The Prey by Allison Brennan – “Predator” trilogy Book #1

Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages - Publisher: Ballantine Books (December 27, 2005) - Language: English - ISBN-10: 0345480236 - ISBN-13: 978-0345480231

Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages - Publisher: Ballantine Books (December 27, 2005) - Language: English - ISBN-10: 0345480236 - ISBN-13: 978-0345480231

 

The Prey

by Allison Brennan

“Predator” trilogy Book #1

First, she imagined it. Then a killer made it real.

Rowan Smith is living in a borrowed Malibu beach house while her bestselling novel is made into a Hollywood movie. A former FBI agent with a haunted past, Rowan thinks she has outrun her demons. But fiction and reality collide when a dismembered body is found in Colorado: the real-life victim had the same name, occupation, and looks as a character in Rowan’s novel. By the time the FBI, LAPD, and her own private bodyguard gather around her, another person is killed – again, the murder ripped from the pages of Rowan’s book.

In the company of a former Delta Force officer with secrets of his own, Rowan faces an excruciating dilemma: the only way to chase down the tormenting killer is by revisiting the darkness of her past – and by praying for some way out again.

After the prey is chosen, the hunt is on and the kill is certain.

Review: Not bad for a debut novel.

Former FBI agent Rowan Smith last case haunted her so much, she quit the FBI. Parts of the case hit too close to home. At the age of 10, she witnessed her brother Bobby’s evilness when he murdered most of the members of her family. The only ones alive besides herself are her brother and her father, but her father may as well be dead. She saw her mother’s bloodied, lifeless corpse and believe he killed her. Now he sits in a mental ward, no life in his eyes. Now she’s an author whose books are being made into movies. Staying in Hollywood in a rented beach house, she’s currently working on the next movie. One morning she wakes up to the slamming of a car door. Answering the door was the worst thing she could have done; reporters were camped on her doorstep, wanting to know her reaction to a murder that was taken straight from one of her books.

When another murder happens, her producer, Annette hires a security firm. Michael Flynn, ex-cop, is on the case, determined to protect her. But he’s also falling for her, and his brother, John, ex-DEA, wonders if it’s a repeat of a past case that went horribly wrong. Their sister, Tess, makes up the entire security firm, she’s their computer expert. When more events occur, John believes Rowan’s hiding something, and believes Michael’s too smitten to properly protect her. He wonders if what she’s hiding could get them killed.

As more and more murders occur, and her books left behind at the scene, FBI and the Flynn brothers agree that someone is after Rowan. But who could it be? Someone she put away, a family member of someone she put away or a victim? And then she begins to wonder if it’s someone from her past. But who? Everyone but herself, her brother Peter and her father are alive. Who could it be?

** I have to be honest; If this had been the first Brennan novel I’ve read, I probably would have enjoyed it more. But because I’ve read her more recent work, I found this one lacking.

For a debut novel, it was good. Not great, but good. I’ve read similar plots before and I didn’t find this one original enough to score 5 stars from me.

And emotionally diconnected. Rowan closed herself off from everyone. And in doing so, the reader also feels disconnected from her. Yes, what happened in her past is terrible, no kid should have to live through that, and I have to say I was proud at the life she built despite it. But with an emotional lack coming from the main character, it through the whole book off. Intelligent, strong, she can defend herself. But her past tortures her emotionally, and the reader doesn’t feel it.

John. Ex-DEA, he brings baggage to the story as well, but I found him more likable than Rowan. Strong, self-assured, he’s haunted when a case went terribly wrong, and he’s determined to catch Pomera, the man he’s been after for years. He started the security firm with his brother.

Michael. How am I supposed to approach this? He’s supposed to be an ex-cop. Supposed to have been a cop for 15 years before he quit. I’m sorry, but what I got from him was a smitten teenager in his late teens! OMG! He was attracted to Rowan right from the beginning. While they had their runs on the beach in the morning, he’s too busy watching her than their surroundings. When John pushes Rowan for the truth, for details, Michael makes him back off and coddles her. WTH?! He acted more like a love-sick teenager, jealous of his brother, than the grown man he was supposed to be. Granted, what happens in the book is awful and while I wished him off the case, I didn’t wish for what happened to happen.

And while I felt a physical attraction between Rowan and John, I didn’t feel anything else but. I felt more from the other characters. I did like the suspense and the mystery, even though finding out who the killer is was rather predictable. The climax and ending had me flipping pages. Started of slow, picked up in the middle, and about 3/4’s of the way in, became really good.

Will this stop me from reading The Hunt and The Kill? No. I’ve been told they’re much better. But this one doesn’t rate top marks from me, and I’m sad to say it.

Rating:

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