A Liv Bergen Mystery
by Sandra Brannan
Greenleaf Book Group Press
The third Liv Bergen mystery picks up right where the second one left off: the murder of her future sister-in-law has been solved, but an older rancher has been bludgeoned to death in a style eerily reminiscent of a long-inactive killer known only as the Crooked Man. FBI agent Streeter Pierce, still on assignment in Sturgis, South Dakota, must now turn his sights on tracking down the killer—his nemesis from ten years earlier. Pierce doesn’t complain, though; he’s falling in love with Liv and sets in motion an unconventional way to recruit her for the FBI’s training camp in Quantico as they work the case together. But is Liv falling for the brilliant, exotic agent Jack Linwood instead?
Once again, Liv’s vast knowledge of the Black Hills of South Dakota—territory made famous by the gold rush following General George Custer’s expedition—and the modern-day ranchers and environmentalists who live there leads her to unearth critical clues about the Crooked Man, further endearing herself to Streeter. But is it enough to protect the life of her sister Elizabeth and the murdered rancher’s widow who was attacked while in hospice days after her husband was murdered? Who would want to kill an eighty year old dying in hospice? And although she’s fighting a losing battle with cancer, can the widow recover enough strength to help Liv thwart the Crooked Man’s murderous plans, saving lives in the process?
Readers are eager to read Sandra Brannan’s third book, Widow’s Might, after whetting appetites with the first and second in the Liv Bergen Mystery series, In the Belly of Jonah, an engrossing story with a memorable protagonist, and Lot’s Return To Sodom, where murders are easy to hide during the Sturgis motorcycle rally.
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1. The Crooked Man case was introduced in Lot’s Return To Sodom, the second in the Liv Bergen Mystery Series, and became the focal point in the third book in the series, Widow’s Might. Did you find the technique of issued being carried over annoying or effective in heightening anticipation?
2. Liv Bergen is blessed with numerous siblings and a strong family. How effectively does the author use the character’s family members to further the story?
3. In Widow’s Might, the author furthered the relationship between Liv Bergen and Streeter Pierce that began in In The Belly Of Jonah and Lot’s Return To Sodom. How effective is their caution towards each other building their investment in a lasting relationship?
4. The author raised the ethical question about an individual’s right to die. Although the Crooked Man clearly committed murder, how much control should individuals diagnosed with a fatal condition have with their own lives?
5. The concept of hospice, caring over curing, has been a godsend to many people. Although Helma Hanson appreciated the help, her decision was to feel the pain in her final days in order to have a clearer head. How would you choose?
6. Titles of books are often selected for marketing purposes. Sandra Brannan has created the entire Liv Bergen series around morphed biblical titles. How successful did the title tie to the story? Do you believe in the saying to never judge a book by its title? How would you judge Widow’s Might, both cover and content?
7. The author highlights how groups created to further a cause can sometimes lose sight of the purpose and instead justify bad behaviors of individuals for a greater good. Describe some examples where you feel this has happened.
8. Although fast, the pacing and plot for Widow’s Might differ from the first two books in the series, in that the story was more of a traditional “whodunit” mystery. Which of Sandra Brannan’s books is your favorite?
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"Good and scary"
Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal
"For hardcore crime-fiction fans"
Shelley Mosely, Booklist
"Sandra Brannan returns with her second winner in the Liv Bergen mystery series … Mystery lovers want their stories to move, entertain and mystify, among other factors. Brannan’s work does all that and more. She has created an appealing heroine who is bright and resourceful."
Nancy Hansford, Fort Collins Coloradoan
"A gripping murder mystery with a heroine you’ll cheer all the way to the powerhouse finish."
Nora McFarland, author of the Lilly Hawkins Mysteries A Bad Day’s Work and Hot, Shot, and Bothered
"It won’t let you go!"
J.S. Chancellor, author of Son of Ereubus, first in the highly praised Guardians of Legend Trilogy
"Sandra Brannan delivers another winner. The investigation twists and turns through a cast of colorful characters, ending with a solid, surprising finale."
James C. Mitchell, author of Lover’s Crossing and Choke Point, a Shamus Award nominee
"Sandra Brannan is able to take the subjects she knows and turn them into an exciting, non-stop action mystery. Liv is amazing!"
Suzanne Harrouff, Books Unlimited in North Carolina
"Kept me guessing until the end!"
Tammy Barrows, general manager of BAM in Rapid City, South Dakota
"A shocking thriller with a dash of spice, definitely the best mystery series I’ve read in a long time."
Andrea Hoon, book department manager of Hastings in Gillette, Wyoming