Thursday, September 18, 2008

Playing Dead-Allison Brennan

Playing Dead
Allison Brennan
Ballantine, Sep 30 2008
ISBN: 9780345502735

Fifteen years ago the assignment was to murder District Attorney Taverton. When he committed to the kill he found the mark in bed with Lydia, the wife of police officer Tom O’Brien, as planned. He killed both and set up the cuckolded husband to take the fall. Tom was framed perfectly for the double homicide, with his then teenage daughter Claire having seen him staring at the two corpses testifying against her father. Tom proclaimed his innocence, but was convicted and sentenced to be executed.

On death row at San Quentin with the countdown in months, Tom is freed by an earthquake. In hiding four months later he informs his daughter that Oliver Maddox possesses proof of his innocence. Wondering if she misconstrued that ghastly scene, insurance investigator Claire and boyfriend Mitch Bianchi plan to visit Oliver; only they are too late as his dead body was just fished out of the Sacramento River. Stunned Claire is convinced her dad had nothing to gain with another homicide. However Mitch hides from Claire why he first introduced himself to her; he is FBI and believes Tom is innocent and both O’Brien’s are in danger from the real killer.

The latest Allison Brennan romantic suspense (see TEMPTING EVIL and KILLING FEAR) is a superb thriller starring an estranged daughter who needs to believe in her dad’s innocence, but also knows what she saw, which confirms his guilt. Mitch is terific as a Fed who believes increasingly her dad was framed and is falling in love with her; knowing he has no chance once she realizes who he is. The story line is fast-paced from the onset when a desperate dad knowing the risk pleads with his daughter to help prove his innocence and never looks back. Thriller readers who have not discovered Ms. Brennan are missing out on a top gun.

Harriet Klausner