Thursday, 19 September 2013



Newly minted Special Agent Liv Bergen races against time to solve a child kidnapping--which could take a fatal turn--with the help of her gifted nephew Noah

From birth, Noah Hogarty has lived with severe cerebral palsy. He is nearly blind, unable to speak, and cannot run, walk, or crawl. Yet his mind works just as well as any other twelve-year-old's--maybe even better. And Noah holds a secret dream: to become a great spy, following in the footsteps of his aunt, Liv ''Boots'' Bergen.

Now, freshly returned from training at Quantico, FBI agent Liv Bergen is thrown into her first professional case. Working side by side with veteran agent Streeter Pierce, enigmatic agent and lover Jack Linwood, and her bloodhound Beulah, Liv must race to find five-year-old Max--last seen at the Denver International Airport--before this Christmastime abduction turns deadly. Meanwhile Noah, housebound, becomes wrapped up in identifying the young face he sees watching him from his neighbor's bedroom window, but he can neither describe nor inscribe what he knows.

And his investigation may lead to Noah paying the ultimate price in fulfilling his dream.
Noah's Rainy Day (the fourth novel in Brannan's mystery series) combines classic Liv Bergen irreverence and brainpower with an unflinching look at the darkest of human motivations, all while a whirlpool of increasingly terrifying events threatens to engulf Liv and Noah both in one final rainy day.

Having recently signed up to Net Galley after receiving an invite, I was asked if I would like to have a look at Sandra Brannan’s 4th Liz Bergen book.  As it has been frequently pointed out to me that there is an imbalance in the number of books I read by females, I quelled the misgivings my OCD-self felt about starting at the 4th book in the series and accepted.

My progress through the book was slightly fragmented due to a holiday in the middle of reading this via my laptop. Despite the stop/start nature, I enjoyed the tale and was interested in both the outcome and the relationships between the characters, especially Liz, Streeter and Jack.

My initial disbelief at the involvement of a “green” agent in a prominent, high profile case of child abduction was for the most part satisfied through subsequent dealings in the book with the child’s father, though a small part of me still seems a little bit incredulous that the FBI would be susceptible to pressure from a financier. Similarly the continued involvement of Liz in the hunt for missing Max and her nephew Noah, once it became apparent there was a more personal involvement seemed a wee bit of a stretch.

Minor gripes aside, the story was entertaining and held my interest. There was a curious dynamic between Liz and Streeter which was apparent, but not having reference to the previous books I’m unsure what if anything caused the slight tension. It added a little bit extra to the book in my opinion.

The other main character within the book was Liz’s nephew Noah. Noah, a 12 year old boy suffers from severe cerebral palsy and whilst the condition affects him physically, mentally he’s very switched on and aware. Personally, my knowledge of the condition is limited, but the author portrayed the boy and his family sympathetically and reminded me that physical appearances can be deceptive; you have to look beyond the “broken boy” part and acknowledge the person inside, who has feelings, abilities and intelligence. A timely and welcome reminder from the author for me, when encountering those with disabilities or medical conditions.

The plot unfolded swiftly, mirroring the point than in child abductions the first 24 hours are crucial. Interesting cast of characters, well-written, satisfactory conclusion........more than enough to off-set the couple of issues I had above.

4 from 5

As mentioned earlier, I gained access to this through the Net Galley website.             


  1. I've noticed this on your 'reading now' section and been waiting to hear about it - I too saw it on Net Galley and wasn't sure whether to go for it or not. And I'm still not sure! Seriously, don't the opening sentences sound like a children's book, with the 12 yo who wants to be a spy?

    1. Moira, I did have misgivings when I initially read the set-up, but overall whilst not being the most perfect book I have ever read, I did enjoy it. Previously, I probably wouldn't have entertained it, but maybe I'm mellowing!

  2. Nice review. I would have similar problems starting with the fourth in a series, although I am trying to overcome that in some situations. Kidnapping as a topic is not one I am attracted to. On the other hand, the depiction of a child with severe cerebral palsy would be interesting. It is very difficult for all of us to see past appearances.

    1. Tracy, thanks.I enjoyed it, but I'm not scrambling to go back and find the first 3 and I'm open-minded about whether I would try a 5th.

  3. Col, I quite like the premise of this story which, I think, is unusual in many ways. I might take rain check on the author and her work.

    1. Prashant, it was unusual, worth a look if you get a chance.