When investigative journalist and television personality Maxine Revere receives word that her childhood friend Kevin O’Neal committed suicide, she isn’t planning on returning home for the funeral. After all, she and Kevin hadn’t spoken in a decade. In high school, Kevin was accused of murdering their mutual best friend, Lindy, and Maxine stuck by him . . . until the “not guilty” verdict came in and Kevin admitted that he’d lied to the police about his alibi. But when Maxine receives a phone call from Kevin’s sister claiming that he didn’t commit suicide and that he was looking into Lindy’s death again, Maxine feels she has no choice but to return home, no matter how many old wounds she might open in the process.
A thrilling twisty read, Notorious is a promising first novel in this new series. Readers will appreciate Maxine while being impressed with how much story Brennan packed into this tidy little novel.
I’ve been a fan of Allison Brennan’s Lucy Kincaid novels, so when I learned she had a new series debuting, I was immediately interested. After all, Brennan writes suspenseful novels with sharp, three-dimensional heroines; I was eager to get to know Maxine and to see what fate had in store for her.
Brennan does a great job with Maxine in Notorious; she’s not always the most likeable character, but she’s smart and sticks to her principles. She makes hard decisions and isn’t afraid to face the consequences. Much of this novel centers on Maxine’s difficult family life; just by coming home for Kevin’s funeral, Maxine rocks the boat. She knows she may not like what she finds when she begins digging into Maxine’s disappearance, but she firmly believes that knowing the truth is best, no matter how difficult that truth might be.
There is a lot going on in Notorious, and it’s a testament to Brennan’s writing prowess that the novel never feels cluttered. There are multiple main storylines; the summary above only tackles one of these. They’re all deep and complex, but they never compete with one another. The storylines manage to complement one another, even when they are completely unrelated. The result is a suspenseful novel you won’t be able to put down.
Notorious is absolutely a wonderful start to what’s sure to be an electrifying new series. Brennan writes both her characters and mysteries so well; readers will appreciate how fully developed both are. Crime fiction and thriller readers should absolutely pick up this winning novel without hesitation.
Other books by Allison Brennan: