Monday, January 17, 2011

LOVE ME TO DEATH - Allison Brennan

First line: "This was Roger Morton's big chance - his only chance - to get out of the country and re-create the life he used to have."

Lucy Kincaid is a rape survivor trying to join the FBI. As she works through the steps to attain her goal - impressive collegiate accomplishments and internships - she is also volunteering at a victims' rights group. Lucy has created a program to track released rapists who are at risk for repeating their crimes. She finds them online and sets up stings to take the offenders down and off the streets. However, when one of the offenders doesn't show at the arranged location and instead winds up dead in another location, the cop who was sent to arrest the rapist questions Lucy. When Lucy starts digging into the matter, she discovers this isn't the first man she's set up to turn up dead instead.

Meanwhile, one of the men responsible for Lucy's rape six years earlier has been released from prison. When he too winds up dead, the FBI is at Lucy's door searching for answers.

LOVE ME TO DEATH has a strong, suspenseful plot with well-timed twists. Brennan does a great job of giving just enough information to adequately tell the story but leave some vagueness that in turn creates questions and momentum.

The characters are well developed. Lucy is a strong female lead with realistic qualities. She has fears and doubts and desires but is resilient, smart and determined. Likewise, her sister-in-law Kate is talented and smart. I enjoyed the verbal sparring between Kate and Special Agent Noah Armstrong, contrasting and comparing the sexes and their obstinacy.

Sean Rogan is Lucy's love interest as well as her brother's partner in a security agency. He's young and full of testosterone. I think Brennan intends for his character to grow and mature in his relationship with Lucy and the dangers they're encountering, but it sometimes came off as a little overly dramatic and not so believable.

The main villain of LOVE ME TO DEATH is a 100% evil, creepy sociopath. Readers will not have any conflict about their feelings for this character.

As I'm a proponent of less is more when it comes to sex and violence, I think the "romantic interludes" were far more detailed then they needed to be and lost a lot of their effect in addition to slowing the plot at points. But if you're a fan of the romance, this element won't be an issue for you.

Finally, I was a little disappointed in the outcome, which I, of course, will not share. Part of the resolution I figured out early, and part was anti-climatic after all the suspense Brennan built up throughout the book. The book is so chock full of great elements that challenge the reader, and I wanted the end to be at that level as well. You know, one of those, "Wow! She really got me on that one."

That being said, it was a very enjoyable, fast read. Fans of romantic suspense will likely fly through the pages to find the resolution.

LOVE ME TO DEATH is available from Ballantine Books in paperback (ISBN: 978-0-345-52039-5). And this review is part of the LOVE ME TO DEATH blog tour, arranged by TLC Book Tours. You can find other reviews of this book at the TLC site.


LisaMM January 17, 2011 at 11:43 AM  

Hi Jen, I'm glad you felt the book had a strong plot and good twists! Thank you so much for being on the tour.

Ha Ha my word verification is "exCon" what is up with that??

Jen Forbus January 17, 2011 at 12:08 PM  

Oh, I rigged that, Lisa! Creative word verification. :-)


Swapna January 24, 2011 at 2:16 PM  

I do want to read this one, but I hate that it's predictable. Oh well!

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