Thursday, October 6, 2011

In The Belly of Jonah: Book Review

"He was coming toward her again, the hose hissing near his feet. Her instincts told her to run, but when she moved to stand her legs were too heavy to pull from the water, her arms too heavy to throw a punch. It was hard enough just to breathe."

Intrigued yet? I know I would be. That's part of the excerpt that's cleverly placed on the back of the book, In The Belly of Jonah, to grab our attention...and boy did it work.

Finding a book that captures my attention and holds it is something that rarely happens. I've been known to spend hours at the bookstore reading through the first chapter of dozens of books in hopes to walk out with just one. This book, this crime fiction/murder mystery book, I would have definitely walked out with!

Liv Bergen is an independent, smart and savvy lime plant manager who gets a crack at amateur sleuthing when a shocking murder mystery grips her town of Fort Collins, Colorado. A sick and twisted serial killer is on the loose, and he is preying upon his unsuspecting victims right under the noses of the authorities. When one of the victims turns out to be Liv's summer intern, the case gets personal for Liv and she finds herself at the heart of the investigation.

As more and more clues start to surface about the "Venus de Milo" serial killer, Live begins to realize that she is closing in on an extremely psychotic and twisted individual and possibly getting herself in over her own head. FBI agent Streeter Pierce gets assigned to the case, and Live thinks that she has something to offer him in the way of furthering the investigation. Little does she know that her own involvement in the situation has put herself and those around her in grave danger; Venus de Milo seem to know she's onto him. Will Live and Streeter be able to crack the case before Venus de Milo strikes again or will they become just another victim in his string of thoughtfully planned out killings?

My Review:
In my opinion the first chapter of a book sets the bar for a book and Sandra Brannan did a fabulous job at setting the bar high up on the scale and keeping it there throughout this entire book. The story begins by introducing us to Venus de Milo during his first killing, showing us just how demented and twisted he is, and continues to stay vivid and captivating through the end.

The story was both suspenseful and intriguing, without getting tedious. I was never once bored or had to force myself to get through the next page. The author did a fabulous job of interweaving chapters told from Liv, Agent Pierce, and Venus de Milo's point of view; only heightening the suspense of the story. Liv was very relatable and likable. I liked that she didn't just miraculously know things even though she didn't have formal law enforcement training. Every clue she came up with was explained and thought it was funny that she would often make fun of herself for sounding like a character out of Scooby Doo.

I really enjoyed the probable story line, characters and the fact that everything flowed really well from beginning to end. Being a person who likes to know everything about a crime scene in murder mystery books I greatly appreciated Brannan thoroughly describing every aspect of the murders and crime scenes. The ending was timely, clean, didn't leave loose ends (even explained how the Venus de Milo killer was born) and was cleverly left open for it's newly released sequel, Lot's Return To Sodom.

I'd definitely recommend 'In The Belly of Jonah' to anyone who's looking for a great crime fiction/murder mystery to read during these new cold cloudy days. And if by chance the top excerpt wasn't enough to enthrall you, here's one more -->

"'Masterpiece,' he said, admiring the photograph as he added it to the gallery of five other framed prints hanging on his bedroom wall.

The photo had been taken of the girl from behind. His attention was drawn to the knot of brown hair, noticeable beneath the cloth wrapped around her face and head despite the gaping rectangle cut in the girl's midriff.


In the Belly of Jonah, by Sandra Brannan can be purchased here or here.
Lot's Return to Sodom, by Sandra Brannan can be purchased here or here.

(Disclosure: I was provided with a copy of both In The Belly of Jonah & Lot's Return to Sodom in order to review and/or post about them. I was not monetarily compensated for this post & all view and opinions in this post are mine.)



Post a Comment

I love comments!