There’s Something Amiss in Allison Brennan’s ‘Compulsion’ [REVIEW]

News cameras

A missing retired couple. A suspected killer on trial. Investigative journalist Maxine Revere knows there’s a connection in Allison Brennan’s Compulsion. (Photo by Gage Skidmore, Flickr)

One man is on trial for five New York City murders, but a determined investigative reporter believes his crimes don’t end there. When a retired couple goes missing, the details of the case seem eerily similar. But can the reporter connect the defendant to the case? Find out in Allison Brennan’s Compulsion. 

Allison Brennan's COMPULSION

Minotaur Books

As Maxine Revere pursues the new missing person’s case, she starts to wonder if Adam Bachman was working alone. When she is granted a pre-trial interview with the killer, she realizes he is toying with her and is playing a dark, deadly game that will ultimately lead her to an evil sociopath who is simply waiting to make his next move.

After reading Notorious, the first novel in the Max Revere series, I was sadly disappointed in Compulsion. Typically, Brennan is very good about giving readers background information about her characters, but something was amiss in this novel. It lacks the steady pacing that builds suspense, and I found that I simply wasn’t invested in this book until more than halfway into reading it.

Once the reader reaches this point, however, the plot sends readers over the edge, barreling down the pike like a runaway roller coaster, filled with so many twists and turns readers must simply hold on tight to keep up. We are left wondering if the killer is a lone wolf or if he truly is working in tandem with someone else.

The novel’s heroine, Max, an investigative reporter and host of Maximum Exposure, is constantly irritating the police, not to mention her colleagues, including her right hand man, David. Although she is tenacious and driven in her pursuit of the truth, she also tends to fray readers nerves because it seems like she will never fully learn that you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. If her personality was toned down just a little, I think we’d find her more engaging and the series would be easier to follow as well.

If you like strong female characters and demented serial killers, Compulsion may be right up your alley. Just be warned, this isn’t Brennan’s best. But if you already read Notorious, as I did, pick up this second novel in the series to read Max’s further adventures.

Allison Brennan

Allison Brennan
(Photo by Brittan Dodd)


Allison Brennan is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than two dozen thrillers and numerous short stories. She has been called a “master of suspense” and her novels have been praised as “mesmerizing” and “complex” (RT Book Reviews).

Her novel Fear No Evil won Romance Writers of America’s Daphne du Maurier Award. Her work has also been nominated for multiple awards, including the Thriller and RWA’s Best Romantic Suspense Award.

She currently writes two series—the Lucy Kincaid/Sean Rogan thrillers and the Maxine Revere cold case mysteries.

A former consultant in the California State Legislature, Brennan has five children and writes three books per year.

By Allison Brennan
384 pgs. Minotaur Books. $25.99

About Heather Fink
Heather Fink is a writer, bibliophile and award-winning librarian who loves to introduce the next generation of readers to the wonderful world of books. She currently resides in Texas.

One Response to There’s Something Amiss in Allison Brennan’s ‘Compulsion’ [REVIEW]

  1. Jathan Fink says:

    Reblogged this on Jadeworks Entertainment and commented:

    Sometimes, a writer’s new work just doesn’t measure up to her own previous success. Unfortunately, that’s the case in Allison Brennan’s Compulsion. Find out why our reviewer wasn’t very enamored with this latest read from the author of Notorious.

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