Brandilyn Collins is an author you can trust for a consistent, strong read, and she doesn't disappoint in this first release in the Kanner Lake series. Violet Dawn blends many difficult techniques and makes them look effortless. The book provides a large cast of characters--as if the town itself is a character--and yet makes us care about the individuals central to the action. Collins is also excellent at weaving in scenes of backstory between current action, deepening the mystery and making us hungry for more. Her point of view shifts are deliberately placed to tighten the screws and the resolution highly satisfying. If you've never read anything by Collins, you're missing a treat.
My introduction to Brandilyn was her Hidden Faces series, and I couldn't put them down! They were incredible, and I immediately put her name on my "must read" list. I wasn't quite as excited about the last book in the series, but I've never liked spiders so I figured that was most of it. I was eagerly looking forward to Violet Dawn. I have to say I was disappointed. Somehow, I just couldn't get into it like I had the earlier books. I couldn't connect with any of the characters like I did with Annie Kingston, and there were so many. That was probably part of the problem. Plus, it seemed like there were too many "in-references", such as the fantasy writer and her references to her own previous novel "Web of Lies" as a book in her own story. It cut down on my ability to take the story seriously. The whole book seemed less well developed than I'd come to expect from this writer. However, I'll still give the next books in the series a chance. Here's hoping for better things in the future.
Violet Dawn lived up to the expectations that Web of Lies planted. Collins work is billed as seatbelt suspense and not only is it a catchy tag-line its a true discription of her body of work. On her web page Collins explores why she choose to write Christian suspense, saying: The question iswhy do I choose to write suspense? Why not romance, or historicals, or contemporariessomething a little easier on the nerves? My mother wonders this too. She thinks Im getting more warped by the minute. Shes probably right. My stories do tend to beintense. But the truth is, I have an amazing, fun freedom in writing Christian suspense. I get to tell all sorts of scary storiesand inject the hope of God into them. Thats the best of both worlds, if you ask me. Truth is, we do live in an evil world. But the truth doesnt end there, thanks be to God. The truth ends with the fact that Gods power can help us live, even be victorious, amid this evil. Not to say bad things dont happen to good people. They doin real life, and in my books. It is to say that followers of Christ have been given the awesome authority to go before His throne and ask for help in times of troubleeven big, bad trouble. Especially big, bad trouble.blcBang on Brandilyn! She nailed it. And she nailed one of the reasons I love her work so much. We do live in an evil world but with Gods help we make it. And without sounding like a preacher she shows us how with every word she writes. And speaking of not sounding like a preacher, thats one of the things that really impresses me about the way Collins writes. Faith is interwoven throughout the book, subtle and honest, rather than presented in paragraphs of exhortation. Way to go woman!
Just when you think she can't get any better, Brandilyn Collins does. In Violet Dawn, first in the Kanner Lake Series, she ratchets up the spook factor and the suspense. The hot tub scene took my breath away. The very real, unique characters will find their way into your heart like old friends. Read this book! You won't be disappointed!
This is a hard review for me to write. I never thought I would be giving Brandilyn Collins anything less than a 5 rating. I've read her Hidden Faces series and I thought this series would be just as good. I thought this book was "too busy". There were a lot of characters to keep up with and I found myself working to remember who was who. I did like the "Rachel Chapters". It was nice getting to "glimpse" Paige's past. I'm not sure about continuing on with this series, but I will read "Coral Moon" to see if it was just me, the book, or if it will be the series. I do highly recommend Brandilyn's "Hidden Faces" series. I'm looking to read her "Eyes of Elisha and Dread Champion" series.