If I Should Die
Allison Brennan
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Buy *If I Should Die* by Allison Brennan online

If I Should Die
Allison Brennan
512 pages
November 2011
rated 4 of 5 possible stars

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Lucy Kincaid and her P.I. boyfriend Sean Rogan finally have some time to themselves, so they decide to head into the Adirondack Mountains for a vacation. Sean has promised some friends that heíll look into a difficult situation while there, but he is looking forward to some uninterrupted time with Lucy. Little does he know that the small favor heís promised will not only interrupt his vacation but put his and Lucyís lives in danger as well.

While they are there, Seanís friendsí hotel is vandalized, and Sean is determined to pursue the culprit. Lucy accompanies him and ends up in an old mine shaft. The arson is disturbing enough, but when Lucy discovers a body in the mine, they realize there is more going on than theyíd initially thought. Sean and Lucy become embroiled in a wide-ranging conspiracy, the breadth of which seems to know no bounds.

If I Should Die is the third novel in the Lucy Kincaid series, and itís quite the departure from the previous two. While the first two novels revolved around sex crimes and violence against women, this novel seems completely different. Thatís not to say it is bad, nor that the change is unwelcome. Brennan breaks new ground with this complicated, intricate storyline. Itís fast-paced and moves at a great clip; each page reveals new information with unexpected twists and turns.

Lucy and Sean are already well-established characters, and this book doesnít provide much fodder for them to develop further. As expected in a romantic suspense novel, their relationship has its ups and down, but the book is plot- rather than character-driven. Itís difficult to know what to make of the secondary characters. All are extremely well-written and layered, but itís not easy to tell what their true motives are. All the reader knows is that this conspiracy is wide-ranging, and itís possible the entire town is involved. It makes for a wonderful puzzle, wondering who Sean and Lucy can trust.

The novel is more of a suspense/thriller than a mystery novel, as readers discover the identity of the villain long before If I Should Die comes to a close. Indeed, even before this, it isnít difficult to guess what is happening because the reader is treated to passages written in this personís voice over the course of the book. It provides a chilling look into a twisted mind; Brennan writes it incredibly well. But this doesnít lessen the suspense of the novel at all. The book is about how Lucy and Sean will succeed and the truth behind exactly what is happening, rather than the identity of who is behind it.

All in all, If I Should Die is a welcome installment in the Lucy Kincaid series. Brennan has created two rich, flawed characters in Sean and Lucy, and readers will clamor to follow them wherever they lead. Their romance is sweet and builds at a realistic pace, such that even readers who arenít fans of romance novels can enjoy this book. Sheís put together a wonderful series with these books, and it will be interesting to see where she goes next.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at www.curledup.com. © Swapna Krishna, 2012

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