Thursday, January 30, 2020

Third to Die by Allison Brennan Blog Tour

My good friend Sophia Rose had an opportunity to be a part of Harlequin's Winter 2020 Mystery/Thriller blog tour and I'm so excited she decided to post her stop on The Reading Frenzy.  Her's is Allison Brennan's The Third To Die it's the first in Allison's brand new Mobile Response Team series brought to you by Harlequin's Mira imprint.

Third to Die by Allison Brennan

#1 Mobile Response Team
Publisher:  MIRA
Published: 2.4.20
Pages:  464
Rating: 4
Format: eARC
Source:  Harlequin

ADD TO: GoodReads

GoodReads Blurb:
An edgy female police detective…An ambitious FBI special agent… Together they are at the heart of the ticking-clock investigation for a psychopathic serial killer. The bond they forge in this crucible sets the stage for high-stakes suspense.

Detective Kara Quinn, on leave from the LAPD, is on an early morning jog in her hometown of Liberty Lake when she comes upon the body of a young nurse. The manner of death shows a pattern of highly controlled rage.

Meanwhile in DC, FBI special agent Mathias Costa is staffing his newly minted Mobile Response Team. Word reaches Matt that the Liberty Lake murder fits the profile of the compulsive Triple Killer. It will be the first case for the MRT. This time they have a chance to stop this zealous if elusive killer before he strikes again. But only if they can figure out who he is and where he is hiding before he disappears for another three years. The stakes are higher than ever before, because if they fail, one of their own will be next…

Read an excerpt:

Wednesday, March 3
Liberty Lake, Washington
12:09 a.m.

Warm blood covered him.
            His arms, up to his elbows, were slick with it. His clothing splattered with it. The knife—the blade that had taken his retribution—hung in his gloved hand by his side.
            It was good. Very good.
            He was almost done.
            The killer stared at the blackness in front of him, his mind as silent and dark as the night. The water lapped gently at the banks of the lake. A faint swish swish swish as it rolled up and back, up and back, in the lightest of breezes.
            He breathed in cold air; he exhaled steam.
Calm. Focused.
As the sounds and chill penetrated his subconscious, he moved into action. Staying here with the body would be foolish, even in the middle of the night.
He placed the knife carefully on a waist-high boulder, then removed his clothes. Jacket. Sweater. Undershirt. He stuffed them into a plastic bag. Took off his shoes. Socks. Pants. Boxers. Added them to the bag. He stood naked except for his gloves.
He tied the top of the plastic, then picked up the knife again and stabbed the bag multiple times. With strength that belied his lean frame, he threw the knife into the water. He couldn’t see where it fell; he barely heard the plunk.
Then he placed the bag in the lake and pushed it under, holding it beneath the surface to let the frigid water seep in. When the bag was saturated, he pulled it out and spun himself around as if he were throwing a shot put. He let go and the bag flew, hitting the water with a loud splash.
Even if the police found it—which he doubted they would— the water would destroy any evidence. He’d bought the clothes and shoes, even his underwear, at a discount store in another city, at another time. He’d never worn them before tonight.
Though he didn’t want DNA evidence in the system, it didn’t scare him if the police found something. He didn’t have a record. He’d killed before, many times, and not one person had spoken to him. He was smart—smarter than the cops, and certainly smarter than the victims he’d carefully selected.
Still, he must be cautious. Meticulous. Being smart meant that he couldn’t assume anything. What did his old man use to say?
Assume makes an ass out of you and me…
The killer scowled. He wasn’t doing any of this for his old man, though his father would get the retribution he deserved. He was doing this for himself. His own retribution. He was this close to finishing the elaborate plan he’d conceived years ago.
He could scarcely wait until six days from now, March 9, when his revenge would be complete.
He was saving the guiltiest of them for last.
Still, he hoped his old man would be pleased. Hadn’t he done what his father was too weak to do? Righted the many wrongs that had been done to them. How many times had the old man said these people should suffer? How many times had his father told him these people were fools?
Still, he hoped his old man would be pleased. Hadn’t he done what his father was too weak to do? Righted the many wrongs that had been done to them. How many times had the old man said these people should suffer? How many times had his father told him these people were fools?
Yet his father just let it happen and did nothing about it! Nothing! Because he was weak. He was weak and pathetic and cruel.
Breathe. Focus. All in good time.
All in good time.
The killer took another, smaller plastic bag from his backpack. He removed his wet gloves, put them inside, added a good-sized rock, tied the bag, then threw it into the lake.
Still naked, he shivered in the cold, still air. He wasn’t done.
Do it quick.
He walked into the lake, the water colder than ice. Still, he took several steps forward, his feet sinking into the rough muck at the bottom. When his knees were submersed, he did a shallow dive. His chest scraped a rock, but he was too numb to feel pain. He broke through the surface with a loud scream. He couldn’t breathe; he couldn’t think. His heart pounded in his chest, aching from the icy water.
But he was alive. He was fucking alive!
He went under once more, rubbed his hands briskly over his arms and face in case any blood remained. He would take a hot shower when he returned home, use soap and a towel to remove anything the lake left behind. But for now, this would do.
Twenty seconds in the water was almost too long. He bolted out, coughed, his body shaking so hard he could scarcely think. But he had planned everything well and operated on autopilot.
He pulled a towel from his backpack and dried off as best he could. Stepped into new sweatpants, sweatshirt, and shoes. Pulled on a new pair of gloves. There might be blood on the ATV, but it wasn’t his blood, so he wasn’t concerned.
He took a moment to stare back at the dark, still lake. Then he took one final look at the body splayed faceup. He felt nothing, because she was nothing. Unimportant. Simply a small pawn in a much bigger game. A pawn easily sacrificed.
He hoped his old man would be proud of his work, but he would probably just criticize his son’s process. He’d complain about how he did the job, then open another bottle of booze.
He hoped his father was burning in hell.
He jumped on the ATV and rode into the night.

