Tag: The Last Stand Series

Retro-Review: The Perfect Murder by Brenda Novak

Posted November 8, 2017 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Retro-Review: The Perfect Murder by Brenda NovakReviewer: Casee
The Perfect Murder (The Last Stand, #6) by Brenda Novak
Series: The Last Stand #6
Publisher: MIRA
Publication Date: September 29th 2009
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 448
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Series Rating: four-stars

For more than a year, Sebastian Costas has been trying to unravel the truth behind the murder of his ex-wife and son. Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, he's convinced that her second husband—a cop—committed both murders, then faked his own death. Now Sebastian has followed the slimmest of leads to Sacramento…and that's where he finally gets the break he needs. Jane Burke, an investigator with The Last Stand, calls him in connection with a separate crime—a crime that could lead him straight to the man he's been looking for.

Once married to a serial killer, Jane has spent the past five years rebuilding her life. And with Sebastian she finally has a chance at happiness. But the man they're after is after them, too. For him this has become a personal battle, one he's determined to win. Whatever it takes…

*****As part of our 10 year anniversary celebration, we’ll be re-posting old reviews and posts that make us cringe, laugh or sigh all over again.*****

Holly: It’s interesting to me that 8-10 years down the road we’re still reading the same authors. I love that we’ve been able to go the distance with them. 

This review was originally posted on November 5, 2009.

This is the first book in this series that I wasn’t really looking forward too. The reason is that I was never really interested in the character of Jane Burke. I understand that I’m supposed to be sympathetic to her since she was married to a serial killer, but that was never the case. I never really felt bad for her. I felt bad for the situation she was in. I felt bad that she lost someone she loved. I just never felt bad for her. She made her bed. So I wasn’t very happy when I saw that she was going to be the heroine.

Jane is trying to make a name for herself at The Last Stand. With the help of Skye and Sheridan, Jane wants to help victims like herself. That’s another thing. While I guess she was technically a victim, I never saw her as such. I guess I’m not very sympathetic. When Skye and Ava go to South America on a paying job and Sheridan is out on maternity leave, Jane is in charge of The Last Stand. Hoping to prove herself, Jane takes a job for two teenage girls that have gone missing.

Sebastian Costas has been following Malcolm Turner for over a year. Since Malcolm killed Sebastian’s ex-wife and son then faked his own death, Sebastian has been on his trail. With his funds running low and time running out, Sebastian follows him to Sacramento. He has never been able to convince anyone that Malcolm is alive, but he has never doubted that. When his investigation puts him in Jane’s path, the two end up working together since their cases seem to be related.

Jane is understandably wary of getting involved with any man, let alone a man that has as much baggage as she does. I just wasn’t really feeling the relationship between Jane and Sebastian. I wanted to. By the time they actually met, I was starting to like Jane as a character. I liked Sebastian as well, even though he was obsessed with revenge.

Brenda Novak writes chilling villains. She has definitely proved herself as far as that goes. She is right behind Karen Rose in that respect, something that is pretty hard to do. At the beginning of the book, Malcolm seems to be the person that you would not want to meet in a dark alley. As the book goes on, he loses his steam. He ends up being rather pathetic. That was disappointing b/c Brenda Novak always comes through when it comes to her villains.

This is my least favorite of the series. Even being my least favorite, it was still a good read.

3.75 out of 5.

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

Other books in the series:

Trust Me Stop Me Watch Me The Perfect Liar The Perfect Murder


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Review: The Perfect Couple by Brenda Novak

Posted August 19, 2009 by Casee in Reviews | 8 Comments

Genres: Romantic Suspense

Casee‘s review of The Perfect Couple (The Last Stand Series, Book 4) by Brenda Novak.

One afternoon in May, Zoe Duncan’s thirteen-year-old daughter goes missing from her own backyard. The police think Samantha ran away because she’s unhappy about her mother’s upcoming marriage—but Zoe doesn’t believe it. In fact, she’s willing to do anything to bring Sam home, even if it means losing her job, her beautiful home, her fiancé. Even if it means divulging all her secrets to a private investigator.

Jonathan Stivers is a P.I. who donates his time to The Last Stand, a victims’ charity in Sacramento. He’s good at what he does, the best. But never has he had fewer leads to work with—or been more attracted to a client. Jonathan’s sure of only one thing: Sam was taken by someone close to the family. He doesn’t know how close until he realizes that the “perfect” couple next door is anything but….

Brenda Novak is one of those authors that gets better with each book. After releasing the books in her The Last Stand trilogy last year, she obviously decided to continue it. Which totally works. The excerpt in the back of Watch Me was awesome (read the excerpt here). I wanted to read The Perfect Couple right then and there.

The plot is definitely a compelling one. A seemingly happy, “normal” couple in a high-middle class neighborhood are actually murdering pedophiles. Colin Bell is obviously a sociopath of the highest order. While it can be argued that his wife is one of his victims, I didn’t completely buy it.

Tiffany Bell snatches Sam Duncan on a whim. The thirteen year old girl next door caught her at a bad time. When going to dump the body of her husband’s latest “pet”, she loses him b/c he wasn’t dead like she thought he was. Taking Sam was like killing two birds with one stone. Sam couldn’t say anything about spying on her through the fence and Colin will have a new pet.

Zoe moves herself and Sam into her fiance’s house b/c she wants to give Sam the best life that she knows how. When Sam disappears from their backyard, Zoe doesn’t know what to think or do. What she does know is that Sam’s disappearance forced her to take a serious look at her relationship with Anton (the fiance).

The only person that seems to be willing to actively help her is Jonathon Strivers. She met one of the founders of The Last Stand when she was a victim herself. Jonathon’s help seems like a godsend and Zoe will take any and all help she can get. Contrary to what the police and even Anton believe, Zoe knows that Sam didn’t run away.

After meeting Zoe, Jonathon wants nothing more than to find Sam for her. The problem is that he has few leads and no witnesses. Investigating all avenues possible, the truth that confronts him is not a pleasant one. It had to have been someone that Sam and/or Zoe knew. I found the romance between Zoe and Jonathon to be very believable. They are both people w/ relationship issues and it’s not something that is quickly wrapped up.

I found it very interesting how Brenda wrote Colin into the story. The joy that Colin took in “helping” Zoe find Sam was gripping. He kept insinuating himself into Zoe’s life, all the while her daughter was being treated like an animal in his bonus room. The thought of something like this actually happening is very creepy.

I lived in the area that the book takes place. I have to give Brenda props b/c there was not one time that I said “it’s impossible to go there from [insert place here]. I’ve had a problem w/ that in the past and it yanks me out of the book every single time.

If you’re looking for a good romantic suspense series to start, look no further.

4.25 out of 5.

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

Other books in the series:

Trust Me Stop Me Watch Me The Perfect Liar The Perfect Murder

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