Books I am reading

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Dreams of Being a Secret Agent

I receive advance copies of books through NetGalley in order to write and share reviews of the books. I am not paid other than to receive the books, and I have no association with either the authors or the publishers.

Noah's Rainy Day by Sandra Brannan is the 4th book in a series. I have not read the first three books, and had no problem following the story. It easily could be a stand-alone book, so don't worry if you haven't read the previous books in the series.

The story centers on Liv Bergan, and, her nephew, Noah. She is an FBI agent fresh out of the training academy at Quantico, stationed in the Boulder, CO office. She is living with her sister and her family, including 11 year old Noah and 9 year old Emily. Noah has Cerebral Palsy and is not able to walk, control his limbs, or talk. He and Emily have worked out a personal system for spelling words so that he can communicate. 

On Christmas Eve, a child traveling alone disappears at the Denver airport between flights. Liv is called in to help find the child. She is the handler for Beulah, a trained tracking dog. Beulah eventually tracks the child to the airport parking garage, where the sent ends.

While the FBI is painstakingly piecing together information about the child, Noah is at home trying to understand who the child is that is visiting his reclusive next door neighbor.

For the rest of the story, you will have to read the book.

Things I liked: As a former therapist, I loved Noah. He is bright and interesting, trapped in a limited functioning body. His inner ruminations make it clear how frustrated he feels by people who assume his mind is as crippled as his body. He is bullied by being called names, having his lunch stolen at school, and shunned by most of his class mates at school. But he perseveres.

I like Noah's sister, Emily, who loves her brother and understands him better than anyone else. I find the painstaking spelling system so difficult and time consuming, I can't imagine anyone actually using it, but I love the idea of the siblings working together to communicate.

The writing is suspenseful with some things predictable but many surprises as well. I was compelled to keep reading to find out what would happen next.

Things I wasn't so thrilled about: early on in the book, Noah ruminates about his lot in life too often and for too long. The repetition became boring, to me. There were times when Liv obsessed on things for too long, and both of these brought the story to stand-stills. Fortunately, this stopped once the action in the story got moving.

I also didn't like Liv waffling between the two men to whom she was attracted. Some of this is probably better understood by reading the early books in the series. But her remunating about them seemed very immature for her age; more like someone in high school.

I will definitely read the next book in the series and give this author and series another chance. With my reservations, I still very much enjoyed the overall mystery and am glad that I read it.