Sarah's Reviews > In the Belly of Jonah

In the Belly of Jonah by Sandra Brannan
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's review
Aug 04, 2011

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bookshelves: mystery, kindle-free-cheap
Read in August, 2011

Liv Bergen gets involved in a serial killer's spree when her employee is found murdered and her friend, FBI agent Lisa, moves in to investigate. I liked some things about this book. It's been a long time since I've read a first-person pov, and I can't remember the last time I read an alternating 1st-3rd-1st pov, and the author generally handled it well. Liv is a likable character, and she's not written as flawless. The killer's MO was uniquely gruesome, which I think is a plus in a book like this. I thought the first chapter, with the victim alive, was really well done (and it's echoed in the first chapter of the second book in the series, which I started first, thinking it was the first book in the series). There were a few things I didn't like about this book. There was never much confusion about the who the murderer was. That is to say, as soon as the clues come together at about 60% of the way through, there is only one possibility. I like for my murder mysteries to have a twist or two, a la L&O at the 17 minute mark, when they arrest someone but you know it's not the murderer because it's too early in the episode. The law enforcement agents were written to be kind of bumbling. I think this is so that Liv could vault in and show her worth, which would have been good for one or two revelations, but the FBI just seemed idiotic when a layperson singlehandedly solves 4-5 pivotal parts of the mystery. The FBI were also just like, yeah of course, let's have this layperson in on all this info and stay at her house. Really? If that's the way it has to be, I need a better reason than, "ALL the hotel rooms in Fort Collins are booked." Seriously, FBI? There was one thing I really disliked about this book. I thought all of the characters of color were really overly, floridly described. <"Dr. Yolanda Fischer was oxymoronic: She was large and exotic, approachable and prickly."> That's not actually English, first of all, and then it goes on about each of those characteristics forever. If I had read it, it might not have been so obvious, but my Kindle read it to me while I was stuck on the GWB for three hours, and it was just a discomfiting element of the book. "Exotic" was hella overused as a descriptor of a character of color, and the murderer's ethnicity was harped on to an unreasonable degree. It left a bad taste in my mouth.
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