Tag: Allison Brennan

Excerpt Spotlight: Too Far Gone by Allison Brennan

Posted November 19, 2018 by Rowena in Promotions | 1 Comment

Too Far Gone is the fourteenth book in the Lucy Kincaid series by Allison Brennan and it promises to keep your blood pumping with suspense and I’ve been in the mood for more suspense in my novels so I’m mighty interested in this one.

I don’t read too many romantic suspense books but after reading the blurb for this book, I was curious. Allison Brennan must be doing something right if she’s writing the fourteenth book in this series and it sounds like a good one so I’m thrilled to be spotlighting it here on Book Binge.

Excerpt Spotlight: Too Far Gone by Allison BrennanToo Far Gone (Lucy Kincaid, #14) by Allison Brennan
Series: Lucy Kincaid #14
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: October 30, 2018
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 496
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books

The next intense installment in Allison Brennan's New York Times bestselling Lucy Kincaid series.

Things finally seem to be going well for FBI Agent Lucy Kincaid. She's just finished training for Hostage Rescue, her husband's relationship with his son is back on track, and her tense relationship with her boss, Rachel Vaughn, has become much more bearable. That is, until her first hostage case throws everything off track.

When a man who appears under the influence and mentally unstable holds a group of people hostage and dies in a shootout with the FBI, Lucy is assigned to investigate what happened. His descent doesn't make any sense - he was an upstanding citizen a year ago and only started declining after a series of blackouts and strange occurrences. Even his autopsy seems suspicious, and the body has been cremated without the proper approval. As Lucy investigates, she realizes that this story may be more complicated than she thinks, and that her own life might be in danger.

 

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Excerpt

CHAPTER TWO

FBI Special Agent Lucy Kincaid geared up in the back of the SWAT van and followed team leader Leo Proctor to the staging area kitty-corner to the coffeehouse that was currently under control of a gunman. Lucy wasn’t part of the SWAT team. She was the newest trained hostage negotiator, though she would be second to Proctor for a minimum of six months. She wouldn’t be talking to the suspect today; she was tagging along on her first official outing after completing Hostage and Crisis Response Training at Quantico.

As soon as she stepped out of the air-conditioned van and into the hot Texas humidity, she began to sweat. Fortunately, she wasn’t decked out with an extra twenty- five pounds of SWAT gear; she was only required to wear her Kevlar vest and sidearm.

The FBI was here to back up the SAPD, who were taking lead in the hostage situation at Java Antonio, a small but popular independent coffee shop in downtown San Antonio.

Lucy followed Leo from the van while the rest of the team checked their weapons and gear.

“Lieutenant, sit-rep?” Leo said to the man clearly in charge who was directing personnel from the back of a police communications van. There were a dozen city and county vehicles filling all four streets that led to the intersection, which now held a tactical truck. Each street had been blocked off, and all businesses in a two-block radius evacuated or locked down.

“Proctor. Glad you’re here.” He glanced at Lucy. “Agent Kincaid, hostage negotiator. Kincaid, Lieutenant Jordan Young.”

They shook hands. Young was forty and had the aura of former military officer, and it was clear by how his officers spoke to him that he garnered respect from his men and women.

“I need you to negotiate, Leo—I’ve already set up a command, I’m the highest-ranking officer here.”

“My people are your people,” Proctor said. “Kincaid’s my second.”

Being second essentially meant backing up the primary negotiator. Listening to all communication, taking notes, passing along information between the negotiator and command and vice versa.

Generally, the individual in charge of the scene was not the same person negotiating with the suspect. That SAPD and the SA-FBI worked well together was a testament to the men and women who led each department and the teams who cross-trained together.

“I have two snipers, one on each corner building,” Young said, gesturing. “Two men in the back. If you can spare a pair I’d like to have them tag up with my team in the alley, and if you have a sniper we can use one back there. The rear is the only exit other than the front door.” Proctor said in his radio, “Dunning, take your team and secure the back with SAPD; Ramirez, find a roost with clear line of sight to the emergency exit. From here on out, Lieutenant Young is in command of this operation and you’ll take direction from him, primary emergency channel.”

“Roger,” the team leader said over the radio. “Suspect?” Proctor asked.

Young shook his head. “Working on an ID. No cameras inside, but we have a description from one of the hostages who escaped during the initial confusion. In fact, a dozen people got out before the shooter locked down. From preliminary statements, the guy was talking to himself and acting ‘off’—weird was the word most used. He was wearing a thick windbreaker and it’s over ninety degrees and humid as hell. When the manager confronted him, he snapped—per a witness. Another witness said he acted like he was quote, ‘off his meds.’”

