Review: Brake Failure by Alison Brodie




What it’s about:

BRAKE FAILURE is a contemporary romance, with humour, suspense and a kick-ass heroine. The story is set in one of the most fascinating episodes in America’s history: the months leading up to Y2K “melt-down”.

“Is it too late to tell him you love him when you’re looking down the barrel of his gun?”

Ruby Mortimer-Smyth is upper-class English, rigidly brought up to marry a man from the pages of Burke’s Peerage. She knows the etiquette for every occasion and her soufflés NEVER collapse.

She is in control of her life, tightly in control. Until …she ends up in Kansas.

Ruby believes that life is like a car; common-sense keeps it on the road, passion sends it into a ditch. What she doesn’t know is, she’s on a collision course with Sheriff Hank Gephart. 

Sheriff Hank Gephart can judge a person. Miss Mortimer-Smyth might act like the Duchess of England, but just under the surface there’s something bubbling, ready to erupt. She’s reckless, and she’s heading for brake failure. And he’s not thinking about her car.

With the Millennium approaching, Ruby gets caught up in the Y2K hysteria. She joins a Survivalists group, who give her a gun and advise her to stockpile basic essentials. Accordingly, she bulk-buys Perrier, Gentleman’s Relish and macaroons.

Ruby, far from home, is making Unsuitable Friends and “finding herself” for the first time. She falls in with a gang of Hells Angels and falls foul of the law. At every turn, she comes up hard against Sheriff Hank Gephart, whose blue eyes seem to look deep into her soul. She desperately wants him, but knows she can never have him.

She’s angry at the emotions he arouses in her. Pushed to her limit, she bursts from her emotional straightjacket.

As the clock strikes midnight of the new Millennium, she’s on a freight train with three million dollars, a bottle of Wild Turkey and a smoking gun.

What happened to Miss Prim-and-Proper? And why did she shoot Mr Right?

Note: Alison Brodie wrote this story from first-hand experience. She lived in Kansas during this time and was stunned by the hysteria, unnerved that the US government was spending $150 billion preparing for Armageddon. As Lionel Shriver says in her novel, We Have To Talk About Kevin: “1999, a year widely mooted beforehand as the end of the world.”

Releases January 9, 2017

Add to your TBR list:  Goodreads



Guest Review from Frannie:

A delightful book about an uptight, emotionally suppressed English woman named Ruby Mortimer-Smyth who is at the time of her life when she should marry.  She does marry a very dear friend out of convenience and duty.   She is an outcast in England, but when she moves to Kansas in the US, her entire world turns around and she finds rebellion, acceptance, friendships and love.

The characters are engaging, complicated and quirky.   The story takes many twists that pit unlikely characters together as accomplices.  Their adventures are described in amusing detail.  The sarcasm will make you laugh out loud.   The way the author describes the differences between the British and the Mid Western American culture is refreshing.

The plot is not predicable, the characters are three dimensional, and the writing is clever and witty.   Although the grammar is sometimes a bit off, the author’s writing has a rapid tempo and a fun story line.  The main character is believable and you learn to love and relate to all her craziness.   Brake Failure is a great book to read on a sunny Sunday afternoon.


About the Author:  Alison Brodie started her career as a model and upon one of her shoots in Scotland, she came up with a story line for her first book.  Brake Failure is the 3rd book she has written; her previous novels include The Double and Wild Life.


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