Previously, I was delighted to welcome Alison Brodie to Linda’s Book Bag to tell me all about the nightmare of second book syndrome, in a post that was enjoyed by so many blog readers. You can read that post here. I so enjoyed Alison’s lively writing style that I had to read her latest novel Brake Failure. Brake Failure is published today 9th January 2017 and is available for purchase in e-book here.
“Is it too late to tell him you love him when you’re looking down the barrel of his gun?”
Ruby Mortimer-Smyth is an English debutante, destined for Lady’s Day at Ascot and taking tea at The Savoy. She knows the etiquette for every occasion and her soufflés NEVER collapse.
She is in control of her life, tightly in control … until fate dumps her down in Kansas.
Ruby believes that life is like a car; common-sense keeps it on the road, passion sends it into a ditch. What she doesn’t know is, she’s on a collision course with Sheriff Hank Gephart.
Sheriff Hank Gephart can judge a person. Miss Mortimer-Smyth might act like the Duchess of England but just under the surface there’s something bubbling, ready to explode. She’s reckless, and she’s heading for brake failure. And he’s not thinking about her car…
My Review of Brake Failure
Ruby is in constant competition with her step-sister Claire to behave like a lady. However, after Ruby’s wedding to the tedious Edward, a sibling rivalry will be the last of her worries.
I really enjoyed Brake Failure. It’s hugely entertaining. There’s a quirkiness to the writing that provides pace, humour and wit as well as underlying tensions and sensuality.
Initially it took me a while to get into the structure as it tracks back and forth from New Year’s Eve 1999 to five months before, when the events actually began, but once I got into the rhythm of the book, as the past and present converge, I thought it was incredibly well plotted. I did think the end was a little too readily resolved but made perfect sense. I could so easily imagine Brake Failure as a successful television series.
There’s great humour that emerges through the excellent, amusing and natural dialogue and I loved the depiction of small town America with its offbeat characters. Even Rowdy the dog is totally believable and appealing and I really wouldn’t mind meeting Hank in a darkened room. I thought Alison Brodie handled the way in which Ruby’s personality developed, and the background to who she is, so skilfully. I have to admit I was very disappointed when Brake Failure ended. I want to know more about Ruby.
Underpinning the events is an entertaining sexual attraction between Ruby and Hank, but more importantly, there are some weighty themes explored too. Alison Brodie fully understands how our past influences our present and future and there are several characters really struggling with their sense of identity that I found very satisfying to read about. The title is an inspired choice as there is a metaphorical (and literal) brake failure for Ruby as she spirals into another personality, as well as for several other characters, but it’s tricky to say more without revealing the plot. Family relationships are central to why events happen as they do, but Alison Brodie is so clever in keeping secrets from the reader as well as the characters, that I felt as if I was discovering information in tune with them. This is such fun, and sensitive, writing.
If you’re looking for a book that is slightly off-beat, funny and completely absorbing with themes to make you think, then Brake Failure is for you. I thought it was great.
About Alison Brodie
Alison Brodie is a Scot, with French Huguenot ancestors on her mother’s side. Alison was a photographic model for a wide range of products, such as Ducatti motorbikes and 7Up. She was also the vampire in the Schweppes commercial.
Alison lived in Kansas for two years. She loved the people, their friendliness, the history and the BBQs! Now, she lives in Biarritz, France with her rescue mutt, Bayley.
You can see what early readers think of Brake Failure on Goodreads.
All of Alison’s books are available here.