New York Times bestselling author Allison Brennan introduces an irrepressible heroine in her pulse-pounding new thriller Notorious, which Lisa Gardner says is, "Guaranteed to keep you up late at night."
Maxine Revere has dedicated her life to investigating murders that the police have long since given up any hope of solving. A nationally renowned investigative reporter with her own TV show and a tough-as-nails reputation, Max tackles cold cases from across the country and every walk of life. But the one unsolved murder that still haunts her is a case from her own past.
When Max was a high school senior, one of her best friends was strangled and another, Kevin O'Neal, accused of the crime. To the disgrace of her wealthy family, Max stood by her friend, until she found out he lied about his alibi. Though his guilt was never proven, their relationship crumbled from the strain of too many secrets.
Now Max is home for Kevin's funeral—after years of drug abuse, he committed suicide. She's finally prepared to come to terms with the loss of his friendship, but she's not prepared for Kevin's sister to stubbornly insist that he didn't kill himself. Or for an elderly couple to accost her at the airport, begging her to look into another murder at Max's old high school. Max is more interested in the cold case at her alma mater than in digging around Kevin's troubled life, but she agrees to do both. As Max uncovers dark secrets, she finds herself caught in a complicated web of lies that hit far too close to home. And it's becoming increasingly clear that someone will do whatever it takes to make sure the truth stays buried.
About the Author
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author ALLISON BRENNAN is the author of more than twenty novels, including the Lucy Kincaid series (Silenced, Stalked, The Lost Girls) and many short stories. A former consultant in the California State Legislature, she lives in Northern California with her husband Dan and their five children.
Read an Excerpt
Going home was a bitch.
Maxine Revere had flirted with the idea of flying in solely for Kevin’s funeral so her perfect and dysfunctional family wouldn’t hear about her visit until she was already on a plane back to New York City. Three things stopped her.
Foremost, Max did not run away from uncomfortable situations. She recognized that she wasn’t the same nineteen-year-old who’d defied her family.
She’d also get a kick from walking into the family mansion unannounced and watching a reboot of Dallas, set in California. The Sterling-Revere family could take on the Ewings and win without breaking a nail or going to jail. Being the blackest sheep in the herd was more fun than taking two cross-country flights in one day.
But the primary reason she was staying for the weekend was for Kevin’s sister, Jodi O’Neal. Kevin had been Max’s former best friend and confidante. He’d killed himself and Jodi had questions. She had no answers for the college coed, but she understood why Jodi sought truth where there had only been lies. Max had survived grief, she’d been a close acquaintance to death, and maybe she could give Jodi a modicum of peace.
Traveling first class had advantages, including prompt disembarking. Max strode off the plane at San Francisco International Airport, her long legs putting distance between her and the other passengers. Her two-inch heels made her an even six feet, but her confident stride and stunning looks caused heads to turn. She ignored the attention. Her cell phone vibrated and she ignored that, too.
Her full-time assistant and as-needed bodyguard, former Army Ranger David Kane, easily kept up with her. He turned heads as well, mostly from fear. When he wasn’t smiling, he looked like he’d kill you with no remorse or pleasure. He didn’t smile often. But as Max had learned, looks were a form of lying. David’s steel core protected him as much as her pursuit of truth protected Max.
“I don’t need you,” she told him. “We settled this yesterday, or were you placating me?”
“All I suggested was that I drive you to Atherton before I head to Marin.”
“It’s foolish for you to drive an hour out of your way. I’m not incapable of driving myself.” She ignored David’s subtle smirk. “And I need a car. This isn’t New York where I can walk everywhere or grab a taxi. Go. Emma is waiting.”
“If you’re sure.”
She glared at him. “She’s your daughter.”
“She comes with her mother.”
“I’m not the one who screwed Brittney in a failed attempt to prove I wasn’t gay,” Max said, “and I will not let you use me as an excuse to avoid the selfish bitch.” Tough love. David adored his twelve-year-old daughter, but her mother made their relationship difficult. Brittney wouldn’t let David spend a minute more with Emma than the court mandated, and the flight delay had already cost him two hours.
They wove through the crowd at baggage claim without slowing down, and stopped at the carousel where their luggage would be delivered.
“Emma wants to see you,” David said.
“The funeral is tomorrow. You’ll be on a plane to Hawaii Sunday morning. Enjoy your vacation—when you get back, if I’m still here, we can meet up in the city for lunch and I’ll take Emma shopping.”
