Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Review - Face Off by Brenda Novak

Face Off by Brenda Novak
Series: Evelyn Talbot Chronicles #3
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: August 28, 2018
Date Read: July 14, 2018
Length: 416 pages
Source: NetGalley
★★★★☆
From New York Times bestselling author Brenda Novak comes Face Off, the next installment of Dr. Evelyn Talbot and her murderous home for psychopaths.

SHE VOWED NEVER TO BE A VICTIM AGAIN. BUT NOW A KILLER HAS HER IN HIS SIGHT. . .

Tortured and left for dead at sixteen, Evelyn Talbot turned her personal nightmare into her life’s work—studying the disturbing psychopathy of some of the world’s most vicious serial killers. Now a leading psychiatrist at Hanover House in a small Alaskan town, she tries to believe the past will never come back to haunt her—until a woman goes missing from a cabin nearby, and every clue points to the man who once brutalized her…

As her boyfriend, who is the area’s only police, begins to investigate—and finds not one but two bodies—Evelyn can’t forget that her would-be killer, Jasper Moore, was never caught. But there are no new faces in tiny Hilltop, no one who seems suspicious or potentially violent. In this twisted game of cat and mouse, Evelyn is certain of only one thing—Jasper must be hiding in plain sight. And if she can’t find him before he comes for her, she won’t be lucky enough to survive twice…
My Review

I enjoyed this book.  I don't think that poor Evelyn is ever going to catch a break.  This is the third book in the Evelyn Talbot Chronicles which is a series that is best read in order since much of this book builds on the events in previous installments.  I was eager to see how things were going for Evelyn and Amarok when I picked up this book and I found that I was quickly pulled into the story.  I found this newest installment in the series to be quite entertaining.

In a lot of ways, this book felt like a continuation of the story that started in the previous installment, Hello Again.  Evelyn is still very focused on her work with psychopaths at Hanover House.  Her relationship with Amarok is in a very similar place since Evelyn can't seem to offer Amarok the commitment he wants.  The threat of the man who nearly killed Evelyn all those years ago is having a big impact on the daily lives of both Evelyn and Amarok.

This book really focused on Jasper and it was nice to finally let that story play out.  The reader knows who Jasper is posing as in the book and we get to see things from his point of view quite often.  It was really interesting to see things from all the key players perspectives as the story played out.  It was interesting watching Amarok and Evelyn figure things out and get themselves out of a few dangerous situations.

There were a few other things going on in this book that also worked to keep things interesting.  There is a missing woman from an area cabin that Amarok has to deal with.  He also has an old girlfriend that is back in town and determined to rekindle their relationship.  To top things off, Evelyn's sister comes to Alaska for a visit and causes some stress of her own and causes Evelyn to make some pretty big decisions. 

I did find parts of this story to be a bit unbelievable.  I had no problem just accepting the story as told but I did find a few things rather far fetched.  I also thought that some of the relationship issues between Amarok and Evelyn felt a bit manufactured and added unnecessary drama to the story.  These issues didn't stop me from enjoying the book even though I did take notice. 

I would recommend this series to others.  I thought that this was a nice way to wrap up the Jasper story arc and I actually felt that it wrapped up the series quite nicely.  I was surprised to find an excerpt for a fourth book in this series and I have to admit that I am very curious about how this series will go moving forward.  I wouldn't hesitate to read more from Brenda Novak in the future.

I received a digital review copy of this book from St. Martin's Press via NetGalley.
The Series
Book #0.5 - Hanover House - My Review
Book #1 - Her Darkest Nightmare - My Review
Book #2 - Hello Again - My Review
Book #3 - Face Off 
About the Author

BRENDA NOVAK and her husband, Ted, live in Sacramento and are the proud parents of five children-three girls and two boys. When she's not spending time with her family or writing, Brenda is usually working on her annual fund-raiser for diabetes research. Brenda's novels have made The New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists and won many awards, including three Rita nominations, the Book Buyer's Best, the Book Seller's Best and the National Reader's Choice Award.

Author Link:  Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

32 comments:

  1. a trilogy? How scary is it to have to live with the bad past? I haven't read Brenda Novak maybe soon

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    1. It looks like the series will continue beyond this book but there is a main story arc that wraps us in this book.

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  2. Sounds like an interesting plot for the trilogy. The covers are interesting too!

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    1. I did forget to mention that the Alaskan setting was a big plus as well.

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  3. I really need to try Brenda Novak. She's been on my radar for a few years, but I haven't given her a try yet. Great review.

    Melanie @ Hot Listens & Books of My Heart

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    1. I have only read a couple of her books but have had luck with them.

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  4. It's an author I really want to try

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  5. It's been a while since I've read her books. This sounds good.

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  6. Replies
    1. You should give her work a try. She has a ton of books to choose from.

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  7. Glad it had a lot of good stuff going on even if the heroine is being wishy washy with the romance element. I got Hanover House as a freebie and seen you and Melanie writing fab reviews on the series. One day...

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    1. I actually listened to the first two books and really enjoyed the narrator so that is a good option for this series as well.

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  8. I have to read this series just because the author is from Sacramento! That's where I spent a good portion of my growing up years. The book and series sound good too though. :-)

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    1. I love to read local authors as well. This has been a pretty exciting series so far!

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  9. Oh I have read some of this series and missed this one. Great review.

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  10. You are so good keeping up with these series books. I am terrible about it :(

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    1. I was really late on my review of the second book in the series so I have actually read the whole series in just the past few months. It is easier to keep up that way :)

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  11. It's great that you're supporting your local authors :-)
    I wonder if there's a demand for authors doing 'house readings' like musicians do house concerts?

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    1. Brenda Novak isn't local for me but I do love to support local authors. I think it is great that Literary Feline grew up in the same town that this author is from and hopes to read the series because of that.

      I do go to some author events and at times they have read from their books. It is a great experience.

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  12. I know I have at least the first of this series on my Kindle but I haven't read it of course. I've had mixed feelings about her romance novels but this one sounds like it has all the readability that I liked in those without the negativity.

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    1. I have only read one of her romances but I did really enjoy the one that I read. I hope that this series works for you Katherine!

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  13. I didn't realize Novak wrote books like this. I was more familiar with her contemporary romances. I am glad you enjoyed the series, and were happy with the ending.

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    1. I think she writes more romance than anything else. This series does have some romance worked into the story but it is really a thriller more than anything.

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  14. I really enjoy Brenda Novak. I have this one on audio to review soon. So I didn't read beyond you enjoyed it. I've enjoyed the series so far, but no Evelyn never gets a break! I've read more of her contemporary romance, but I think I read one other romantic suspense a long time ago, Bulletproof. Anne - Books of My Heart

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    1. It would be nice to see Evelyn get a break. I am not sure how I feel about the series continuing after this one. I hope you enjoy it, Anne!

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  15. Definitely sounds like these need to be read in order as this one was a continuation of the first one. I like that it was able to hook you in so quickly! A bit of a downer about some of the unbelievable elements but those aside it sounds like a good read ^.^

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    1. This is a series that really needs to be read in order. I didn't even mind that it was unbelievable at times since it was still entertaining.

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  16. I've been really enjoying this series also. I do find some of Evelyn's attitudes unrealistic, particularly about her own safety and Amorak. I also was surprised it is continuing but that is interesting. I hope for a new story arc and not a focus on Jasper. I wasn't too happy with the sister in many ways. She was understandable emotionally but not too bright. Anne - Books of My Heart

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    1. I think that this series does need to move on from Jasper. The sister had more than a few issues.

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