With the introduction of kick-ass heroine Lisbeth Salander in Stieg Larsson’s books and Tana French’s very human Cassie Maddox of the Dublin Murder Squad, we have seen an influx of strong female characters in the thriller/mystery genre. The Widow’s Might takes us into Sandra Brannan’s third Liv Bergen series ~ amateur sleuth, division manager of a successful quarry in Colorado, and down-to-earth, family-oriented, next-door neighbor, daughter, sister and friend ~ an endearing, strong heroine for our time.
In the third installment of the Liv Bergen series, we are taken right back into Sturgis, South Dakota at the end of the annual motorcycle rally made famous by Harley Davidson riders. Liv was integral in helping FBI agent Streeter Pierce work a particular difficult case involving a motorcycle gang ~ in fact, in the Widow’s Might, one of Pierce’s agents is still deep undercover in a particularly violent gang. Liv Bergen has informally assisted the FBI in two cases (In the Belly of Jonah and Lot’s Return to Sodom) given her knowledge of the Northwest and it’s diverse population. In fact, Agent Pierce is now attempting to coerce Liv into the FBI academy at Quantico ~ he just has to convince her to leave the family quarry business. . .
In the Widow’s Might, Liv is thrust into solving the attempted murder of a recent widow confined to a nursing home. Liv’s rainbow-colored-haired younger sister will not take no for an answer when involving Liv in the “kidnapping”/rescuing of the widow from the home. It’s upon unofficially investigating the attempted murder that Liv helps Special Agent Pierce discover the handiwork of Pierce’s long-time nemesis ~ the Crooked Man.
Integral to the story is the history of General Custer and the nature of the Black Hills, South Dakota. Brannan does an excellent job of making the land and the history itself a character all of its own. And although Liv’s quarry business has taken a temporary back seat to the solving of horrific crimes against elderly individuals, the depth of Brannan’s personal knowledge and experience shines through. And did I mention the quirky, eccentric sense of humor leaping off the page? Liv Bergen inadvertently attracts trouble even while working to avoid any problems, making her character endearingly believable and relate-able! Of particular notable character traits Liv embodies is her love of family ~ nothing is going to keep her from protecting her family, even at her own detriment. Knowing that Sandra Brannan comes from a large family, I have to wonder if that particular trait is somewhat autobiographical.
I found the Widow’s Might to be a most enjoyable read. I loved the history interspersed throughout the novel and found the environmental issues to be relevant and immediate. While Widow’s Might was not as edge-of-your-seat, keep the lights on read as In the Belly of Jonah, I probably enjoyed it as much, if not more than the first two novels. Liv is human, strong, yet vulnerable and self-sufficient. Sandra Brannan’s writing is tight, entertaining and includes just the right amount of tantalizing mystery. Check her out ~ I guarantee Brannan will not disappoint.Widow’s Might by Sandra Brannan Received from JKS Communications (many thanks!) Third Review for RIP Event