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Poisonous    by Allison Brennan order for
by Allison Brennan
Order:  USA  Can
Minotaur, 2016 (2016)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Poisonous follows Notorious and Compulsion as the third in Allison Brennan's edgy thriller series starring no-holds-barred investigative journalist Max Revere. I'm not sure I'd like her in my inner circle, but readers are bound to admire her spunk and determination. As always, ex-Army Ranger David Kane - her personal assistant, bodyguard and friend - tries to keep her safe.

As the story opens, Max is somewhat at odds with her current lover, Nick, a California cop (they have a long distance relationship). Nick's ex-wife is fighting for sole custody of their son and Max, who considers her manipulative and vindictive, disapproves of how he deals with the situation, just as she disagrees with how gay David deals with the mother of his teen daughter Emma. She hates the games being played, with kids involved.

This puzzler opens for Max with a letter from Californian Tommy Wallace. His stepsister, Ivy Lake, was murdered the previous summer, the culprit has not been found, and Tommy is one of the suspects. Because of this, his stepmother will not let him visit his sister Bella and brother Austin, though the latter sees Tommy on the sly. Complicating matters, Tommy is mentally handicapped (but 'slow, not stupid') and Ivy was an active cyberbully, to the extent that one of her victims killed herself.

Max interviews Ivy's peers, including the four she seemed obsessed with in the year before her death. She had a long list of enemies. But Max believes that 'Ivy deserves justice. Tommy deserves to get his family back. And a killer needs to be punished.' She perseveres and there's another death, with more on the killer's list. By the end, the truth is revealed but Max sees herself as a 'one-woman wrecking ball.'

I enjoy this unusual and thought provoking series and always look forward to more.

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