Book Reviews

Book Review: Sudden Death by Allison Brennan – Suspenseful Mystery with A Little Romance Thrown In

Allison Brennan was an author recommended to me by a friend and I decided to check her out.  Sudden Death was listed as a romance, which really almost put me off of it.  I’m not a Harlequin romance kind of girl.  Actually, it’s more of a mystery thriller with a little bit of romance thrown in.

Megan Elliott is an FBI special agent who’s called in to investigate the ritualistic murder of an apparent homeless veteran in Sacramento.  After identifying him by the dog tag on the body, Megan learns he was a former Delta Force soldier and connects him to several other murders across the country.

Meanwhile, Jack Kincaid is another former soldier who leads a group of mercenaries in Hidalgo, Texas.  When one of his men is murdered and the connection is made to the murders Megan is investigating, he joins the investigation, helping Megan with the resources at his disposal.  The two form a connection almost instantly and are drawn to each other, but their romance will have to wait while they hunt a pair of killers.

I enjoyed reading Sudden Death. The characters had depth and were for the most part well-rounded.  Some of them have apparently appeared in other novels by Brennan, which makes me want to read those as well.  The pace of the novel is quite good.  There’s an urgency to what’s happening as it’s apparent to Megan that left unchecked this killer will continue killing in a particularly brutal and torturous fashion.  Although the killers are also described as they are committing their crime, it’s the “why they are doing what they do” which is a mystery.  Each of them has their own separate agenda, which isn’t fully revealed until close to the end.  This isn’t a novel I could read and try to figure out.  Brennan doesn’t give the reader all the information to piece together what’s happening, but the way she reveals what’s going on didn’t leave me frustrated that I wasn’t able to guess why the one killer was doing what they were doing.

The romance seems a bit forced.  This love at first sight, we’re perfect for each other despite hardly knowing each other bit seems hard to believe at times.  I could believe the attraction between Jack and Megan, especially since they seem to be two of a kind in many ways.  However, it just seemed like it was too serious too fast with little to base it on.  It’s not a reason to not read the novel, just not an aspect of the story that I thought worked.

There are other side issues.  Megan seems conflicted with her supervisor, Hans, who she has regarded as a father figure until this case where suddenly he seems to turn cold.  It was great in a way because these snippets of information led me on a different tangent with regard to the killer as I tried to figure out exactly what was going on.  Jack is dealing with his estrangement from his family and coming to grips that maybe he doesn’t want that for the rest of his life.  All of this works into the story quite well.

If you enjoy a good mystery thriller featuring good characters, I think you’ll enjoy Sudden Death.  The characters are interesting, and the pace is fantastic.  I felt like I was part of the investigation while knowing a little more than the investigators did, but not everything until the end.  I’m glad I ignored the “romance” classification and gave it a shot.