Title: In the Belly of Jonah
Author: Sandra Brannan
Publisher: Greenleaf Book Group
Pages: Paperback; 252
Release Date: September 1, 2010
Genre: Thriller / Mystery
HDB Rating: 5 Keys to My Heart
Recommended to: Readers who enjoy strong female protagonists and a fabulous story line!
Add it on: Goodreads / Shelfari / Amazon / B&N
In the Belly of Jonah is a fast-paced mystery with a likable protagonist and an intricately woven narrative brimming with bizarre yet believable twists. The first in a series, the book expertly lays the groundwork for Liv Bergen, amateur sleuth, and her love interest, FBI Agent Streeter Pierce.
>Liv becomes involved in the investigation of the murder of Jill Brannigan, a summer intern at the limestone mine Liv manages near Fort Collins, Colorado (a breathtaking setting that unwittingly becomes an accessory to crime). In doing so, she inadvertently puts her friends, her family, and herself at risk of being swallowed in the belly of a madman bloated with perverse appetites for women, surrealistic art, and renown. Perhaps a bit too daring (and at times irreverent) for her own good, "Boots," as Liv's eight siblings call her, soon realizes she has a knack for outsmarting and tracking down the Venus de Milo murderer--and she enjoys it!
As the gripping plot of In the Belly of Jonah unfolds, Liv Bergen takes her place alongside the best female crime-solvers as a woman with smarts, self-confidence, and intuitive savvy.
Let me talk a little bit about Liv Bergen. As a female protagonist, Liv is by far one of my favorite characters of all time. She is strong, opinionated, but still kind. Liv is the type of woman who will be straight up with you about what she knows and doesn't know. Not abrasive, but still able to stand up for herself. The type of person that I'd want to hang out with on a daily basis. Liv is the essence of what all us "strong women" out there want to be, and I love her for it! I was also very appreciative of the fact that Sandra Brannan took this whole first book to build Liv up as a woman, before putting her into a romantic relationship. That edge is there, but it isn't fleshed out yet. I'm sure it will be in the next book!
Of course In the Belly of Jonah also features a stunning murder mystery. As I mentioned above, the murders are grisly and a bit odd in nature. If you are a fan of CSI, there is a lot of very technical parts in here that you will enjoy as well. The reader is allowed to see into the inner workings of the murderer, as the point of view switches between them and Liv. What is created is a paradigm that your brain will be completely absorbed in. I was so caught up in trying to figure out who the voice of the murderer was portraying, that the book literally flew by. It took me until the last 50 pages before the pieces finally fell into place for me. I was so very impressed.
A rip-roaring mystery of the finest kind, I highly recommend In the Belly of Jonah to any you out there who enjoy this genre. Heck, actually I'm sure you'd love this book even if you're not a big mystery fan. Liv is amazing, the story is extremely well-written, you'll be hooked!
FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.