Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Review: Notorious by Allison Brennan

New York Times bestselling author Allison Brennan introduces an irrepressible heroine in her pulse-pounding new thriller Notorious, which Lisa Gardner says is, "Guaranteed to keep you up late at night."

Maxine Revere has dedicated her life to investigating murders that the police have long since given up any hope of solving. A nationally renowned investigative reporter with her own TV show and a tough-as-nails reputation, Max tackles cold cases from across the country and every walk of life. But the one unsolved murder that still haunts her is a case from her own past.

When Max was a high school senior, one of her best friends was strangled and another, Kevin O’Neal, accused of the crime. To the disgrace of her wealthy family, Max stood by her friend, until she found out he lied about his alibi. Though his guilt was never proven, their relationship crumbled from the strain of too many secrets.

Now Max is home for Kevin’s funeral—after years of drug abuse, he committed suicide. She’s finally prepared to come to terms with the loss of his friendship, but she’s not prepared for Kevin’s sister to stubbornly insist that he didn’t kill himself. Or for an elderly couple to accost her at the airport, begging her to look into another murder at Max’s old high school. Max is more interested in the cold case at her alma mater than in digging around Kevin’s troubled life, but she agrees to do both. As Max uncovers dark secrets, she finds herself caught in a complicated web of lies that hit far too close to home. And it’s becoming increasingly clear that someone will do whatever it takes to make sure the truth stays buried.

Hardcover, 336 pages
Expected publication: March 25th 2014 by Minotaur Books (first published March 18th 2014)

Terri's Thoughts:

I received this ARC novel as part of a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review. The expected publication date is March 25th 2014.

I enjoyed this read.  It had the perfect amount of mystery and suspense with the main character drawn in to the task of trying to solve two cold case murders.  Mix in a handful of potential suspects and family drama and you have the ideal framework for a good "who dunnit".  The writing was well done and the story was paced just write.

I really enjoyed the supporting character of David and Santini.  I found David's devotion to Max in assisting with her career and ensuring her security was admirable in spite of the fact that I felt Max did not offer him the same respect.  Santini as the local cop was just dreamy in my opinion.  Although there was no major love story attached (more a mutual attraction) I loved his even temperament and his personality.  I looked forward to scenes in which he was a part of.

The part that I struggled with was the character of Max.  She was obviously the main character and was written to be strong and independent.  I found that she was too much so.  She was too hard and jaded which made it difficult to identify with her.  She held the truth to the highest degree sometimes writing people out of her life for a lie yet she committed lies of omission throughout the entire story.  This made her very hypocritical and left a sour taste in my mouth as she held people to a higher standard than herself.  I know she was written to be a strong character who stops at nothing to get answers however I felt her character was not balanced enough to make her believable.  It is my understanding that this is the first book featuring the character of Max and I think that for future instalments that she needs to be fine tuned so that she is tough yet believable at the same time.

Although I struggled with Max this was still a good story.  I enjoyed the time spent within the pages.  I am just not sure if I will invest further time in Max' future stories.  Then again it could be interesting to see how she evolves.

About the Author

Allison Brennan is the New York Times bestselling and award-winning author of twenty romantic thrillers and many short stories. RT Book Reviews calls Allison “a master of suspense” and her books “haunting,” “mesmerizing,” “pulse-pounding” and “emotionally complex.” Lisa Gardner says, “Brennan knows how to deliver.”

The sixth book in the Lucy Kincaid series, STOLEN, is available now, followed by COLD SNAP in November 2013. Allison is launching a new series starring smart and savvy investigative reporter Maxine Revere, beginning with NOTORIOUS in April, 2014. Allison lives near Sacramento, California with her husband, five children, and assorted animals.

From Allison: "I grew up an only child--it was just me and my mom, though my grandparents lived nearby. I entertained myself by reading and making up my own stories. When I was 8, my favorite books were Trixie Belden. At 9, I graduated to Nancy Drew. By the time I was 10, I started reading my mom's extensive Agatha Christie collection. Unfortunately for me, there wasn't the wealth of YA books my teenage daughters enjoy today, so by the time I was 13 I graduated to Stephen King and never went back to kid books.

After college I thought I had to have a "real" job so I worked in the California State Legislature as a consultant. But I never stopped writing. I began over 100 books that I never finished. After turning giving birth to my third child when I was 31, I decided if I wanted to pursue a career in writing, I needed to finish one of the many books I'd started. I wrote five complete manuscripts before I sold THE PREY, which became my debut novel published in January of 2006."

Twitter:  Allison_Brennan    

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