Review copy was received from Publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Face Off by Brenda Novak
Narrator: Therese Plummer
Series: The Evelyn Talbot Chronicles #3
Published by MacMillan on August 28, 2018
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Length: 10 hours, 52 minutes
Amazon, Audible, Audiobook, Barnes & Noble
Tortured and left for dead at 16, Evelyn Talbot turned her personal nightmare into her life’s work - studying the disturbing psychopathy of some of the world’s most vicious serial killers. Now a leading psychiatrist at Hanover House in a small Alaskan town, she tries to believe the past will never come back to haunt her - until a woman goes missing from a cabin nearby, and every clue points to the man who once brutalized her....
As her boyfriend, who is the area’s only police, begins to investigate - and finds not one but two bodies - Evelyn can’t forget that her would-be killer, Jasper Moore, was never caught. But there are no new faces in tiny Hilltop, no one who seems suspicious or potentially violent. In this twisted game of cat and mouse, Evelyn is certain of only one thing - Jasper must be hiding in plain sight. And if she can’t find him before he comes for her, she won’t be lucky enough to survive twice...
I’ve always really enjoyed the books of Brenda Novak. Her world building and characters are well written and inspired my emotions. This Evelyn Talbot Chronicles series is a bit of a different genre. It’s more mystery and suspense than romance. Evelyn does develop a romantic relationship over the series.
Evelyn is a smart and driven character. Sometimes, her actions are just bizarre and it doesn’t seem like she is careful enough. In her position, I would learn self defense and use of weapons, and train regularly. There is also the issue of precautions and knowledge about the Alaskan weather and survival knowledge. For being so intelligent, her decisions don’t always match. She does have personal growth over the series.
The villains are totally without conscience and in that sense, a bit cliche, also extremely terrifying. Even Amorak’s old girlfriend seems a bit of a nasty stereotype. There is plenty of suspense in Face Off. There were multiple gut-wrenching twists with multiple shockers at a breakneck pace right up to the end.
From Goodreads, it looks like the series will continue and I’m curious to see what will happen. I recommend this series if you like mystery, suspense and thrillers, and can handle reading about violence towards women.
I have loved this narrator on another series and was thrilled to find I enjoyed her here. Sometimes I can’t listen to a narrator on more than one series. Therese Plummer gave the characters their own voices and it was a pleasure to listen to her. I listened mostly at my usual 1.25x speed but accidentally switched to 1.5x and it felt a bit fast but it worked for me as the story raced to the ending. Her performance really added to the emotional quality of the book.
Listen to a clip here:
- Sunday Post –4 June 2023 @kimbacaffeinate @readingreality - June 4, 2023
- 🎧 Series review: A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson @HoJay92 @BaileyCarrVOICE @LLAudiobooks @PRHAudio #LoveAudiobooks #JIAM #COYER #ReadASeriesinaMonth - June 3, 2023
- Read-along & #Giveaway: Tricked by Kevin Hearne @KevinHearne @luckylukeekul @DelReyBooks @PRHAudio#Read-along #GIVEAWAY #LoveAudiobooks #JIAM - June 2, 2023
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- 2018 Audiobook Challenge
- 2018 New Release Challenge
I came so close to getting the audio version but was already halfway through the eBook. I love Thérèse Plummer so this was a big miss for me. So glad she lived up to her reputation with this story. You’re right about Evelyn not being careful enough. I’ve often thought a little bit of her was in denial. Great review, Anne!
I’m enjoying this series reading or listening. I find Amorak to be really solid and realistic. Evelyn is an odd mix of smart/secure and insecure/ indecisive (about releationships).
THat’s an author I heard about but I never tried any of her books
This one is romantic suspense but I started with her romance series. I have read a few of her series. I like them.
I remember wanting to read the first one of these and for some reason I didn’t. I think I might really enjoy this series. Thank you for putting it back on my radar.
By the way, I just went and bought the first book for only .99. Great price!
I’m glad you got a deal! I think I got a deal on one of the first ones also. This is different than her usual contemporary romance. It’s pretty dark and violent. I find it quite suspenseful with the romance more in the background. I enjoy this author in both genres though.
I used to read all kinds of serial killer books so I’m good with dark?
I need to get in the stick and start this series. I’ve never read/listened to Brenda’s books yet.
You should give her a try in either genre. I enjoy her writing. Sometimes the first book or prequel novellas are freebies too, or available at a good deal., Of course, there is always the library; I often start a new series or author there.
I am glad you enjoyed this one, Anne! I had a lot of fun with the series and you are right in that the villains are without conscious and that old girlfriend was quite the piece of work. I listened to the first two books from the series and thought that Plummer did a great job with it.
I really like Therese Plummer. She also does the Rockton series for Kelley Armstrong and I love that too. I’ll be very curious to see where this series goes now since one story arc is somewhat settled.