David grunted. “She doesn’t need more clothes.”
“A girl can never have too many shoes.” Max doubted she’d have kids of her own, and she enjoyed playing aunt to David’s daughter when Emma visited him in New York.
Max parked herself near the carousel opening because she didn’t want to be here any longer than she had to. Airports were part of her life, but she grew tired of the waiting part. Before leaving Miami, she’d shipped one of her suitcases back home to New York; the second, smaller bag of essentials she’d brought with her to California. She didn’t plan to stay in town long.
“Ms. Revere?” an elderly voice behind her asked.
Max turned and looked down at an older couple. The man, at least eighty and maybe five foot four in lifts, stood with his wife, who barely topped five feet. They both had white hair and blue eyes and would have looked like cherubs if their faces weren’t so deeply wrinkled.
Max smiled politely. “Yes, I’m Maxine Revere.” She expected them to ask for autographs or question what investigation brought her to California. The true crime show she hosted every month on cable television had been moving up in the ratings. When she only wrote newspaper articles and books, few people outside of the business knew what she looked like. Now that she was on camera, people approached her regularly.
There were pros and cons to being recognized. She was on a tight time schedule today, but the couple looked sweet.
“I told you, Henry,” the woman said to her husband. “I’m Penny Hoffman.” Mrs. Hoffman extended her hand nervously. It was cold, dry, and fragile, like the woman in front of her. “This is my husband, Henry. I knew it was you.” She gripped her purse tightly with both hands, the straps worn and frayed. “Do you believe in divine providence?”
Touchy subject. Max answered, “Sometimes.”
David was standing to the side, watching the situation. He was always on alert, even when it was wholly unnecessary. Ever since the incident in Chicago last year when Max had been attacked in a parking garage by someone who hadn’t wanted to hear the truth on her show, David was suspicious of everyone.
Even little old ladies.
“We just flew in from Phoenix,” Henry said.
“For our granddaughter’s wedding,” Penny added. “Last year, we were here for a funeral.”
“My condolences,” Max said.
Penny blinked back a sheen of tears and smiled awkwardly. “Our other grandchild. Jessica’s brother, Jason.”
“Penny,” Henry said, taking his wife’s hand, “Ms. Revere doesn’t want to hear about this now.”
Penny continued. “The police say they have no leads.”
The way she said “no leads” had Max’s instincts twitching. The police may have no leads they shared with the family, but there was always a lead—and it was obvious by her tone that Penny had her own theories.
In Max’s experience, murder was almost always personal. There were stranger murders and serial killers, but they were few and far between. Most victims were killed by those they trusted most. A friend. A spouse. A parent. A child.
David cleared his throat. He grabbed Max’s red case from the conveyor belt. He’d already retrieved his smaller khaki bag. He wouldn’t have checked it at all, except he’d packed a gun.
“They need to go,” Henry told Penny. “It was very nice to meet you, Ms. Revere. Very nice. You’re even prettier in person.”
“Thank you,” Max said. “If you’d like to write me a letter about your grandson’s case, here’s my office address and e-mail.” She pulled a card from her pocket.
She received hundreds of letters and e-mails a week from families wanting her to do any number of things, from proving a loved one innocent to a killer guilty. Most dealt with cold cases and contained few leads. She didn’t have time to investigate all the unsolved murders she heard about, and she couldn’t always solve the ones she investigated.
But she always gave the families whatever truth she found. For better or worse.
She took a pen out of her pocket and wrote on the back. “Here’s my personal e-mail.”
Henry took the card but Penny looked upset. “I have written. Twice.”
By the sound of her voice, she hadn’t received a response. A sliver of anger ran up Max’s spine. Her newest assistant was going to have some explaining to do if she wanted to keep her job. All e-mails and letters must be responded to within a week. Max had drafted four form letters that fit most situations, and what didn’t fit she was supposed to review.
Henry said, “We thought you might be interested in the case since Jason was killed at Atherton Prep.”
Max was speechless—a rarity. She’d graduated from Atherton College Prep thirteen years ago, but no one told her about this murder. The second in the history of the campus.
“When?” she managed to ask.
“The Saturday after Thanksgiving.”
Nearly five months ago.
“I’ll be in town all weekend,” Max said. “I’d like to hear your story. I can’t promise I’ll investigate, but I will listen.”
