In the Belly of Jonah by Sandra Brannan

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In the Belly of Jonah by Sandra Brannan was a find thanks to television and travel.  It is the first book in the Liv Bergen Mystery series.  It is firmly and squarely a mystery, not cozy and not hardboiled either.  It is a a mystery novel in it’s purest form.

We are currently in South Dakota, where it is getting ready to snow later this afternoon, and a couple of weeks ago we were watching the local evening news.  There was a commercial for the latest book in the series and of course I was intrigued.  I quickly looked up the book and ordered the first in the series.

Liv Bergen is living in Fort Collins, CO working at her family’s mine when one of her summer interns is discovered murdered in a truly gruesome and memorable manner.  The FBI brings in a profiler to help track down the character.  The profiler happens to be a college teammate of Liv’s. 

The book is extremely well written, plotted, and paced.  It does not suffer from what I call “first book flatness”.  The writing is polished and the characters are extremely well defined and sketched.  There is room for character growth.

The best part of the book was completely unexpected as an avid reader of mystery novels.  The method of murder was unique and was surprised that the method hadn’t been used before in a novel. 

Liv Bergen is definitely a character I would sit down and have a beer with.  She has depth and experience.  She could tell amazing stories about mining and her large family of brothers and sisters.

Five stars out of five stars for a mystery novel beyond reproach.

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