Compulsion by Allison Brennan is the second of the series. Its main character is investigative reporter Maxine (Max) Revere who believes the truth will always set someone free. With each book readers get to know more of the backstory on Max and her supporting cast.
Any mystery fan will enjoy Brennan’s mixing of Max’s prior cases and early life with the surrounding facts concerning the current case. Because of her connections and TV news show, “Maximum Exposure,” she is able to get an exclusive interview with an accused serial killer, Adam Bachman who has been charged with five murders. But Max’s focus is on two other victims, a middle-aged couple on their second honeymoon, who have just disappeared. With relentless perseverance Max finds what actually happened to this couple, which leads to her kidnapping. The rest of the plot is devoted to finding answers as well as finding Max.
The author commented, “I had Adam use the analogy of fish to let Max know he was guilty without admitting it. I used to go fishing with my grandpa and sometimes thought of this quote from the book, ‘You hook a fish. It’s not supposed to hurt them, but who knows because fish can’t talk… They still see the bait, they want the bait, in the back of their little pea brains they might even recognize there’s a danger, but they dismiss it. They get hooked every time.’”
Through her backstory, Max becomes a more sympathetic character as readers see and feel everything she is experiencing. The book explains how her past “ruled her. Drove her.” She was battered, imprisoned, scarred, and abandoned, which enlightens on how her personality was molded into being a demanding, sometimes arrogant, judgmental, yet passionate and intelligent person.
Brennan wanted to base a character on some of her own experiences of “being an independent woman who is viewed differently in the work force. When I worked in the Capitol I had to lay down the law to a staffer. He told me, ‘I guess I know who wears the pants in your family.’ Yet, I thought about it and knew if my husband had done and said what I did this staffer would have reacted differently. Max is how I used to be, tenacious and never shying away.”
Compulsion is a gripping, pulse-pounding thriller that readers will not want to put down. Brennan examines the investigative reporter process realistically with riveting characters that include Max Revere and her supporting cast.
The author gave a heads up about her next few books. The book featuring Max will focus on a dysfunctional family where one of the teenagers is murdered. The plot examines a “mean girl” who does not hesitate to use social media for her atrocious comments, which ruin reputations. Before that will be another two books featuring FBI agent Lucy Kincaid. The setting will be San Antonio, and the plot involves a corrupt Congresswoman who is laundering money for the drug cartels. The DEA agent Nicole who was introduced in Dead Heat will play a pivotal role in these sequel plots.