They both smiled and tears moistened Penny’s eyes. Max didn’t want to see tears. Especially genuine tears, like Penny’s. “Thank you. We’ll be here for two weeks. You don’t know what this means to us.”
Max had Kevin’s funeral tomorrow, she was meeting with Jodi in an hour—she was going to be late—and then there was her own family she had to deal with. That she could put off.
“Where are you staying?”
“The Embassy Suites in Redwood Shores,” Henry said. “Our son said we could stay with them, but they have so many last-minute things to do for the wedding, we didn’t want to be a bother.”
Max smiled. “I’m sure you wouldn’t have been any trouble. I can meet you at your hotel tomorrow morning. Is eight too early?”
Penny said, “We always rise at dawn.”
David was giving Max his version of the evil eye. For him, it was a sterner frown than he normally wore.
Max attached her laptop case to the top of her suitcase and said good-bye to the Hoffmans. She and David stepped out of the terminal and into the spring morning, a cold wind rolling off the Bay that made her shiver. It had been seventy degrees and clear when she left Miami Airport at 6:00 A.M.
They walked down the wide sidewalk toward the rental car shuttle stop.
“Why?” David said.
She didn’t answer his question. “Call Ginger. Tell her to find the letters the Hoffmans mentioned and get them to me, verbatim, before she leaves the office today. I want to know why I didn’t see them in the first place.”
“Maybe she thought you had enough on your plate. Or maybe she didn’t see them at all. They could have come in when Ashley was still in the office. Or Josh.”
Max didn’t want to think about Ashley. What a train wreck. And Josh? Every time she thought about him, she wished she could fire him all over again.
Max didn’t have a great track record with office managers. David had been with her for eighteen months—in that time, she’d gone through six office managers. So far, Ginger had been with her for three months. Two more weeks and she’d win the prize for longest assistant.
They stopped under the shuttle sign. David handed Max his cell phone. “It’s Marco.”
“He’s calling you, not me.”
“Because you haven’t been answering your phone. This is the third time he’s called me.”
Max didn’t take the phone, so David answered. Max tried to ignore the conversation as she looked for any sign that the shuttle was near. It was nowhere in sight.
“She’s right here,” David said. “No, she didn’t lose her phone.”
Max swore under her breath and took David’s phone from his hand. “I didn’t answer my phone because I didn’t want to talk to you.”
“You have to talk to me sometime, sweetheart.” FBI Special Agent Marco Lopez spoke low and clear, working double-time to control his Cuban temper.
“You intentionally left before I saw the news.”
“I told you yesterday I had a funeral in California.”
“You didn’t tell me that you filed your article, and you had plenty of time to record a three-minute spot for the local news. You exposed my informant and jeopardized my case!” His voice rose in volume as he spoke.
Max had a lot of experience remaining calm while talking to Marco. “Your informant put one of his hookers in the hospital for a week and thwarted the investigation into Candace Arunda’s murder.”
“He was my only link to the Garbena cartel!” Though Marco was born and raised in Miami, his parents had both come from Cuba, and when he got angry and spoke fast, he adopted a hybrid Americanized Cuban accent.
“I’m not rehashing this with you,” she said. “I told you why I was in Miami when you asked last week.”
“You should have warned me.”
“Last time I gave you an early copy of an article, your boss attempted to have it scuttled.”
“That was nine years ago!”
“Fool me once,” she said.
“Dammit, Max! You avoided me because you know you overstepped this time.” She pictured Marco pacing his office, his free hand opening and closing.
“Overstepped?” Max took a deep breath. Marco, more than anyone, could raise her blood pressure. “Is that what you call exposing the truth about the brutal murder of an underage prostitute? Is an ‘in’ with the cartel more important than justice for a seventeen-year-old girl?”
“Don’t twist what I said! You know I care. You should have given me twenty-four hours to clean up this mess. Ramirez would have been in prison either way.”
“Your team screwed up, another girl was in jeopardy, and I’m supposed to give you time to fix it because we’re having sex? Garbena is costing you your soul, Marco.”
David cleared his throat. Maxine didn’t care about attracting an audience as much as her assistant, but she stepped farther away from the other travelers waiting for the shuttle.
“You’re the most frustrating woman I’ve ever known!”
“I’ve never lied to you, Marco. I wish you could say the same to me.” She hung up and returned David’s phone.
