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.)
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….]
Once again Liv is tangentially involved in a murder. In this case, Michelle, the fiancée of Liv’s 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.
Published by Greenleaf Book Group Press, 2011