Excerpted from The Third to Die by Allison Brennan, Copyright © 2020 by Allison Brennan. Published by MIRA Books.

Sophia Rose's Review:

A twisted, dark, and clever mind bent on revenge goes up against the combined minds of local law enforcement and the FBI's new Mobile Response Unit team in this new first in series by an author I have been meaning to try for some time.

Frustrated and restive LAPD undercover cop, Detective Kara Quinn, is on forced leave back in her home town in Eastern Washington and goes for an early morning job to shake off some of her edginess when she comes across a horrific scene.  She knows just what she's looking at and calls it in while analyzing and processing the scene knowing the local force is not equipped to handle a murder like this one.

Almost on the heels of Kara's discovery, FBI agent, Matthias Costas gets handed the Mobile Response Unit's first case.  A serial killer has struck again.  His unit is only half-formed, but he will not be daunted when he arrives on the scene to partner an investigation with the locals and try to stop the Triple Killer from claiming more victims.

The Third to Die was a thriller police procedural just in the style I enjoy.  I love when a clever villain emerges to challenge a talented, smart group pitted to stop him.  The set up included split narration mostly between Kara and Matthias, but also the killer without giving away anything until the evidence led there.

I found both Matthias and Kara fully developed and sharp people.  Kara had a unique background as the daughter of con artists and basically raised herself and got herself to where she wanted to be as an undercover cop.  She's strong and intelligent with mad skills as a detective, but she's also a loose cannon when it comes to her constant inner anger and lone wolf behavior.  I'll be curious to see what comes of her as the series progresses. 
Matthias is a great leader and was careful pulling together his team and assessing how all the people and support could be utilized.  He does have much patience for inter-agency rivalry and politics because he's dedicated to bringing down the dangerous monsters he's after.

This book had a lot going on and jumped right into what I felt was an existing storyline between Matt Costas and his behavioral expert, Catherine.  In fact, I went back and investigated the author's backlist because I had such a strong suspicion that I was jumping into the middle of a story even with the new case and newly forming MRT.  I found that distracting, but then it was old news and I could focus on the case and the mysteries of Kara and Matt and the others on the team.

It was a nice blend of personal story, tracking the killer with regular police work, and thrilling moments as they got close to the killer.  I was fully engaged in the story and will be coming back for more from the series.  Those who enjoy thrillers and police procedural mysteries should definitely give this a go.

My thanks to Harlequin for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Author Bio:
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Allison Brennan believes that life is too short to be bored, so she had five children and writes three books a year.

Allison has penned more than three dozen thrillers and many short stories. RT Book Reviews calls Allison “a master of suspense” and her books “haunting,” “mesmerizing,” “pulse-pounding” and “emotionally complex.” RT also said that "The Lucy Kincaid/Sean Rogan books are getting better and better!"

COLD SNAP was a finalist for Best Thriller in the Thriller Awards (ITW) and FEAR NO EVIL (2007) and COMPULSION (2015) won the Daphne du Maurier award. Allison has been nominated multiple times for RWA's Best Romantic Suspense award, and the Kiss of Death's Daphne award.

Allison recently relocated from Northern California to Arizona with her husband and two youngest children. She currently writes the Lucy Kincaid/Sean Rogan thriller series, and is launching the Mobile Response Team series in February 2020 with THE THIRD TO DIE. Catherine Coulter called it an "amazing new series" and Kirkus Reviews says Kara Quinn is "A strong and damaged protagonist as compelling as Lisbeth Salander."

Sophia’s Bio:
Sophia is a quiet though curious gal who dabbles in cooking, book reviewing, and gardening. Encouraged and supported by an incredible man and loving family. A Northern Californian transplant to the Great Lakes Region of the US. Lover of Jane Austen, Baseball, Cats, Scooby Doo, and Chocolate.
Sophia’s Social Media Links:

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  1. I love Allison Brennan and her writing style is addictive. Thrilled to see that she's come out with a new series that's just as fabulous! Hugs, RO

    1. I love knowing you're an old fan of hers, Ro. This was great. Hope you get the chance to try it.

  2. I've always had a thing for serial killer stories so this sounds like a good one to me.

    1. It gives that added bit of thrill to the story when 'serial' killer element enters for me, too, Mary. :)

  3. Sophia Rose I have read her in the past but this new series looks yummy for someone like me who enjoys this genre. Thanks for the review!

    1. I can't believe I waited so long to try her stuff. This is totally yummy, Debbie. :)

  4. Great review, Sophia. I've been reading quite a bit of this genre lately.

    1. I've been coming along slowly, but I have a feeling it will be full-blown addiction to the genre soon enough. ;)

  5. This sounds like a great thriller! I'm glad you found the story enjoyable, and I got to discover a new author in the process Sophia. I can see how it would be confusing filling like you were jumping in to an already existing storyline with the relationship. I wonder if this is a spinoff of another series. Lovely Review :)

    Lindy@ A Bookish Escape

    1. It's not like I had trouble reading it, but it was driving me nuts at first when I thought there was a connection to another book. I'll have to read her backlist to find out. ;)

      Thanks, Lindy!

  6. Has all the elements of a spine tingling thriller/suspense. Enticing.

  7. This is a new author for me. I usually like this type of story.