is definitely an author to follow and read. Although still
generally unknown she has written a series of five books,
with all the novels having a very unique theme. Yet, her last
two books have very compelling storylines. Incorporated within
an action-packed mystery is an enduring tale that allows handicapped
children to have a voice and for a few to become supporting
In the earlier books the female heroine, Liv
Bergen, a manager of a Limestone mine, investigates, along
with law enforcement, the killings of those close to her.
Every book in the series showcases either a friend, employee,
or family member involved in a murder. The second and third
books in the series take her on a journey of changing professions
as she attempts to clear the names of those close to her.
The latter books have Liv joining the FBI after deciding to
fulfill the wishes of her friend, FBI agent Lisa Henry, killed
while investigating a case.
She commented, “The best friend in my
life was an FBI agent who talked to me about his cases. I
based veteran agent Streeter Pierce on him although the name
Streeter came from my late bloodhound dog. Book two in the
series was written after my friend gave me his point of view,
the way an FBI agent would think. It is based on his experiences
with the Sturgis South Dakota rally of hardcore motorcycle
bikers. After the book came out I was asked to be a motivational
speaker for law enforcement before the next rally.”
book in the series, Noah’s Rainy Day, has newly
minted Special Agent Liv Bergen, racing against time, along
with her FBI partners, to solve a child kidnapping, before
it takes a fatal turn. What makes this storyline stand out
is Liv’s nephew, Noah Hogarty, housebound with Cerebral
Palsy, and dreaming of becoming a great spy or following in
the footsteps of his aunt. He becomes obsessed with identifying
the young face he sees watching him from his neighbor’s
house. Readers may think this a little too coincidental but
should realize that to incorporate Noah as a hero in the storyline
Brannan had to take certain liberties. She skillfully became
a voice for Noah, who is nearly blind, unable to speak, and
cannot move on his own. Yet, his mind is just like any other
twelve year old, and when he finds the key to the kidnapping
he becomes frustrated with the inability to communicate. This
plot is riveting and fast moving as the reader becomes intricately
involved while rooting for Noah to become the hero and Liv
to solve the case.
noted, “Angels rising as warriors. One of my nephews
is mentally challenged. My other sister has a child with severe
cerebral palsy. I hoped in Noah’s Rainy Day he
was seen as someone trapped in his own body but has extreme
intelligence. These children do not see themselves as handicapped
since it is the only life they have ever known. I want people
to understand they are not invisible. I incorporated into
the scenes some of my personal relationship with my nephew.
I would take my nephew sliding, and even took him ice skating,
holding him in my arms and letting his feet touch the ground.
We would communicate yes/no with his eyes and smiles. I took
that relationship with my nephew and had Liv treat Noah that
exact same way. I also was influenced by Rick Hoyt who has
severe Cerebral Palsy yet has participated in thirty Boston
Marathons and six “Ironmans.” Rick’s brother,
Russell, taught him to communicate through a knuckle discussion.
I thought that brilliant and incorporated it in my book. I
used all of these techniques for Noah. I think the scenes
worked so well because Liv had that ‘motherly instinct.’
It made the scenes believable.”
book, her latest, Solomon’s Whisper, is a fictional
version of real cold cases involving abused children who were
brutally murdered including Liv’s niece, Brianna Keller,
and Rebecca Douglas who brings to mind Jon Benet Ramsey. As
the investigation progresses this storyline takes many twists
and turns since it appears a vigilante is on the loose, murdering
all the children killers. Brannan does a great job throughout
the storyline emphasizing the moral issue of vigilantes and
their desire to make sure children killers get their due.
A quote in the book emphasizes this, “My heart weighed
heavy from suffering children.” She again embodies those
children who are dismissed in society, this time highlighting
a forty-year-old mentally handicapped man who has the mind
of a teenager, Stewart Casey. The plot is very engrossing
when Liv and the team’s investigation deepens, finding
that many of the murderers have also met with brutal deaths
mimicking the way in which the children were killed.
All of Sandra Brannan’s books delve
into the emotional reasons behind the case. With thrilling
endings, great storylines, as well as fabulous character development,
readers will stay up late to finish the books. In her last
two books she included unique heroes, those children with
special needs. Once someone reads one of these novels they
will want to read the whole series since these are not typical
crime novels but are a welcome change.
side note Sandra Brannan will be participating in the Military
Book Fair on November 8th in San Diego at the USS Midway.
She has a personal stake in this since so many of her relatives
have served: Grandpa WWI army, Dad WWII and Korean War, Husband
Vietnam Vet (purple heart recipient), sister Army, and a nephew,
a Marine who fought in the Iraq War.