Sunday, February 17, 2019

Book review: Brilliant Prey - Brenda Wallace

Book review of Brenda Wallace's tense thriller, Brilliant Prey


Even a genius can be played for a pawn by a cunning and deadly manipulator.

Lauren James is a former psychiatrist, still reeling from her husband’s suicide and the subsequent miscarriage that swept away her tidy life the year before. On the anniversary of his death, she opens what she hopes to be a "Welcome to Mensa" envelope and pulls out a threatening puzzle along with the identical suicide note she had burned the previous year. Unraveling the twisted clues, Lauren embarks on a harrowing journey drawn in by a child’s neglected grave, a professor from the island of St. Croix, and a U.S. Supreme Court nominee. When Lauren discovers the reason behind her husband’s shocking death, she must struggle with her deepest convictions and whether killing is acceptable if it saves more lives.


Brilliant Prey is an excellent read full of puzzles, twists and turns.

The main character, Lauren, is picking up the pieces of her life following her husband's suicide a year before and a tragic miscarriage that followed soon after. Having applied to Mensa, more to distract her than anything else, she finds herself faced with macabre puzzles that are of a much more disturbing tone than befits the organisation. Could it be that someone is trying to reach her for more sinister reasons?

This intriguing mystery/thriller follows Lauren as she attempts to put the pieces of the puzzle together, whilst trying to cope her with own emotions as she faces up to her own tragedies.

Wallace has received criticism for some complex aspects of the novel and the introduction of too many characters. On the contrary, I feel these things only add to the story. Brilliant Prey is like a stubborn ball of knots that must be worked at bit by bit. Just as you think you have begun to reach the centre, you stumble across a whole new set of problems. That's the nature of Brilliant Prey: a difficult novel, with some complex characters and absolutely satisfying to work through.

Did I solve the puzzles? I'm afraid that's between me and my copy of Brilliant Prey.

About the Writer

Donna Brown is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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