Please welcome an awesome writer, Allison Brennan. She’s a New York Times and USA today bestselling author who’s penned over a dozen thrillers and short stories over the years. Her new book Shattered, will be released Tuesday August 22nd as the #4 book in the Max Revere series. I’m reading this title now and it’s absolutely stunning.
Over a span of twenty years, four boys have been kidnapped from their bedrooms, suffocated, and buried nearby in a shallow grave. Serial killer or coincidence?
That’s the question investigative reporter Maxine Revere sets out to answer when an old friend begs her to help exonerate his wife, who has been charged with their son’s recent murder. But Max can do little to help because the police and D.A. won’t talk to her―they think they have the right woman. Instead, Max turns her attention to three similar cold cases. If she can solve them, she might be able to help her friend.
Justin Stanton was killed twenty years ago, and his father wants closure―so he is willing to help Max with her investigation on one condition: that she work with his former sister-in-law― Justin’s aunt, FBI Agent Lucy Kincaid. Trouble is, Max works alone, and she’s livid that her only access to the case files, lead detective and witnesses depends on her partnering with a federal agent on vacation. She wants the career-making story almost as much as the truth―but if she gets this wrong, she could lose everything.
Haunted by Justin’s death for years, Lucy yearns to give her family―and herself―the closure they need. More important, she wants to catch a killer. Lucy finds Max’s theory on all three cases compelling―with Max’s research added to Lucy’s training and experience, Lucy believes they can find the killer so justice can finally be served. But the very private Lucy doesn’t trust the reporter any more than Max trusts her.
Max and Lucy must find a way to work together to untangle lies, misinformation, and evidence to develop a profile of the killer. But the biggest question is: why were these boys targeted? As they team up to find out what really happened the night Justin was killed, they make a shocking discovery: Justin’s killer is still out there … stalking another victim … and they already may be too late.
*Who is Maxine Revere and what makes her tick?
Maxine Revere spent the first ten years of her life traveling the world with her mother on the whim—Martha Revere never wanted to put down roots. Shortly before Max’s tenth birthday, her mother left her with her very wealthy, very traditional grandparents and then disappeared—sending Max occasional postcards until they stopped after Max’s 16th birthday. Her mother lied to her about her father—she still doesn’t know who her father is—and Max still doesn’t know what happened to her mom.
When Max was a senior in college, her roommate Karen Richardson disappeared while they were on spring break. There were signs that she had been murdered—a lot of blood—but no body was found, and no evidence to convict the playboy Max was certain killed her. Max hounded law enforcement for a year, and finally wrote a book about Karen’s disappearance and the police investigation. She found she had a knack for gathering information and a skill for writing about crime. She ended up writing four true crime books and numerous articles, mostly about cold cases and missing persons.
Now, Max hosts a monthly newsmagazine on a cable television network, highlighting cold cases (think an in-depth America’s Most Wanted, but where the suspect is an unknown.) She is driven to solve crimes for others because she’s never been able to solve the mystery of her own life. Max is abrasive, intelligent, independent, and never gives up.
In SHATTERED, Max is compelled to look at evidence from three cold cases of young boys kidnapped from their bedrooms and murdered. She thinks there’s a connection, though the police haven’t put it together. Once Max is convinced she’s right, she isn’t going to stop until she solves the case.
I really like Max Revere’s straight-forward personality. Her determination and intensity truly shines. She’s not afraid to step on toes to get what she wants.
*What motivates FBI Agent Lucy Kincaid?
When Lucy was seven, her nephew and best friend Justin was killed. It changed her and her family forever. Her older brothers and sisters changed their career focus and all went into some aspect of law enforcement or the military. She didn’t realize how much these events impacted her, until after her own tragedy when she was eighteen—she was kidnapped and raped live on the internet, and would have been killed if not for her family tracking her down.
Now, nine years after that horrific event, Lucy has realized her dream of becoming an FBI agent. She’s on the second year of her assignment to the San Antonio field office. She is recently married to private investigator and security consultant Sean Rogan, and has grown tremendously from an insecure trainee to a confident investigator over her now 12-book series.
Lucy is motivated by justice—to help victims by catching those who prey on the innocent. She has a keen insight not only in victim profiling, but in criminal profiling.
I love Lucy! She’s a very interesting character, especially the whole Kincaid family. Seeing what motivates characters and what they want is very satisfying.
*Explain the relationship dynamic between Maxine and Lucy.
Max and Lucy meet in SHATTERED. Justin Stanton is the possible first victim of an unknown serial killer. Justin’s father, long-time D.A. Andrew Stanton, agrees to help Max in her cold case investigation on the condition that Max work with Lucy. Lucy is more than willing to take time off of work to solve a crime that has pained her and her family for so long. Max doesn’t like working with cops for many reasons, largely because they have rules they must follow that she doesn’t. Lucy is intrigued by Max’s theory, and reminds her that without her, no one in San Diego will cooperate. They don’t trust each other, and when Max starts digging into Lucy’s past, Lucy threatens to cut Max out of the investigation completely, which infuriates her.
However, Max and Lucy are both driven by the need to see justice served—that the truth needs to be uncovered at all cost. That tentative bond can be strengthened or severed … it was very fun and satisfying for me to challenge these two strong women.
Seeing these two clash and work together on the page is quite explosive. Very entertaining to say the least. The tension is palpable.
*What did you enjoy the most in writing Shattered?
Putting Max and Lucy on the same page. At first I was really nervous about it because I wasn’t sure how they would work together. They are both so clear to me, they are both so well-defined in my head, that I was afraid that they would absolutely detest each other and not work together. There is a lot of distrust and even some misinformation between them, but as they worked together they gained a mutual respect.
You might be on to something here, Allison. These two are dynamite!
*What were some challenges writing Shattered?
Figuring out the logistics of what happened to Justin and the other boys. I was never going to solve Justin’s murder unless I knew why he was killed. When I figured out the why, I thought it was going to be “easy” to solve the crime. But I was tied to some information I’d released in earlier Lucy Kincaid books, and I had to make sure I was consistent in this book. It took a lot of thought and choreography to make sure it worked! But once I had the motivation of the killer understood, it fell into place.
Your’e motivations are great! The plotting has been spectacular. Your choreography paid off 🙂
“Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations.”
*Will Maxine and Lucy partner in future books?
I don’t know — I would like to put them together again. I might bring Max into a Lucy book. (SHATTERED is technically part of the Maxine Revere series though Lucy plays an equal role in the story.) It would be fun … but I’d have to have the right idea for them. I’ll never say never!
Well, I certainly hope they team up again in the future. They have a wonderful chemistry about them. Even their resources, backgrounds, colleagues are ripe for a collaboration. Guess we’ll wait and see what happens!
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SHATTERED coming August 22, 2017
RT Top Pick!
PW: “Intricately plotted … psychologically complex characters … heart-pounding.”
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Meet author Allison Brennan from this post on the Mystery Thriller Week blog.