Review of “In the Belly of Jonah” by Sandra Brannan

After reading Widow’s Might (see my review here), I liked the characters so much, I decided to go back to the beginning of the Liv Bergen series and read them in order.

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Liv Bergen, age 29, manages her family’s limestone quarry in Livermore, Colorado.

Liv keeps getting mixed up in murders. In this book, it all starts when one of her employees at the mine is found murdered, in a very gruesome way. The circumstances of the death suggest the employee was the latest victim of the so-called Venus de Milo serial killer. One of the FBI agents who arrives in Fort Collins to investigate is Liv’s former college basketball teammate, Lisa Henry. Liv invites Lisa to stay at her house, and even suggests that Lisa and her colleagues use her house as their working headquarters. Liv leaves the house early and stays out late so she won’t disturb them. In fact, she never even meets the one agent Lisa characterizes as “a legend” and “incredibly handsome,” Special Agent Streeter Pierce from the FBI in Denver.

Liv also investigates on her own, in part because she cared for Jill (the victim), in part because of bits and pieces of conversation with Lisa, and perhaps mostly because she has a kind of Nancy Drew disposition. Eventually, she herself comes to the attention of the de Milo killer, and there is a tension-filled confrontation at the end of the book.

Evaluation: It was definitely worthwhile to go backwards in the series and meet Liv and Lisa and Streeter and the others at the beginning. The protagonists are all charming, especially Liv, and as soon as I finished this first book, I went on to the second….

Rating: 3.5/5

Published by Greenleaf Book Group Press, 2010

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18 Responses

  1. That you immediately went to the next book says a lot.

  2. Glad it was worth reading, there’s always that chance when you start in the middle of a series that the first book won’t seem very good. Is the agent’s first name really Streeter? Possibly the strangest name I’ve heard of in a book before.

  3. I’ve never read a book out of order. I’m kind of OCD about that…lol…if I recieve a later book in a series, I have to get the earlier book and read it first—fast! That book has a heck of a cover, by the way. Whew!

  4. Awesome. I am ready to move on to her second one now. I have all three just need to get to them, and yeah… I liked the characters so much that I want to know whats next :)

  5. It is easy to imagine Sandra creating charming characters because she herself is so darned charming.

  6. It sounds like a series I need to explore!

  7. This series has long been on my TBR — I hear nothing but raves — and I love the consistently dark covers!

  8. Of course you went on to the second. Series are like crack to you. And how creepy to read about a victim named Jill.

  9. I love that you loved this one so much! I can’t wait to read it for myself soon, and the sequels. It sounds amazing, and so many have loved them, that I can’t say no. Sandra deserves much praise for creating such involving characters!

  10. LOL at Jenners comment. :)

    I really enjoyed the first two, but the third didn’t work for me. (Did I already say that here?!)

  11. ok! now I know where I read about this author and why I bought a copy of this book!

  12. I SO need to read a Sandra Brannan book!

  13. I don’t read books out of order either (unless it’s by accident). I don’t know if it’s just me, but that cover kind of creeps me out.

  14. I didn’t realize that you read them out-of-order!! I won’t…and now I’m wondering if I should put them on my 2013 stack of books!!

  15. Sounds right up my alley – I’ll have to check out this series!

  16. I’m always hesitant to pick murder mysteries, especially ones with blood on the coverage. But after seeing how many people enjoy this series, this may be one I’ll brave.

  17. I’ve already got this one on my wish list!

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