Her stomach was twisted in knots. She wished she could have left things differently with Marco.
“You should have told him before you left,” David said.
“He knew why I was in Miami, and he lied to me.”
“He couldn’t tell you—”
Max rarely interrupted, but she didn’t let David finish. “He lied. He didn’t say, ‘Max, I can’t talk to you about this case,’ which he’s done in the past and I accept. This time, he deliberately gave me false information to protect his criminal informant, and then he expected me to put it in print. You know as well as I do that Marco and his team want the big fish, and if innocent guppies get eaten in the process, it’s collateral damage.”
“You still should have told him. He shouldn’t have read it in the morning paper.” He glanced at her, understanding narrowing his eyes. “You intentionally sabotaged your relationship. Why?”
She didn’t answer right away because the shuttle pulled up. There were five of them, and Max sat in the back row of the twelve-passenger van. David sat next to her. Maybe because of David’s appearance, or her previous phone conversation, the other passengers crammed into the front.
David was perceptive. She may not have consciously wanted to end her mostly off relationship with Special Agent Marco Lopez, but it was primarily physical. They had a long history. But she couldn’t allow her libido to control her career. She never had in the past, and just because she had feelings for Marco didn’t mean she’d allow it to happen now.
“In the nine years I’ve known Marco I’ve never lied to him,” Max said after the van started moving. “I’ve never told him I was someone I’m not. He thinks he can change me, and every time I see him we screw like rabbits and he tries to get me to bury my story. When I don’t, he accuses me of not caring who I hurt. I’m tired of explaining myself to him, and I’m not going to change just to please him.”
“I give you six months.”
“To find a story to cover in Miami so you have an excuse to go back.”
Max laughed, a deep throaty genuine laugh. “That’s why I love you, David. You remind me that I am flawed.”
He smiled, which made the two-inch jagged scar across his left temple almost charming. “It’s the least I can do.”
The shuttle van pulled up in front of the rental car kiosks. David had previously taken care of the arrangements and handed her the paperwork. While the other passengers disembarked, Max said, “Marco needs to find a sweet Cuban girl who likes his macho bullshit and does what he says when he says it. I’m done.”
She thought saying it out loud would make her feel better, but all it did was remind her how rigid she could be. No matter how much she cared about someone, she couldn’t—she wouldn’t—compromise her core values for them. She had no doubt Marco felt the same way, which left them at an impasse.
A dark sense of melancholy overcame her. It was, truly, over.
Copyright © 2014 by Allison Brennan
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Max is relentless and determined and she doesn’t always follow the rules. Her career as an investigative journalist gives her considerable latitude when it comes to investigating. She is able to use methods and procedures not necessarily available to law enforcement. She makes friends in law enforcement, to aid her investigations. Though she is somewhat of a loner, she finds that you cannot always shake family. Her birth family plays an integral role in the narrative as she tries to sort out the reality of the present and solve the mystery of the past. Brennan uses a deft hand to weave the past and present together as the story moves forward. She easily proves the old adage that the past and present and intrinsically tied together. The ultimate murderer proved a surprise when the culprit was finally revealed. Though the mystery is the heart of the story, Max is a driving force and her character shapes much of the action.
Maxine “Max” Revere might have what one could call a strong personality. She knows what she wants, and she’s not afraid to go after it, diving right into the swimming pool. Whether it’s men, or a friend, or a story, or a dead body, she’s not afraid to mess up her manicure. Her strong will could bowl over even the hardest of hearts, and she has one devilish smile to even out the fair trade. And she knows how to dress for all occasions, even if it means she might get a little blood on her clothes. She may have a weakness for cops, or one might call it an obsession, and she’s rather adept with a pair of handcuffs. While I appreciated her sticky situation, I had trouble with my focus at various points along the way. Max, while intriguing, managed to keep me at a distance throughout much of the story, even while her NOTORIOUS circumstances managed to hold me in suspense and despair. The cold case concept intrigued me, and her beguiling smile deceived me, and her off-putting attitude caused her a whirlwind of trouble wherever she went, even if she kept her head in the game, and her eyes on the horizon. Making friends might not have been at the top of her list, but she commanded attention and a second glance wherever she managed to turn up next. Other than Nick Santini, many of the males felt like caricatures, instead of full-bodied versions ready to spring off the page and into my living room. Had the men measured up to the women, it might have provided a bit more balance to the equation, and made it a bit easier to swallow for this particular reader. Not bad writing, or a bad story, mind you, but not a tale that showcases Allison Brennan at her story writing best. I received this book for free through NetGalley. Robert Downs Author of Falling Immortality: Casey Holden, Private Investigator
I really read most of Allison Brennan's works and find her characters appealing,the story plot usually interesting. I found this one no diff although I am on the fence with the main character,Max,and really all the other ones. They were just not a likable bunch! I'm hoping,in coming novels,Max softens alittle bit because she is just not someone I would like to hang with. The story itself with the old cold case and her friend's suicide were interesting and backstory was good but I'll reserve judgement on whether I commit to this one after the next one out.
