cliche. Liv is a pretty normal gal who is smart and doesn't really take a lot of crap.  She comes from a big family and has a strong community around her. Though amateur in the crime solving stuff, she puts it all together by just her know how. (seriously...from mining to General Custer's expedition, this gals knows some s*$@).

Streeter is definitely the catch, in my opinion, but his allure is subtle. I have an active imagination so Sandra's writing of his no nonsense character allows for my mind to daydream about him a bit!

I have read many a mystery and I love all kinds. I said from the start that I thought Sandra's books were well written. She's got a schtick, if I dare use that word. She's created a solid character combined with settings you can tell she knows very well and mixes it with really clever, intricate crime solving. You can't beat that. 

Like any series, there will probably be one or two that may not hit me as strongly. The crime and history in this one didn't interest me as much as the first two but I still enjoyed the read. It had nothing to do with anything else but my mood. I am so happy for where Liv's character is going (no spoilers). I so very much look forward to the next book. I will miss Streeter and Liv's various family members in the meantime. :(

Rating: Recommend
Really folks, give this series a shot, especially if you are a mystery/thriller fan. They have everything you need from tough detectives, a sassy amateur sleuth, intriguing locales and some serious "What the..?" crime solving.

Title:  Widow's Might
Author: Sandra Brannan
Publisher: Greenleaf Book Group Press
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Format: ARC
Purchase: IndieBound

More fun stuff about Sandra Brannan and her books:

Exclusives main page https://apps.odylfarm.
Widow's Might excerpt https://apps.odylfarm.
Giveaways main page https://apps.odylfarm.
Kindle Fire Giveaway https://apps.

Book Trailer Winner:

It's from Candace Hawkins, blogger and reviewer at Lovey Dovey Books. Here is what Candace had to say:

"I signed up for the Widow's Might book trailer contest ready for a new experience, but I never imagined I'd actually win the contest. I loved the challenge of putting together a short video that would, hopefully, show viewers what the story is about and pique their curiosity. The biggest part of the challenge was deciding how to portray the novel's plot, but understanding the story and characters and knowing why I enjoyed the story made creating the trailer that much more easier. Winning the contest has just made my year!"

Happy Reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child

4 comments: said...

Thank you, Michelle! Blogger fans, this lady is the real mccoy. I just love her for all she's done for me! So grateful to her kindness, support, and huge electronic hugs.

Sandra Brannan

carol said...

The cover on this one just creeps me out. It does sounds like a good series though and I think I would like Liv.

Marce said...

If I haven't began this series by the end of the year come hunt me down.

Sounds so good and I have the 1st two so no excuses.

Sandra commented, yaaaaaaay, love when authors do that and show their appreciation.

Ryan said...

I so want to read this series.