New York Times bestseller Allison Brennan’s two series collide in Shattered, a powerful, enthralling read about the craving for revenge and the desire for justice.Over a span of twenty years, four boys have been kidnapped from their bedrooms, suffocated, and buried nearby in a shallow grave. Serial killer or coincidence?
That’s the question investigative reporter Maxine Revere sets out to answer when an old friend begs her to help exonerate his wife, who has been charged with their son’s recent murder. But Max can do little to help because the police and D.A. won’t talk to her—they think they have the right woman. Instead, Max turns her attention to three similar cold cases. If she can solve them, she might be able to help her friend.
Justin Stanton was killed twenty years ago, and his father wants closure—so he is willing to help Max with her investigation on one condition: that she work with his former sister-in-law— Justin’s aunt, FBI Agent Lucy Kincaid. Trouble is, Max works alone, and she’s livid that her only access to the case files, lead detective and witnesses depends on her partnering with a federal agent on vacation. She wants the career-making story almost as much as the truth—but if she gets this wrong, she could lose everything.
Haunted by Justin’s death for years, Lucy yearns to give her family—and herself—the closure they need. More important, she wants to catch a killer. Lucy finds Max’s theory on all three cases compelling—with Max’s research added to Lucy’s training and experience, Lucy believes they can find the killer so justice can finally be served. But the very private Lucy doesn’t trust the reporter any more than Max trusts her.
Max and Lucy must find a way to work together to untangle lies, misinformation, and evidence to develop a profile of the killer. But the biggest question is: why were these boys targeted? As they team up to find out what really happened the night Justin was killed, they make a shocking discovery: Justin’s killer is still out there … stalking another victim … and they already may be too late.
When I requested an advance reader copy of this book from NetGalley, I had NO idea it was a series, and apparently even further, this book combines characters from two different series. Nonetheless, after reading the book cover to cover, I can assure you that even if you didn’t know that there was a series, or even two series, this book totally serves as a stand alone. In fact, now I’m so curious about the other books in both series, that I’m definitely adding Allison Brennan to my “must reads” in the future!
The protagonist is Maxine “Max” Revere, who is an investigative reporter who specializes in missing persons and cold cases. In this story, Max travels from New York to Arizona to help an old college ex-boyfriend, John Caldwell, who has since married his wife, Blair. John begs Max to help his family, as his son, Peter was recently murdered and Blair is on trial for that murder. He brings her to see how Peter’s murder is similar to three cold cases and John is crazy upset that his wife is being charged. Max must determine if she is guilty or if the young boy is the latest victim of a serial killer.
Max is used to calling the shots and uses the staff from her show to fact check so she is rather “put out” at first when she is pressured to work with a partner, FBI agent Lucy Kincaid, the cousin of one of the victims of the older cases Max is looking into. For Max it is quite an adjustment learning to take direction from others instead of leading the charge.
Since I haven’t read Ms. Brennan’s previous series, I didn’t know Lucy Kincaid or her husband, Sean, but neither of them made a great first impression to me. I felt that Sean is overprotective of Lucy and he was very pushy. In fact, if he felt that anyone disagreed with him, he was a bit of a bully. As the story progresses, these key characters become much more likable to readers as we understand a bit of their history.
The process of getting to the bottom of the murders, trying to find a connection between them and understand the motivations of the murderer was truly riveting. I felt that each page I turned could be “the page” – the one that would reveal the truth, but it didn’t turn out that way until the end. I found that Lucy and Max both brought their differing styles and talents to to resolve these heartbreaking and unsolved crimes. As the story progresses, it becomes absolutely necessary to both of them to find the “killer” because they realize another child is slated to be murdered.
As everyone knows, I don’t write spoilers. I will say though that this story is so well written and the characters are very developed that I felt like I could know them. I have to say that the last scene of this story had me chomping at the bit to read the next Maxine Revere book! I’m not even sure when the next one comes out, but believe me, but I can’t wait!
Allison Brennan is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling and award winning author of three dozen thrillers and numerous short stories. She was nominated for Best Paperback Original Thriller by International Thriller Writers, had multiple nominations and two Daphne du Maurier Awards, and is a five-time RITA finalist for Best Romantic Suspense.
Allison believes life is too short to be bored, so she had five kids and spends all her non-writing time as a sports spectator, chauffeur, and short-order cook for her munchkins. She has a dog, two cats, and three chickens. Allison and her family live in northern California.