It was a great read, good story line and characters. I would definatly recommend to all my friens!
Brace yourself for the forces of the past and present as they collide with the firestorm that is Max Revere! Notorious by Allison Brennan is one action and intrigue packed moment after another as we are introduced to one of the strongest, and smartest female heroines ever! Max returns home to attend the funeral of a man she once turned her back on when he needed her most. The world she left behind holds no warm memories. Older, wiser and more independent than ever, Maxine is now an investigative reporter who has tasted danger, exposed the underbelly of life and lived to tell about it. Max promises the sister of her late best friend she will look into his suicide death, because something just does not sit right, there is more to the story and she is determined to get to the bottom of it, no matter who or what tries to get in her way. Kevin was accused of murder, a crime he swears he did not commit and he was acquitted in the eyes of the law, but branded in his own town. Obsessed with finding the real killer, he spirals into drug and alcohol abuse, until he takes his own life, but not before leaving scattered breadcrumbs for Max to follow. What she discovers has far more impact and uncovers other unsolved crimes and the trail is leading too close to home for her comfort. Few of the local authorities will cooperate, most do all they can to thwart her investigation, but obviously they do not know Max. A fascinating and riveting mystery thriller with one heck of a heroine, Notorious is a twisted ride through the dark tunnels of secrets, danger and the brutal glare of truths revealed! Allison Brennan knows how to bring life to her characters and lead them down into the world she has created for them like the consummate puppeteer. Max is tough, but feminine, smart and edgy, yet vulnerable to her own mistakes and regrets. She has heart, a conscience and a grit that makes her larger-than-life! The supporting characters keep you guessing, who can she trust, who is hiding something, are they good, evil or just mean-spirited? With each changing page and emotional tension, Ms. Brennan’s style makes this smooth sailing at warp speed. Mystery lovers, here’s your next great read, Mystery newbies, here’s the perfect introduction to a contemporary who-dun-it!
Fantastic new series. Maxine Revere is an engaging new heroine. This whodunit will keep you guessing until end. Allison Brennan has another hit series on her hands!
Couldn't put it down.
Could not put it down! Loved it!
Really enjoyed this book. Kept me guessing to the end. Recommend
Full of suspense, very hard to put down.
I thought the book was totally awesom and I would read it again.
Max Revere is a smart, determined, tough crime reporter. She will stop at nothing to find out what really happened, no matter where the clues lead her. I can't wait to read the next book in this series.
Loved this book and could not put it down. I just realized after reading this book that there is a prequel to it called Maximum Exposure that was recommended to read first. Had I know that I would have purchased it first. Oh well.
Allow me to admit I love Allison Brennan. Her Lucy Kincaid and family series is bone-sharp and each one a gritty thriller that exposes more of the tormented FBI agent Lucy, and her family. With Notorious, however, Brennan has left the Kincaids behind and introduces us to her new protagonist, Maxine Revere. Maxine's background has some trauma, too, as she was abandoned by her mother and left in the care of the wealthy Revere family. But that family has members dealing with their own darkness and matriarch Grandmother is a tough cookie. I loved the character of investigative true crime journalist, television show host, and author, Max. I loved the premise of a mysterious, decades old death of a young friend, and how it dovetails with a missing person and a new murder, and familiar sturm und drung. The details and clues were good, the darkness in Max's soul and how her world is populated with her macho, gay assistant, and the romantic complications of one man now in her past, and a new man on the horizon: a LE agent who's anxious to keep Max out of trouble, and into his bed. Lots of terrific points that kept me reading yet I didn't get the same gripping urgency from Notorious as I've enjoyed with the Kincaid and every other Brennan title. Perhaps it is the job of setting this new world and all new cast of characters that detracted a bit from the thrilling pacing, and why I have awarded 4, rather than the usual 5, stars for Ms. Brennan's latest. But rest assured, I will absolutely be waiting for the next Maxine Revere installment to get to know her, and the folks in her world, a bit better as they deal with the next nefarious situation.