Unfortunately, Lucy knew that mental illness was one of the leading causes of spontaneous hostage situations. But generally, if the individual was mentally ill, they took people they knew hostage—family or friends—in a residence. This situation was distinctly different.

Young continued. “He fired two shots. Per witnesses, they both went into the ceiling. No one saw anyone injured inside. There are conflicting statements as to how many guns he has and what kind, though I’m going with one of the witnesses who stated he’s a gun owner and identified a nine-millimeter in the shooter’s hand, standard-capacity magazine, and a second handgun in his waistband, also a semi-auto—either a nine-mil or a forty-five.”

“Number of hostages?”

“Best guess is fourteen. Do you have thermal imaging in your truck? Fire can set up as well, but they’re still en route.”

“We got it,” Proctor said. “My tech just needs a minute.”

“Good. We need to know where he is, get some sense as to what’s going on in there.”

“Is this personal?” Proctor asked. “Target an employee? Customer?”

“Don’t know. We asked the witnesses for the basics, everyone said that he was alone and didn’t appear to know anyone. They are all sequestered down the street, my people are working to get more information. He hasn’t called out or made demands, but this whole thing started less than an hour ago. I need you to make contact, develop a rapport as we gather additional information. We need to de-escalate this as fast as possible.”

Proctor listened to his com then said, “Roger, hold positions.” He said to Young, “My team is in place, Ramirez has one hundred percent visual of the rear door.”

“Excellent.” Young handed him the bullhorn. “Work your magic, Leo. Godspeed.”

Proctor took a breath, visibly relaxed, then turned on the bullhorn.

“This is Leo Proctor of the FBI. I will be calling into the coffee shop. I’d like you to answer, just to talk. Just see how you’re doing, how the other people are doing.”

He then nodded to Young’s assistant, a uniform by the name of Jones, who handed him a phone already set to dial into the Java Antonio main number and record the conversation.

They let the phone ring more than thirty times. There was no answer and Proctor ended the call.

“Lieutenant,” Jones said after listening to his radio, “we have an ID. Charles James McMahon, forty-six, address in Helotes per DMV. Two deputies are on their way now.”

“Married? Kids? Employer?” “Unknown, we’re working on it.”

“Work faster. Something triggered him, we need to know what so no one gets hurt.”

“Yes, sir,” Jones said, already on his phone.

Proctor got on the bullhorn again. “Mr. McMahon— Charles—this is Leo Proctor. I really need you to pick up the phone. I know you don’t want to hurt anyone. We need to talk. You and me. We can work this out, but I’m sure you don’t like shouting through a bullhorn any more than I do.”

He dialed again, waited. No answer. He hung up. He didn’t show any frustration, any rush. “As long as he’s calm, we can get out of this,” he said almost to himself. “Lucy, get Yancey out here. We need eyes in.”

Lucy briskly walked to the tactical van. Tim Yancey was a technology analyst in their office and in charge of the equipment during tactical operations. He was a bit high-strung, skinny, and sharp on his feet.

“I know, I know,” Tim said before Lucy could speak. “It’s almost calibrated. Okay, okay,” he said to himself and followed Lucy over to the staging area which had a direct line of sight to the coffee shop.

“I need to expand the range,” he said as he walked up and put the thermal imaging camera on a table next to the SAPD tactical van. “Okay, okay,” he mumbled again and pressed a few buttons to expand the field.

A blob of orange quickly took on distinct human shapes. Most were on the floor. Young immediately pointed to one on the left that was moving and had another shape close to him. “That’s our guy. He’s holding a hostage. I count . . . fifteen plus the gunman?”

“I concur,” Proctor said.

Young asked Tim, “Why are these three shapes faded?”

“They’re in another room,” Tim said. “Probably the storage room, a bathroom—I don’t have the exact lay- out.”

Young motioned at one of his men. “Where are the blueprints I asked for?”

“Coming.”

“I needed them five minutes ago.” “He didn’t plan this,” Lucy said.

Everyone looked at her. She didn’t realize she’d spoken out loud.

“If he did,” she continued, “he would have made sure that everyone was in the main room. Those three had time to hide in the back and he didn’t notice? Others es- caped? A dozen people ran out before he locked the place down. I think he would notice if he had a room full of customers and no employees.”

“Point taken,” Young said. “Don’t know if that makes him more or less dangerous. Get him talking, Leo, I’m going to push my people to get us more intel.”

Leo used the bullhorn. “Charles, this is Leo Proctor again. I’m calling you now. Please pick up the phone.”

He hit redial.

