I am happy to participate in the blog tour for the book Tell No Lies by Allison Brennan
Tell No Lies: A Novel
On Sale Date: March 30, 2021
Hardcover, Crime thriller/police procedural
$27.99 USD (The audiobook is free)
Tell no lies – about the book
New York Times bestselling author Allison Brennan’s newest thriller again features an edgy young female LAPD detective and an ambitious special agent, both part of a mobile FBI unit that is brought in to investigate the unsolved murder of a college activist and its alleged ties to high stakes crime in the desert Southwest.
Something mysterious is killing the wildlife in the desert hills just south of Tucson, Arizona. When Emma Perez, a college-intern-turned activist, sets out to collect her own evidence, she too ends up dead. Local law enforcement seems slow to get involved. That’s when the mobile FBI unit goes undercover to infiltrate the town and the copper refinery located there in search of possible leads. Costa and Quinn find themselves scouring the desolate landscape that keeps on giving up clues to something much darker—greed, child trafficking, other killings. As the body count continues to add up, it’s clear they have stumbled on more than they bargained for. Now they must figure out who is at the heart of this mayhem and stop them before more innocent lives are lost.
Brennan’s latest novel brims with complex characters and an ever-twisting plotline, a compelling thriller that delivers.
Tell no Lies, My review
As a devotee of the Kincaid series of books by Allison Brennan, (I have almost all her books), I was thrilled to receive an advance review copy of her latest book, Tell No Lies from NetGalley via Justine Sha of MIRA Books.
Tell No Lies the second in the Costa and Quinn series. I have had the first, Third to Die for a while now and wish I had read it. But good news – this is a standalone novel and I’ll get to it soon enough.
Tell No Lies seemed to start a little slow but picked up quickly. Maybe it is just me, because I am used to the fast-paced action-packed nail-biting thrillers Brennan delights the crime/serial killer fan with.
The FBI’s mobile response team is in Patagonia, Arizona, led by Matt Costa, investigating the mysterious death of a environmental activist student Emma Perez and suspects that a local copper refinery, Southwest Copper might be linked to it. They are also looking into the illegal dumping of toxic waste material in the area.
The FBI undercover team with LAPD cop Kara Quinn working as a bartender, ex-Navy SEAL Michael Harris employed with Southwest Copper, Ryder posing as a grad student doing research and others are working hard to crack the case when another unexpected death takes place, leading to new possibilities.
Things get complicated when they discover the activities of a human trafficking ring and wonder if it could have any connection with their investigation. As they methodically follow leads, the suspense builds up with a kidnapping, human trafficking, drug trafficking and more deaths.
Kara gets close to informant Joe Molina, the refinery owner’s son to get inside information. Can he be trusted? Is he what he appears to be?
The book really picked up for me half-way through and I thought to myself, Yay! Brennan. And what do the two kids who escape from a human trafficker have to do with the case/story?
You’ll just need to read the book to find out.
I loved, as usual, Brennan’s characters. One can’t help but love Kara, the bold FBI undercover cop who is completely dedicated to what she does.
In the meantime, there’s Emma’s boyfriend and her teacher independently investigating Emma’s death. What will they find?
Brennan’s characters evolve beautifully, showing us their vulnerability and their strength, which basically means we end up taking sides! I really liked Matt Costa and Kara Quinn and their attraction to each other. I would definitely like to see where that goes with more books in the series.
Tell No Lies is intriguing from the beginning, even if it slows down a bit but with so much going on and so many characters involved, it makes sense. Criminal activity, brutal drug cartels, human traffickers, dedicated law enforcement, seemingly unrelated crimes that tie in gradually – everything was great! I love how the story progressed, never giving us an inkling as to who the bad guys might be. That’s a huge plus in a crime thriller. And yes, the last two hundred pages were just unputdownable.
Well done, again, Allison Brennan. Eagerly looking forward to more books in the Costa-Quinn series.
ALLISON BRENNAN is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of over thirty novels. She has been nominated for Best Paperback Original Thriller by International Thriller Writers and the Daphne du Maurier Award. A former consultant in the California State Legislature, Allison lives in Arizona with her husband, five kids and assorted pets.
Links to buy the book
Now, enjoy a book excerpt from Tell No Lies
They drove down the mountain, the road rough at first, then it smoothed out as they got near town. They headed west on 82, deciding to drive the scenic route back to Tucson. Emma marked her map to highlight where they’d already walked, when suddenly she looked up. “Hey, can you get off here?”