¿A chilling, tangled and fierce juncture.¿ My rating: 4 of 5 ¿¿ Not excited about the prospect of facing her somewhat dysfunctional family, Maxine is on her way home at the request of the sister of her once best friend Kevin, to attend his funeral. Her family had never understood her dedication to take on unsolved murders, long cast aside by police, in order to give some closure to the families. Had made it her career as an investigative reporter and now host of a TV-crime show. They couldn't grasp the depth of her own feelings of impotence when not just one, but two good friends were lost to unsolved crimes many years ago. Kevin's death had been ruled a suicide, something his sister did not feel at peace with. And despite his unwavering claim of innocence for the murder of their murdered high school friend for which he was charged and later released, his life had been far from easy as a result and Max felt compelled to unearth the truth about that night, once and for all. But in doing so, she knew she would be stirring up the dust and her family for one, would not be grateful. When at the airport, an older couple recognizes her and convinces her to look into yet another murder at her old high school, but this one only six months ago, Max can't resist the call. Now pulled into two separate cold cases, she encounters detective Nick Santini, who initially is reluctantly willing to work together with Max, but has second thoughts when he discovers her rather 'reckless' methods of investigation. Unencumbered by rules and regulations, Max manages to uncover a slew of leads that not only seem indicate some sort of connection between the crimes, but also manage to aggravate and attract Nick Santini. But when the investigation cuts a little too close to the truth, and Max becomes subject to threats and danger, Nick is determined not to have anything happen to her. ***** Excellent thriller by Allison Brennan!! Very tight and clever plot, with small clues sprinkled through the story, only recognizable as such once the full scope is revealed. Intricate web of threads and connections, all serving to detract and distract from the main vein of the plotline. An interesting and varied crew of characters, some of whom very surprising once completely revealed. Maxine, our main protagonist comes fully supplied with background and a complete context, leaving no room for uncertainty when it comes to her character. The why, the when, the how, the what....it is all meted out and the result is an almost fearless, single-minded crusader and kick-a$$ woman, who devotes her life to making sure the victims and their families are not forgotten. Her focus is such, that concern for her own well-being, her own social life, her own future, has become all but non-existent. Max has a few people in her life, who look out for her, even if she doesn't look out for herself. Or perhaps, because she doesn't. One is her bodyguard, and the other the producer of her show. In this book she also has Nick Santini, who plays an important role here, and certainly seems to be a love interest, but I am not sure if that will carry over into future books, since Nick has some baggage that is rather permanently tied to him. I devoured the book, beginning to end, loving the style of writing and the tight suspense and intrigue evident from the start. What I missed, other than a few mere glimpses, was the development of a personal connection. There was romantic tension, absolutely, but other than a stolen kiss in the midst of chaos, I'm pegging this book as a suspense thriller, not creating expectations for a fulfilling romance. It is a thrilling read and I can't wait for the next one! ¿A chilling, tangled and fierce juncture.¿ **Copy provided in return for an honest review.**
Allison Brennan is a prolific author and her books get taken out quite often at the library. But Notorious, is the first book I've read by this best selling author. Notorious is the first book in the Max Revere series. Max is an investigative reporter with her own cold case television show. She'll head anywhere in the country to tackle those unsolved murders. One case she's never been able to solve is the death of her childhood friend Lindy. Max heads back to her hometown to attend a funeral. While at the airport she is approached by a couple who beg her to look into their son's death as well. Max agrees and also starts re-looking at Lindy's case as well. Brennan has come up with two good whodunits that had me interested. But here's the problem - I didn't like the investigator. At all. Brennan has written Max as a very tough, strong personality, which, on paper would seem to work for a reporter. But for this reader, it just didn't make the leap. I just found her obnoxious, pushy, rude and self absorbed with an 'anything you can do I can do better' chip on her shoulder. The annoying dialogue and sanctimonious attitude only increased as the book progressed and had me gritting my teeth by the end. The main plotting of Notorious was just fine and I did read to the end to see the final reveal. But I was glad to turn the final page on Max Revere. Established fans of Allison Brennan will most likely enjoy this book