Lucy adjusted her earpiece and heard the ringing phone. She watched Tim’s thermal imaging system and saw the suspect cross the room—with a hostage in tow—and stand next to what she presumed was the phone on the wall behind the counter.

“Answer it, buddy,” Leo mumbled. “Pick it up, you want to.”

The man put a hand on his head—more like he was banging the side of his head with his gun hand, as if flustered or frustrated. He walked away a couple of feet. Leo hung up. He counted to ten. Then he hit redial.

McMahon went back to the phone. He answered.

Lucy Kincaid

Are you as excited for this release as we are?

About Allison Brennan

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 two 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 lives in Northern California with her husband, five children, and assorted pets. Her current release is THE LOST GIRLS, a romantic thriller. MAKE THEM PAY will be out in March, 2017.


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Review: Original Sin by Allison Brennan

Posted January 25, 2010 by Casee in Reviews | 3 Comments

Genres: Paranormal Romance

Casee‘s review of Original Sin (The Seven Deadly Sins, Book 1) by Allison Brennan.

Haunted by chilling memories of demonic possession and murder, Moira O’Donnell has spent seven years hunting down her mother, Fiona, whose command of black magic has granted her unprecedented control of the underworld. Now Moira’s global search has led her to a small California town that’s about to become hell on earth.

Tormented by his own terrifying past and driven by powers he can’t explain, ex-seminarian Rafe Cooper joins Moira’s dangerous quest. But Fiona is one devilish step ahead. Hungry for greater power, eternal youth, and stunning beauty, the sorceress is unleashing upon the mortal world the living incarnations of the Seven Deadly Sins.

Together with a demonologist, a tough female sheriff, and a pair of star-crossed teenagers, Moira and Rafe are humanity’s last chance to snatch salvation from the howling jaws of damnation.

Why fix it if it’s not broken? That’s the question I wanted to ask Allison Brennan when I read the blurb for this book. She writes great romantic suspense, so why mess with a good thing, right? Then I read her acknowledgments that mentioned Buffy, Supernatural, and Veronica Mars all in the same sentence. With that one sentence, my faith was restored and I finished this book in one day.

I didn’t read the What You Can’t See anthology with has the prequel to the series. I didn’t really feel that I missed anything. What made this book so good was the heroine. Moira O’Donnell is a witch. She hasn’t used magic since her mother possessed her and forced her to kill her lover. Since that day, Moira has made it her mission to stop her mother. Fiona is a witch of powerful dark magic. Stopping Fiona without magic will take every ounce of strength and courage that she has.

In a ritual that will give Fiona control of the seven deadly sins, she is interrupted by Raphael Cooper. This is the only time I thought reading the prequel would be helpful. There’s obviously a back story with Rafe, but I think that Brennan did a good job of filling in the gaps. Rafe stops the ritual and saves a young girl’s life. Fiona loses control of the seven deadly sins and they are now free to roam the world.

Fiona is livid, especially when she realizes that Moira is in town. They have the battle to end all battles, yet they both live to fight another day. Original Sin is the start to what promises to be an amazing paranormal series. I like how the world was created that clearly showed similarities to Supernatural, but not too many similarities.

I’m pretty sure that Moira will be on my list of top five heroines of 2010. She’s the good. She knows her weakness and doesn’t lie to herself or anyone else. She takes blame that is hers instead of making excuses. She’s strong and independent, but will admit when she needs help.

The romance between Moira and Rafe just barely developed in this book. The potential is definitely there. So far, this is the best book I’ve read in 2010.

4.25 out of 5.

This book is available from Ballantine. You can buy it here or here in e-format.


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Review: Tempting Evil by Allison Brennan

Posted June 12, 2008 by Casee in Reviews | 0 Comments

Genres: Romantic Suspense

Tempting Evil

Joanna Sutton can cope with the fierce winter storm bearing down on the small rural community of Centennial Valley, Montana; the popular romance writer has survived much worse in life. Haunted by the loss of her husband and child, Jo has found refuge at her family’s secluded lodge, but her haven soon becomes a hell. During the ferocious blizzard, a local Boy Scout troop is stranded in the wilderness, compelling Jo to spearhead a desperate rescue mission, aided by a newly arrived stranger with an unknown agenda.

Meanwhile, Sheriff Tyler McBride hears that three escaped convicts are fast approaching Big Sky Country. Hoping to warn Jo, he faxes over the men’s mug shots. But they never reach their intended recipient. Then Tyler makes a shocking discovery: Two people are dead, and a killer is among the group, along with the woman Tyler loves, searching for his lost son.