“Have to pee again?”
“Ha ha. No. There’s several old roads that go south. Sonoita Creek, when it floods, cuts fast-flowing streams into the valley. We had a couple late storms this winter. I just want to check the area quickly—we’ll come back next weekend. But if I see anything that tells me the streams were running a few weeks ago, I want to come back here first. Okay? Please?”
Billy was tired, but Emma loved him, so he happily turned off the highway and followed her directions. They drove about a mile along a very rough unpaved road until they reached a narrow path. His truck couldn’t go down there—there were small cacti sprouting up all over the place, and the chances of him getting a flat increased exponentially.
Emma got out, and Billy reluctantly followed. She was excited. “See that grove of trees down there?”
He did. It looked more like overgrown brush, but it was greener than anything else around them.
“I’ll bet there’s still water. This is on the outer circle of where the birds could have flown from. I just want to check.”
“The path looks kinda steep and rocky. You sure about this?”
She kissed him. “I’m sure. Stay here, okay? I won’t be long.”
“Ten minutes.” “Fifteen.” She kissed him again, put her backpack on and headed down the path.
He sat in the back of his truck and watched Emma navigate the downward slope. He doubted this “path” had been used anytime in the last few years. From his vantage point, he saw several darker areas, plants dense and green, and suspected that Emma was right—this valley would get water after big storms.
Emma was beautiful and smart. What wasn’t to love?
He watched until she disappeared from view into the brush.
He frowned. He should have gone with her. Was he just sulking because he was tired and hungry?
Predators were out here—coyotes, bobcats, javelinas. Javelinas could be downright mean even if you did nothing to provoke them. Not to mention that these mountains bordered the corridor for trafficking illegal immigrants. Billy had taken a criminal justice class his freshman year and they touched upon that topic. He didn’t want to encounter a two-legged predator any more than one on four legs.
What kind of man was he if he couldn’t suck it up and help the woman he loved?
So he grabbed his backpack and headed down the path Emma had taken. He was in pretty good shape, but this hike had wasted him. Emma must have been fitter than he was, because she’d barely slowed down all day. After this, they’d go to his place, shower—maybe he could convince Emma to take a shower with him—and then he’d take her out to dinner. After all, they had something to celebrate: the first time they said “I love you.” They’d go to El Charro, maybe. It was Billy’s favorite Mexican food in Tucson, not too expensive, great food. Take an Uber so they could have a couple of drinks.
He wished he were there right now. His stomach growled as he stumbled and then caught himself before he fell on his ass.
He was halfway down the hill when a scream pierced the mountainside. Billy ran the rest of the way down the narrow, rocky trail. “Emma!”
He yelled louder for her. “Emma! Emma!”
He slipped when the trail made a sudden drop as it went steeply down to a small pond—the seasonal one that Emma must have been looking for. The beauty of the spot with its trees and boulders all around was striking in the desert, and for a split second he thought it was a mirage. Then all he could think about was that Emma had been bitten by a rattlesnake, or had fallen into the water, or had slipped and broken her leg.
But she didn’t respond to his repeated calls.
He stood on the edge of the pond, frantically searching for her. Looking for wild animals, a bobcat that she may have surprised. A herd of javelinas that might have attacked her. Anything.
Movement to his right startled him, and he turned around quickly.
In the shade, he saw someone. He shouted, wondering if Emma was disorientated or had gone the wrong way. But whatever he thought he saw was now gone.
Then he saw her.
Emma’s body was half in, half out of the pond, a good hundred feet beyond him, obscured in part by an outcrop of large rocks on the water’s edge. He ran to her and dropped to his knees. His first thought was that she had slipped and hit her head. Some blood glistened on her scalp.
“Emma, where are you hurt? Emma?”
She didn’t respond. Then he saw the blood on a hand-sized rock on the edge of the pond. And he felt more blood on the back of her skull.
“No, no, no!”
He saw her chest rise and fall. She was alive, but unconscious. He pulled out his phone, but there was no signal. He had to get help, but he couldn’t leave her here.
Billy picked Emma up and, as quickly as he could, carried her up the steep hillside to his truck.
As he drove back to the main road, he called 911. An ambulance met him in the closest town, Patagonia.
But by then Emma was already dead.
Excerpted from Tell No Lies by Allison Brennan, Copyright © 2021 by Allison Brennan. Published by MIRA Books.