Monday, December 17, 2012

Review: Low Pressure

Summary: Bellamy Lyston was only 12 years old when her older sister Susan was killed on a stormy Memorial Day. Bellamy's fear of storms is a legacy of the tornado that destroyed the crime scene along with her memory of what really happened during the day's most devastating moments.

Now, 18 years later, Bellamy has written a sensational, bestselling novel based on Susan's murder. Because the book was inspired by the tragic event that still pains her family, she published it under a pseudonym to protect them from unwanted publicity. But when an opportunistic reporter for a tabloid newspaper discovers that the book is based on fact, Bellamy's identity is exposed along with the family scandal.

Moreover, Bellamy becomes the target of an unnamed assailant who either wants the truth about Susan's murder to remain unknown or, even more threatening, is determined to get vengeance for a man wrongfully accused and punished.

In order to identify her stalker, Bellamy must confront the ghosts of her past, including Dent Carter, Susan's wayward and reckless boyfriend -- and an original suspect in the murder case. Dent, with this and other stains on his past, is intent on clearing his name, and he needs Bellamy's sealed memory to do it. But her safeguarded recollections -once unlocked-pose dangers that neither could foresee and puts both their lives in peril.

As Bellamy delves deeper into the mystery surrounding Susan's slaying, she discovers disturbing elements of the crime which call into question the people she holds most dear. Haunted by partial memories, conflicted over her feelings for Dent, but determined to learn the truth, she won't stop until she reveals Susan's killer.

That is, unless Susan's killer strikes her first... -- Hachette Audio

After being adamantly against audio books for many years, I now find that I enjoy them a great deal. There are definitely benefits to having an audio book with me when I work out and have long car rides; however, I admit that I still prefer a hard copy almost every time. I still consider myself a newbie to audio books, but one thing I've discovered is that the mystery/suspense genre seems to work best for me.

I decided to listen to LOW PRESSURE by Sandra Brown. I have read a book or two by Ms. Brown in the past and I remember enjoying them; and I do know that she is a best-selling author with a huge following. Plus the book's description sounded pretty good. The mystery aspect seemed very intriguing and I figured that there would be some romantic tension between the main characters, but I don't mind a little romance if it's done well. Sounded like a good book to work out to, right?

And I guess I'd have to say I liked LOW PRESSURE, but I certainly didn't love it. There was too much romance for me, and it wasn't in a sweet way. There was a lot of sexual tension and it was hot -- even a little dirty! Definitely not my normal reading fare, but I guess I should have expected some of that with a Sandra Brown book.

I don't really feel I can speak to the romance aspects of LOW PRESSURE, so I'll focus on the mystery angle. I actually found it to be pretty interesting. Basically, Bellamy, under a pseudonym, has written a fictional account of her sister's murder which occurred eighteen years ago, and it's become a huge bestseller. Bellamy was only twelve at the time and there are many things about that day that she can't remember. She was hoping that writing the story would help bring back her memories and give her some closure.

However, a tabloid reporter figures out that Bellamy is the actual author; and Bellamy's world is turned upside-down. She begins getting some threats from a  creepy stalker and decides that she has to get to the bottom of her sister's murder once and for all. She contacts her sister's boyfriend, Dent, and together they begin investigating the murder. Of course, along the way, they find that they are attracted to each other!

LOW PRESSURE was an entertaining book. I don't know that I'd say I was constantly thinking about the story and rushing back to listen to it, but I did like the book. I enjoyed how the author presented the story with flashbacks to the time around the murder as well as various views of the present-day main characters. I also liked how Bellamy had to not only investigate the murder but work through a lot of personal baggage that she gathered over the past eighteen years.

I did find the mystery to be quite intriguing. It was pretty obvious to me from fairly early on, that the man who went to jail for Bellamy's sister's murder wasn't actually guilty of it. I admit that I suspected a few people and was pretty surprised when I learned the real culprit. I'm not going to say that the character who was ultimately guilty for the crime never entered my mind as a suspect, but I was leaning towards someone else. I liked that the mystery aspect wasn't entirely predictable.

The audio book of LOW PRESSURE was read by Stephen Lang. Mr. Lang is a new-to-me narrator and evidently he reads quite a few novels of the suspense/thriller genre. Overall, I thought he did a good job with this book, and his variety of voices and accents were different enough to keep things interesting. I wouldn't hesitate to listen to another book read by Mr. Lang; and actually, I'm quite curious to see his take on a more traditional thriller.

And that brings me to my next point about the audio version of LOW PRESSURE. I've already mentioned that I wasn't a big fan of the romantic aspects of the story, and I think one of the main reasons was because I was listening to the book rather than reading it. I have no idea if others have this issue with audio books, but I'm much more uncomfortable listening to sex scenes than I am reading them. There were a few scenes in LOW PRESSURE that made me blush (and I never thought I was that much of a prude!)

In hindsight, I'm not sure how I felt about LOW PRESSURE. There were parts of the story that I really enjoyed, and then a few other ones that I thought were a little predictable and trite. What I've concluded is that I'm not the target audience for this novel, and therefore, not the best judge. I do, however, think fans of Ms. Brown's will appreciate this story (as evidenced by the reviews on Amazon.)

Thanks to the publisher for providing the audio book version of this novel.

Mystery Mondays is a regular feature where I review all types of mystery books -- traditional mysteries, suspense/thrillers, and even cozies! Please feel free to share your thoughts on any recent mystery books that you've read.


bermudaonion said...

I'm not a big fan of romance in suspense novels. I always wonder how narrators manage to read those scenes that I find uncomfortable to listen to.

Beth F said...

I know what you mean about listening to the sex scenes! I think when I'm reading in print I tend to skim over them, but when you're listening to an audiobook you get every word. LOL.

Serena said...

I wouldn't mind the romance part, but it gives me pause when you say it was "dirty"!

The mystery does sound good though.

Anonymous said...

Wow, a very interesting review! Yes, I suppose balancing romance and mystery is a tricky one… not many can do it well…