Book Review: Cold Snap by Allison Brennan

in Book Review, Toni Linenberger


Toni Linenberger
Blonde Betty reviews
The Illustrious  Leader of the Intrepid BBs


I started reading Allison Brennan with the first of the Lucy Kincaid series, Love Me to Death. I was hooked, but had this feeling that there was more to the story. I felt like I should know the characters more. Interested to understand why I had that feeling, I searched out her website. Turns out, before she decided to focus on Lucy Brennan wrote twelve loosely connected romantic thrillers. They were all set in the same world as Lucy. Unfortunately this was about the same time as my local Borders began going out of business. I armed myself with a list and set about tracking down all those early books. I’m happy to say I was successful (though I still miss Borders). Reading the earlier works helped fill in some of the gaps and explained why I thought there was more to the story. There was. Though the early books were not critical to understanding and loving the Lucy books, there was something wonderful about going back and learning more about her family and the events that shaped the woman she turned into.

As Lucy moves on from her life in DC, depicted in the six Lucy Kincaid books and short stories, she’s moving to San Antonio as a newly minted FBI agent. This is the first time she will truly be away from home (she’s been living with her brother Dillon and his wife for the last seven years). This move gave Brennan the perfect opportunity to go back and catch up with the other Kincaid siblings prior to moving forward with Lucy.

The Kincaid Family Christmas Reunion is threatened by murder…

On his way home to San Diego, P.I. Patrick Kincaid takes a detour through San Francisco to check on the well-being of a family friend who’s mysteriously been unreachable. What he doesn’t expect is to be shot at before he can find out why attorney Elle Santana won’t ask the police for help in finding a missing girl. Soon, he’s on the run from both good guys and bad as he and Elle race to find the witness and take down a sweatshop run by a corrupt businessman with a penchant for violence.

Newly-sworn FBI Agent Lucy Kincaid can’t remember the last time she spent the holidays with her whole family, but getting home by December 25th is proving to be a bit of a problem. A blizzard shut down the airports and she and her boyfriend Sean Rogan are stuck in a Denver hotel…with a dead body. And if that wasn’t all, back in San Diego Colonel Kincaid ends up in the hospital, where an even greater danger awaits—a man with a vendetta who will kill anyone who gets in his way. This Christmas, the Kincaid family needs nothing less than a miracle to survive. And time is running out.

Though this is part of the Lucy series, in many ways this is Patrick’s book. The first third is his adventure in San Francisco and almost completely self-contained. Patrick has always been one of my favorite characters and it was fun to see him get his own HEA after all this time. Elle is a fun change from some of the other characters. She’s a perfect counterpart to Patrick’s seriousness. Seeing his mom play matchmaker is a fun side to the Kincaid matriarch that we haven’t always seen.

The second third is Lucy, Kate, Dillon, and Sean stuck in a Denver hotel during a snow-storm. Of course there is a murder and it gives Kate and Lucy one last case to work together. The final third brings us back to San Diego and a hostage situation in the hospital where Colonel Kincaid is having tests. This section gives Lucy and Carina a chance to reconnect and work a case together as equals. The last two sections are somewhat Lucy-centric, but it is still her series so it fits into her story cannon.

Brennan has honed her craft by being flexible. She writes a variety of characters in varied story lengths. Her work with short stories and novellas is on display here as each section could be read on its own. The vignettes are tightly written with little extraneous so they move quickly. Each is a fully developed case story while still bring in all the family connections that we’ve grown to love.

I loved this opportunity to catch up with the Kincaids. Except for the murders, it was like visiting with old friends and catching up on the past few years. Most of the Kincaids remembered Lucy as a young woman just out of high school. This family reunion gives everyone a chance to forge a relationship as adults. Lucy has grown up and her family has the opportunity to understand the woman she’s become. I’m looking forward to Lucy’s adventures in San Antonio, but I will miss the Kincaid clan. I’m hopeful the story promises of visits will translate into future books so we continue to live life with these characters.

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