In The Belly Of Jonah
Sandra Brannan
Greenleaf Book Group 2010
252 pages

In the Belly of Jonah by Sandra Brannan, the first Liv Bergen mystery, is a good read. This said, it is not the kind of thriller you will make a point of keeping in your collection. The murders themselves are original but the killer is fairly generic: smarter than everyone else, self-agrandizing, and convinced the police are too stupid to catch him. The main character and the novel itself are interesting enough to make you want to read the next one.

Set in Colorado’s mining country, this mystery is about a serial killer who has a very original way of dispatching his victims and setting the scene. The victim, Jill Brannigan is a Colorado State University basketball player working as a bagger at the local mine.

The murder brings FBI agent Lisa Henry to Fort Collins. Henry drops in on old friend Liv Bergen who manages the mine where the victim worked. Bergen invites the agent to set-up her war room and stay at her place. This is a bit hard to believe as plot development but it allows Bergen to add her very valuable two cents to the investigation. Bergen becomes more involved in the case than she originally intended to be.

Sandra Brannan tells a good tale and tells it well. She does ask the reader for a couple of major leaps of faith such as the FBI dubbing the killer the de Milo killer but never really pushing the artistic research further than that or how Liv Bergen clues in to things.

This reader really wished the Brannan had done more with her knowledge of mining and mine country.

Also reviewed here: Widow’s Might