Book Review: Tell No Lies by Allison Brennan
This is the second book in the series: I have read and reviewed the first, The Third to Die… but weirdly, as I tried to get into this one, I really struggled to get any sort of grip on what was going on and who was who. Matt Costa’s FBI Mobile Response Team has been deployed to Southern Arizona, working to investigate the death of a young woman who was looking into unexplained deaths of wildlife which might be linked to illegal dumping of mining waste. There’s more going on than they first realise, though, with human trafficking coming into the mix as well as drug and gun smuggling and the cartels willing to kill anyone who gets in the way of their highly lucrative business.
I liked FBI Agent Costa a good deal better this time around as he seems to be dialling down his machismo, and former LAPD detective Kara Quinn had a juicy role to play as she went undercover as a bartender in the small town of Patagonia to find out what was really going on. The plot does get very complicated, and it wasn’t until the second half that I realised why a bunch of seemingly unrelated characters and threads had been introduced early on - there is an enormous cast of characters to keep track of.
As a romantic suspense that’s a bit of an issue in my opinion, because the enormous cast distracts from the ‘main action’... the romance between the principals. MIRA/Harlequin seem to be pushing in this direction where the line between romantic suspense and mystery-thrillers is getting blurred, and to be honest I don’t think it’s doing them any favours. Romance readers will feel short-changed and mystery-thriller fans will feel like the romance is grafted on. I like both genres, but I like them to be one or the other; I’m not keen on this half and half approach. And that, plus the fact it took me a good quarter of this book to figure out what was even being investigated and who the players were - and I HAVE read the first in series! - is why I’m only giving this three stars. The plot is good but there’s too much I don’t like.
Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this title via NetGalley.