More than one innocent life is at stake. For the sake of those Jo cares about most, and for her own survival, she’ll need all the cunning, courage, and passion she can muster to survive the mounting terror.

This is the 2nd book in Brennan’s Prison Break trilogy.

Aaron Doherty was on Death Row at San Quentin when the earthquake hit thus allowing him to escape. For Aaron, it was like God has spoken and told him to go to the woman he loved. Heading to the mountains in Montana, Aaron can hardly wait to start his life w/ Joanna.

Psycho much?

When Jo Sutton’s husband and son were killed by her sister’s boyfriend, Jo left California for her family’s lodge in Montana. Having licked her wounds for four years, Jo has finally started to come back to life. Resuming her writing of romance novels, Jo has found a measure of happiness, if not peace. When her former lover, Tyler McBride, calls her and tells her that he has reason to believe that three of the escaped San Quentin inmates might be headed to her, Jo has a hard time believing it.

Sheriff Tyler McBride is racing against the clock. With the FBI believing that three of the escapees are headed toward Jo, he not only has to get to the woman he loves, he also has to get to his son. On a Boy Scout trip when the blizzard hit, his son Jason along with eleven other boys are stuck until help can get to them. With the weather thwarting his every move, Tyler races to the lodge as quickly as possible.

Brennan sure knows how to write a villain. What made it even better was that Aaron wasn’t flagrantly evil, unlike the escapee that he was traveling with. I think that made it all the more powerful. He had convinced himself that Joanna had written all her romance novels with him in the role of hero.

I did like this book, but not as much as the first. I really didn’t feel a connection to the characters. As a suspense novel, this book was amazing. I felt like I was constantly on the edge of my seat waiting to see what was going to happen next. As a romance, it was lacking. Jo spent most of the book trying to come to terms with the fact that she could love a man that was not her husband. Tyler had to keep reminding himself that he wasn’t going to compete with a dead man. It just felt forced.

3.75 out of 5.

This book is available from Ballantine. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

Other books in the series:

Killing FearPlaying Dead

Read my review of Killing Fear here.


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Killing Fear by Allison Brennan

Posted March 4, 2008 by Casee in Reviews | 4 Comments

Genres: Romantic Suspense

Book description:

Theodore Glenn loves to inflict pain . . . both on his victims and on those who later find the mutilated corpses. At his trial seven years ago, Glenn vowed vengeance on Detective Will Hooper, the cop who nabbed him, and beautiful Robin McKenna, the stripper whose testimony put him behind bars. When a catastrophic disaster sets Glenn free, he blazes a freshly bloodied path across San Diego County. But the death he craves most is Robin McKenna’s.

Putting aside their past troubled relationship, Will rushes to protect Robin, now a savvy businesswoman operating an upscale club. As the killings mount and Glenn proves a master manipulator, Robin and Will become snared in a twisted web of horror. But the shocking truth is even worse: The evil they are to face is even deadlier than they fear.


Allison Brennan gets better with every book she writes. In my not-so-humble opinion of course.

Killing Fear kicks off the Prison Break trilogy. When an earthquake hits the San Francisco Bay Area, it literally brings down the walls of the infamous San Quentin state prison. Home to some of the most vile predators, it’s no surprise when the inmates take their chance and flee. One man to escape is Theodore Glenn. Convicted 7 years ago of murdering four strippers, Theodore is determined to track down and kill every single person that betrayed him. Last on his list is Robin McKenna, the woman whose testimony he believes ultimately convicted him.

Robin McKenna has worked hard in the 7 years since she literally stumbled over her roommate’s dead body. Working at RJ’s strip club, Robin always believed that stripping was means to an end (you go, girl), not what she wanted to do for the rest of her life. The day Theodore Glenn came through RJ’s doors is a day that she’d just as soon forget. Never quite liking him, but not knowing why, Robin kept her distance while her friends dated him one by one. Then stood by helpless as they were murdered. One by one. Absolutely certain that Glenn is the murderer, Robin takes the stand against him and helps put him away.

Now Theodore Glenn is out and Robin’s former lover, Detective Will Cooper, is knocking on her door. Believing that she put their failed romance behind them, Robin is less than happy at the feelings Will can still invoke in her. As for Will, he is determined to protect Robin at all costs. It’s only as he starts spending more and more time with her that Will realizes what an awful mistake he made all those years ago when he pushed Robin away.

Killing Fear is a page turner. From front to back, this book is action packed. Brennan did a bang-up job of writing a sociopathic character. For you readers who like your mystery along with a steamy romance, this one is a great one for you.

4.5 out of 5


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