Review of “Lot’s Return to Sodom” by Sandra Brannan

As I mentioned in my review of Widow’s Might (see my review here), after reading it, I liked the characters so much that I decided to go back to the beginning of the Liv Bergen series and read the books in order. The first book is In the Belly of Jonah (see my review here), and immediately after completing it, I started this one, Lot’s Return to Sodom. I am very happy now that I understand all the references in Widow’s Might. What is really intriguing to me also is that Widow’s Might picks up exactly where Lot’s Return to Sodom left off – like maybe five minutes later! – but yet you wouldn’t know it without reading both books! (This is a pleasant change from the too typical cliffhanger endings of trilogies.)

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Liv Bergen, age 29, manages her family’s limestone quarry in Livermore, Colorado. But this book takes place in the Black Hills of South Dakota, where Liv’s family is. Even more interesting, the action coincides with the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. I have heard of the rally, but I never knew much about it until reading this book. Now, I think I’m happy I never was anywhere near South Dakota in August! [Is it really as bad as it is depicted in this book, you may ask? I would say that (a) I met Sandra Brannan and I trust her impressions and (b) I googled pictures of “Sturgis Motorcycle Rally” and they support her descriptions of what goes on there! …which is not to say there probably aren’t many good and fun things about the rally as well…. But I'd like to see what Trish has to say about this book, since she has actually been to a Sturgis Rally!]

Once again Liv is tangentially involved in a murder. In this case, Michelle, the finance of her brother Jens has been killed. Agent Streeter Pierce comes to the Black Hills to investigate, because the FBI agent in the area claims this murder looks like a serial killer case that Streeter has been following. Liv never met Streeter, even though he was a main character in the previous book, and doesn’t realize who he is. She has seen him however, and thinks of him as “Agent Adonis.”

Liv is determined to solve the crime of who killed Michelle because her brother Jens is also a suspect. As if that weren’t enough to get Liv into trouble, she inadvertently witnesses another death that happens in the presence of an outlaw motorcycle gang, and takes pictures of the scene with her phone. At the last minute, “Mully,” the formidable head of the gang, spots her, and now Liv has a reason to fear for her own life. Liv and Streeter both circle around each other as they chase the killer or killers, and both end up as targets themselves as they close in on the truth.

Evaluation: Once again Brannan as crafted a story that is full of colorful, likeable, and realistic characters. Although the book is plenty suspenseful, it still exhibits humor and a “homespun” quality that is a refreshing change from other books in this genre.

Rating: 3.5/5

Published by Greenleaf Book Group Press, 2011

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12 Responses

  1. A book that picks up 5 minutes later – loving the sound of that, those gaps that exist in most sequels can be quite annoying. Glad you enjoyed this one, too.

  2. LOLOL!!!! You definitely have me intrigued! I do think that there are some yucky things that go on at the rally, especially at the campsite Buffalo Gap, but we stayed way far away from all of that! The riding, though, is simply amazing–especially through the Black Hills around Deadwood, Mount Rushmore, and Crazy Horse memorial.

  3. I need to finish the series and I am looking forward tot his one. I have not been to Sturgis, but have many friends with bikes who do. Maybe someday although it sounds a little spooky.

  4. Jill, thank you for reading all three books. WOW! I’m humbled and very much appreciative of that investment. I can’t tell you how much it means to me. Too kind!

    On a personal note, I am THRILLED you picked up on one subtelty that no other reader or reveiwer has…. that Liv Bergen thinks EVERYONE she meets is gorgeous!! After reading all three books, you’ll notice its Liv who thinks everyone who visits SD — Streeter Pierce, Jenna Tate, Jack Linwood — is drop dead beautiful. She even thinks Bly, who is a Hagrid sort, is attractive. And intentional ‘iceburg’ quirk where I was trying to show you how people in the Dakotas think rather than to just come out and say it. Having grown up in South Dakota and being told throughout all my impressionable years by boys I was infatuated with… “What do you call a pretty girl in South Dakota? A tourist.”… you can see why I did this. The subtle culture that is very South Dakota-ish is we pretty much think everyone we meet from other parts of the country and world are rock stars.

    So tell all your friends to pay a visit and I bet you get treated like royalty!! And thank you again for your generousity of kind words about me. Lucky me, meeting you!

  5. I love it when an author breaks up tension with humor. I really need to try these books.

  6. I love that the books follow each other so closely, yet you can jump in at any point and get started and not miss a beat. I also love that Sandra jumped in to compliment the skill of your reviews, and I have to agree with her. Reading about these three has been particularly enticing!!

  7. I like your review so very much.

  8. I love the Black Hills .. this series does sound good.

  9. I wouldn’t go to Sturgis during Bike Week if you paid me. (Well, maybe for a certain amount.) Mr. Jenners watched some show about it (I think it was about all the work the cops do during that week) and it seemed like a bit of a mess.

  10. now you are all done…

  11. Only 3…good thing. I have 2 of these! :D

  12. This sounds like a promising series, especially since you liked the characters so much. I love a good character-driven read. I’m adding this to my list.

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