Book Review: “Best Laid Plans” By Brennan

“Best Laid Plans” by Allison Brennan was published by St. Martin’s Press 2015.  This book is book 9 of the Lucy Kincaid/Sean Rogan series of Novels by Allison Brennan.

Book Synopsis (back cover details):

The synopsis below is a summary of the details on the back cover.

“Newly minted FBI agent is settling in her job when the husband of a sitting congresswoman is found dead in a motel on the wrong side of town.”

The description continues:

“…when a high-tech bug is found in the deceased’s office an entirely new threat emerges.  A far reaching conspiracy run by a ruthless killed who will do anything to get what he wants.  And the person between him and victory is the newly minted FBI agent.”

Rating Legend: 1-Didn’t like it 2-It was alright, 3-I liked it, 4-It was pretty good/well done, 5-It was excellent

Ratings (1-5 scale):

  • Overall: 2.5
  • Heroine Likability: 2.1
  • Hero Likability: 2
  • Read more than once: No.

This book was neither the best; nor the worst, book I have read.  It isn’t one that I would read again either.  It is the only book in the series that I have read.  I wouldn’t seek out additional books in the series; nor would I spend much money on buying them.  If I got one as a gift then I would, of course, read the book; eventually.

The story plot overall was good; a murder mystery that turns out to be part of a larger conspiracy that involves a lot of people.  The heroines’ boyfriend gets a job consulting with the FBI to help out with the case; even though apparently he hates/doesn’t trust the FBI and law enforcement.  The heroine apparently has a really bad and tragic back story that seems to mess her up and cause her to doubt herself a lot.  The book references events from the previous book in the series.  Those events impact some of the events and motivations of characters in this book.  From what I could tell the main bad guy comes from the past book.  Without having read that past book I found it a little confusing.

There also seemed to be two cases that two groups of characters were trying to solve at the same time.  They tied into each other because of a connection to the bad guys.  There were a lot of bad guys floating around.  The other issue is that both the heroine and hero break so many rules; or outright do illegal things, and face no consequences that it gets old.

The other reasons that I gave the book a 2.5:

  • Too many characters and subplots.
  • It became distracting switching point of views as often as the book did.  There were a few characters that didn’t get to have their point of view shared.
  • The heroine is an expert in just about everything.
  • Language; lots of cussing and swearing by the bad guys
  • Issues with the flow of the story.  For example, a quicker paced section all of a sudden grinds to a halt to debate “nurture v. nature”.
  • The author does things that new authors are warned to never do.  If a new author shouldn’t do them then an older author shouldn’t either.

Where they didn’t take away from the readability they did chip away at the book rating.


Related Posts:

Roseylinn Recycled Book Reading Challenge Post

LifeExperimenting Blog Recycled Book Reading Challenge Post

Updated on 4/6/2017 to reflect the rating on a 1-5 Scale.

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8 thoughts on “Book Review: “Best Laid Plans” By Brennan

  1. ….this review is probably better than the book itself. Being warned so eloquently is not only helpful, but instructive as to what makes for a better read. But please, for my sake if not others’, elaborate on: “. . . The author does things that new authors are warned to never do. If a new author shouldn’t do them then an older author shouldn’t either. . . ” 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks. Good point on where I should elaborate more in my review. New authors are typically told that the “rules” are:

      1. Don’t go overboard with the plots and subplots.

      2. Show don’t tell and avoid adverbs. This is the advice to avoid passive adverb. For example, “she was waiting for him to show up.” In “showing” it turns into; “she waited for him to show up.” In this novel, there is a lot of telling.

      3. Research details. In murder mysteries, there is a death to solve. So some research is needed. In this case, there are some “facts” presented that I know aren’t totally accurate. An internet search would also reveal that information.

      4. A book shouldn’t have too many characters to keep track of. It is also helpful in a book to describe the characters in some way. There should also not be too many different points of view. The characters should be believable. A tragic backstory does add depth to a character but it can get to be tiresome to bring it up as often as she did.

      5. Try to avoid the easy fix/solution/find. This book has a few of those moments where it seemed too convenient, or hard to believe. For example, the incredibly smart heroine could easily figure out the “almost impossible to detect” poison used; yet had issues figuring out who one of the bad guys was.

      6. Both the hero and heroine lied to each other, and to others and broke rules. It is hard to identify and care about characters that could just as easily be bad guys.

      Liked by 1 person

      • THANK YOU for this very generous reply to my query! I just finished reading a mystery novel whose writer (Charles Todd — ‘A Test of Wills’–his 1st) is American, but writing about a small English village with many members of the community so intertwined and involved, I have to keep checking back to recall who’s who. When ‘the who/why’ is finally revealed, I felt cheated in a sense, because the reasons lie outside the (voluminous) exposition, and I had to go through such a boondoggle of relationships to get there.

        Your advice to new writers helped me identify why I felt so exhausted after reading it. Thank you very much Rosylinn 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

        • Welcome. 🙂 I don’t typically like having to create a spreadsheet to keep track of characters in a book. The only book(s) a person should feel exhausted after reading, in my opinion, are a few college textbooks I can think of. 🙂

          “When ‘the who/why’ is finally revealed, I felt cheated in a sense, because the reasons lie outside the (voluminous) exposition…” is another tip/rule for writers. The who did it and why should be in the book; not too obvious but not so obscure that they aren’t even in the book until the moment of the big reveal. I left it off the list above because in the book I reviewed the author didn’t do that.

          Liked by 1 person

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