– Dillon Kincaid
Lucy Kincaid graduated from college with a double major in psychology and computer science, has interned with the United States Senate and Arlington County Sheriff’s Department, and currently works as both an intern with the D.C. Medical Examiner’s Office and volunteer for Women and Children First! (WCF), an organization dedicated to fighting the sexual exploitation of women and children.
It’s an impressive string of accomplishments for anyone, but doubly so for Lucy. Six years ago she was abducted by a sexual predator she met online and was brutally tortured and assaulted, all broadcast live on the internet. She survived her ordeal and emerged with a single goal: join the FBI and fight the kind of crime she fell prey to.
While waiting for word on her application to the Bureau, Lucy and WCF are running an online sting designed to catch sexual predators on parole in situations that will send them back behind bars, before they get a chance to reoffend. But instead of ending up behind bars, the people Lucy and WCF are targeting begin turning up dead. Murdered. Suddenly Lucy has the attention of the FBI in a way she never wanted.
Complicating matters even further, Lucy also appears to have acquired a stalker. Whether there’s any connection between her “admirer” and the vigilante murders is just one of the mysteries Lucy must solve in order to get her life back on track toward the goal she’s worked so hard to attain.
Previously having appeared as a minor character in the books Speak No Evil and Fear No Evil, Lucy finally moves front and center in this new series and she makes for a fascinating lead. Author Allison Brennan strikes a delicate, believable balance with Lucy. On one hand she’s a strong, driven young professional on the cusp of a burgeoning career in law enforcement. On the other, she’s still very much a physically scarred, psychologically damaged young woman constantly fighting to put her brutal assault behind her.
The two-pronged plot (the vigilante murders and Lucy’s stalker) provides both Lucy and the reader with non-stop action, and there is no shortage of suspects and investigative twists to keep everyone on their toes. The main villain, who the reader comes to know as “Teacher,” is extremely creepy and the descriptions of his activities are quite disturbing. Brennan expertly builds the tension to almost unbearable levels, to the point the reader will alternately be hoping for Lucy to get a chance to confront the baddie and praying she doesn’t have to go through another traumatic showdown like she’s already endured once in her life.
The only (very slight) potential drawback of Love Me To Death for a reader new to Allison Brennan’s writing is the somewhat large cast of characters, many of whom are series regulars from previous novels. Brennan does, however, provide enough context and backstory for each player that a reader paying close attention – and with this plot believe me, you will be! – should have no trouble keeping up with who’s who.
The next book in the Lucy Kincaid series, a novella entitled Love is Murder, will be available in e-book format on January 24, 2011. The next full length book in the series, Kiss Me, Kill Me, will be released on February 22, 2011. Until then, make sure to grab a copy of Love Me to Death so you’ll be ready to hit the ground running.
Love Me to Death is available from Ballantine Books (ISBN: 978-0345520395).
Be sure to check out all of Allison’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS.