This is the fourth book in the Liv Bergen crime series. I love Sandra Brannan. It so happens that I met her, and the voice of Liv Bergen is so Sandra, that reading her books just feels like you’re spending time with Sandra and listening to another one of her alternately humorous, heartwarming, and exciting anecdotes about her life.
In this book, Liv shares the narration with Noah, her 12-year-old nephew who has severe cerebral palsy. Noah can’t actually speak, but it doesn’t mean he isn’t observant, smart, and courageous. He manages to communicate, if people pay attention to him and his signals. As Noah explains, his brain works just as well as any other kid his age; it’s just his body that won’t cooperate.
Noah wants to be a “spy” and his Auntie Liv is helping him.
Liv is staying with one of her sisters (Noah’s mom Frances), because she is looking for a house in the Denver area. She recently quit her job in mining in Ft. Collins, and underwent formal training as an FBI agent. She is now Special Agent Liv Bergen, although, being new, she’s not feeling all that confident. She works closely with Streeter Pierce – “a legend at the Bureau”, and Jack Linwood, the supervisor of the Investigative Control Operations in the Denver Bureau.
Liv is having a bit of a relationship with Jack, although we suspect her deeper attraction is to Streeter. Liv is 29, and Streeter is ten years older, and Jack is even a year older than Streeter. But Streeter lost his wife, and seems to shun serious relationships. Jack is divorced, and while he is more secretive about his private life than Streeter, he is more open to getting involved.
When “Little Max” – the young son of rich and famous parents, is kidnapped on Christmas Eve, Liv is called into the case, as are Jack and Streeter. Once again, as with the previous novels in this series, Liv’s involvement becomes personal. We can see from the Prologue what will happen and we can also guess how it will come out, but that doesn’t interfere with enjoying the book in the least. Nor does it affect the tension level, which of course increases as the hours tick by during which the child has been missing.
Discussion: The books in this series are about crimes, but they are also very much about family ties, female empowerment, and romance. In addition, this particular book brings up the subject of children with severe challenges. The author not only deftly portrays what that means for family members, but offers a way to see such children, who are so commonly treated as “invisible.”
Evaluation: Really? You are not reading Sandra Brannan? You’re missing out!
Published by Greenleaf Book Group Press, 2013