Brannan Thrills with "In the Belly of Jonah"
Liv Bergen is the spunky, smart, and self-confident manager of a limestone mine in Fort Collins, Colorado. But, when one of her summer interns becomes the next victim of the Venus de Milo murderer, Liv becomes embroiled in an FBI investigation that puts, not only herself, but her family and friends in peril. In the Belly of Jonah, Sandra Brannan's first book in the Liv Bergen series, is a fast-paced mystery that kept me up late reading. In Liv Bergen, Brannan has written a strong female lead who is immediately likable and is someone who you almost wish lived next door. When reading In the Belly of Jonah, I got up close and personal with Liv through Brannan's excellent use of the first-person point-of-view. This helped build the intimacy between myself and her protagonist, leaving me connected enough to Liv to keep me reading to see what happens to her. While I'm on the subject of character point-of-view, Brannan also gives the killer his own point-of-view, which gave me a glimpse into his twisted mind, fueling the desire to see him meet his downfall in the end. The plot for In the Belly of Jonah was innovative, but the murders tend to be pretty brutal. Although Brannan doesn't describe the gore in detail, those with a vivid imagination will no doubt be able to visualize the gruesome nature of the victims' deaths. All in all, this was an enjoyable book loaded with great characters. Brannan's writing is sharp and concise, and she weaves the threads of her tail into a coherent story that keeps the pages turning. In the Belly of Jonah is a good start to the Liv Bergen series.