I was so honored to be asked to review Conspiracy by my agency-mate (Burns-sib), Suzanne Hartmann. Being a NASCAR fan, I pounced on the first book of her “Fast Track Thrillers.” And I’ve anticipated her second offering since I read Peril over a year ago.
Conspiracy provides just as much action and intrigue as it’s sister book.
But there are a few important things to note about this book and this series. Oh and there is a special surprise ending that I’m going to reveal!
Fast Track THRILLERS
Don’t let the name of the series confuse you. Neither of these books are the concept that I have of “thriller.” I think of world-ending, city-destroying, violence and desolation. Some of the James Bond movies where whole mountains blow up come to mind. Now I may be totally wrong about that, but I don’t tend to read (or watch) thrillers. At least I don’t think I do.
All that is to say, if the word thriller still conjures up the zombies of Michael Jackson’s music video, you’ve got the wrong idea.
What I Liked
The characters in this story wound me up in knots at one point. I couldn’t figure out who to believe, who to trust.
WHO TO MARK OFF MY SUSPECT LIST!
Even some of the Point of View Characters (POVC) weren’t who they claimed to be. They kept secrets and had moments of disloyalty. I love the fact that all of the characters have flaws. Real flaws. Some that I would have in the same situation. The special attributes that some of them have don’t overcome their faults. And by the end of the book, though the main character has traveled her character arch, all of them are still flawed.
Flawed, but likable. Even some of the suspects are rather likable. I loved the way that Suzanne could infer a complicated back-story with a single sentence. Near the front of the book, she did this with just a few choice words in her 2 sentences. Called again, same question, brain tumor. Just those words pulled back the curtain to a heart-wrenching situation in which the main character found herself.
I did find a pet peeve of mine in this story. As much as I liked the characters, I found two instances in which the characters didn’t react logically for who they were in their situation.
One of them was in a gripping emotional time. I had tears tickling the corners of my eyes. Until a random informational sentence trickled in. I thought, “Why in the world would she be thinking that at a time like THIS??? I confess, inconsistencies bug me.
Another inconsistency showed as a professional stupidity. A minor character acted illogically for his job and position. A plot point balanced on his action, but I think it could and should have been done another way. (My opinion only.)
You Should Know
I couldn’t put this book down. Read it from 9PM until almost 4AM when I finished it. But I have a strong suggestion
Read Book 1, Peril, first! The back story is complicated and much easier to get with that story in mind. And Conspiracy sets up book 3.
In addition, things didn’t tie up neatly. Shades of “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back.” This book had a main plot with a romance and 2 subplots. In this story, only one of the subplots reached a full conclusion. The other subplot was left virtually untouched. The main plot and romance had all sorts of strings dangling from them that will likely have issues in the final episode of this series.
I liked this book! It was worth the wait and I’m excited for the next one to come out!
Your Turn: Surprise Ending
The surprise ending is that I have a copy of Conspiracy to give away. (You didn’t really think I’d post a spoiler, did you?) This book gripped. And whoever wins my copy will be able to tell because I wrote notes throughout the whole thing! Want it?
Initial Entry = Subscribe to my quarterly email. Here’s the link to sign up: Updates about Faith~Driven Fiction (Automatic entry for all of my current newsletter subscribers!)
Subsequent entries = Share the link to this review and contest on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. Just leave a message with the URL link of your posting in the comment section of this article to get credit for your postings. Make sure you don’t comment anonymously!
Don’t miss this book! And getting it free is just a cherry on top! Deadline to enter is Monday, April 28. Please share!