Monday, April 25, 2011

Three Umbrellas: Perfect Murder by Brenda Novak

It's always tough to pick the perfect book to showcase a great author. I love Brenda Novak, love her writing, but just didn't connect with these characters as much. Stay tuned for June though, because her new release, Inside, blew my socks off, and I'll be reviewing that closer to her release date. Just for fun, pick a great author on your keeper shelf, and tell me the title you always recommend to new readers AND one that you don't love *quite* as much as the rest of that author's back list. If you happen to have read Perfect Murder, feel free to try to change my mind about Sebastian in the comments!

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Brenda Novak is one of the finest Romantic Suspense authors writing today—she writes intense, character driven plots. I’m having a great time working my way through her backlist and found this title on Overdrive for my nook. Perfect Murder is almost more thriller than romance—the hero and heroine don’t meet for about the first 100 pages, and the murder is the central focus of the story. For this reason, this isn’t my favorite Novak title—I like it when the focus is more on the romance, and I like more interaction early on between the main characters.

Jane was once married to a serial killer, but now works as a rookie investigator for a non-profit. Sebastian’s ex-wife and son were killed by her psycho second husband, who then faked his own suicide. Sebastian is the only one who believes that the killer is still alive. The hunt for the killer has eaten up his considerable fortune and honed his desire for vengeance until it’s just this edge of sanity. He’s a compelling character, but early on he makes a decision that endangers an innocent person—and he continues to endanger this person. At this point, I stopped feeling much sympathy for Sebastian and his plan to “take care” of the killer without aid of law enforcement only added to my dislike of him. Others, however, might well feel more sympathy for him and see more chemistry between him and Jane, but I felt like Jane had more chemistry with the detective working the case—too bad he was married to her best friend! I was not convinced that Sebastian was the right choice for the damaged and vulnerable Jane.

However, Novak’s writing shines past my quibbles with Sebastian and her POV scenes of the killer and the secondary characters is simply superb. She’s required reading for all thiller and suspense readers—I’m just not sure that this is the perfect introduction to her talents. Starting with book 1 of the Perfect series (which introduces Jane’s story) might be a better choice—I wish I had done that as I think I would have been more invested in Jane.


  1. I've read all 3 in this series, starting from the beginning and my favorite was 'The Perfect Liar.'. Something about Jane & Sebastian's book didn't do it for me. It was sort of a letdown since the other two were great. I think in order to really appreciate Jane's book you'd have to go back to the Me series - I can't remember which one specifically involves Jane and her previous husband.

  2. Good Morning! I'm Barb from Sugarbeat's Books . I have an author looking for a review and I suggested you. Can you drop me a note and I'll explain? sugarbeatbc AT gmail DOT com. Thanks!

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