Review of “Widow’s Might” by Sandra Brannan

You cannot meet this author – as I had the opportunity to do at the 12th Annual SIBA (Southern Independent Book Association) Convention this past September – and not like her immediately. So I have been avoiding reading her book – what if I hated it? Fortunately, it is totally not an issue. I liked it so much I actually intend to go back and read earlier books in the Liv Bergen Mystery Series, even though I hate going backwards in series! But I really like these characters, and the author’s voice as channeled through main protagonist Live Bergen is as charming as is her real-life voice as Sandra Brannan.

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Liv is an attractive 29-year old miner working in Livermore, Colorado who doesn’t go out much, and says she has never apologized for “keeping my nose to the limestone.” Yet somehow [presumably elucidated in earlier books in the series], she had become involved with a murder case in the Black Hills of South Dakota, and got to know the FBI agents on the scene investigating it. And now, it so happens she gets mixed up with yet another murder case, only a short time after the last. This murder looks like one committed by a bizarre and methodical serial killer known as “The Crooked Man.” FBI Special Agent Streeter Pierce (secretly called Agent Adonis by Liv) has been frustrated by these cases for thirteen years now, but with Liv’s knowledge of the area and the assistance of two other agents (also-gorgeous Jack Linwood and also-gorgeous Jenna Tate), there are finally some breakthroughs. It also helps immensely that the latest intended victim of The Crooked Man, a feisty widow named Helma Hanson, managed to survive. As the protagonists work towards solving the crime, we also learn a lot about General George Armstrong Custer’s 1874 expedition into the Black Hills, and about the disputes between conservationists and ranchers over the preservation of natural resources and historic sites in South Dakota.

Evaluation: Other than the fact that everyone in this book is either “a looker” or “drop-dead gorgeous” I was delighted with this book. (And what the heck – maybe the Black Hills has more appeal than I knew!) Well, there was also the problem that what occurred in earlier books seems to be pretty important, but isn’t made all that clear to readers just jumping in at book three. Thus, I would recommend starting with the two earlier books in the series, In The Belly of Jonah, and Lot’s Return to Sodom. (Yes, all the titles are biblical references, and yes, one could even define this book, and perhaps the others, as Christian fiction.) But don’t let all these caveats deter you! This is a very likable book, with great characters. The author’s self-deprecating humor and talent as a raconteur are just as charming as can be. (And now, I’m off to order the two previous books….)

Rating: 3.5/5

Published by Greenleaf Book Group Press, 2012

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15 Responses

  1. She was so much fun wasn’t she? Just one of those people that you immediately feel at ease with. I am so happy that she actually writes a good book, otherwise I would have been sad.

  2. I met her at BEA when her first book came out! unfortunately… I never did read it. But I heard her books are really good so I cannot forget to get to them!

  3. I know what you mean – I struggle to read Maggie Stiefvater’s books for the same reason. What if I don’t love her books the way I love her? Anyway, I have a couple books by Brannan and now I’m anxious to read them!

  4. Always nice when an author you’ve met and liked has books that you like too!

  5. Every time I go to SIBA, I run into her, and she is always really friendly and feels like a confidante though that is the only place I’ve seen her. She’s really funny too, and her stories just come alive when she bubbles them out. I can’t wait to read this one now, Jill. I love that you had such a positive reaction to this book. It will be one that I read soon!

  6. I would feel the same way if I met an author I really liked … I’d be terrified not to like their books. Creepy cover!

  7. Jill, could you say a little more about how this book could be defined as “Christian fiction”? Is it a graphic mystery but with “clean” language or what? Late Happy New Year to you, my friend!

  8. Well I am really taken with the Black Hills setting — I love that part of the country. Like Jenners said, the cover is totally creepy.

  9. I almost choked on my coffee when I bopped over here, we are reviewing her first book, In The Belly Of Jonah tonight at book club and Sandra is skyping in.
    She is so awesome and I agree Jill, when you meet her, you cant help but love her! I went and seen her speak in Minneapolis in October and had dinner with her. She is sending a package that is supposed to arrive today for book club… so excited!!!

  10. I admit my interest is piqued. I wasn’t familiar with her books, but they sound interesting!

  11. Lucky for me I do have the first two books!! I really need to start reading!!

  12. You jumped into it mid-series??? I am APPALLED. Next thing you know you’ll be reading the end first.

  13. I have In the Belly of Jonah on my wish list.
    I know what you mean about being afraid to read her book after you met her. That’s how I felt after meeting Taylor Stevens. Lucky for both of us it worked out :)

  14. This was my least favorite (actually wasn’t too thrilled with it at all) of the three. The first two were really, really good in my opinion. :)

  15. ok…now after I read the first…where I already commented..I will have to read another series? well, if I must….

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