Today I’m reviewing Alison Brodie’s new book Brake Failure which is released on Monday. This is set during the mania of the Y2K bug frenzy, which if you remember it sent people a little crazy. There is also a giveaway at the end of the post so be sure to click on the link to enter!
Brake Failure is a contemporary romance with humour, suspense and a kick-ass heroine. The story is set in one of the most fascinating periods of 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 an English debutante, destined for Ladies Day at Ascot and taking tea at The Savoy. She knows the etiquette for every occasion and her soufflés NEVER collapse.
She is in control of her life, tightly in control. Until fate dumps her down 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 explode. 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 group of Survivalists, who give her a gun and advise her to stockpile basic essentials, such as gasoline and water-purifying tablets. So 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.”
When Ruby marries Edward she thinks they are moving to Paris, little does she know that plans are changing and they will be heading to Kansas City. It’s September 1999 and Y2K hysteria is just getting started. I remember this time so clearly everyone was talking about the Y2K bug, people were stockpiling food and preparing for if the electricity went out and banks went down. I spent that New Years Eve like many others at an End of the World Party, of course nothing happened but it didn’t stop a whole year of worrying beforehand.
When Ruby lands in Kansas City she makes friends with a group of survivalists who tap into her inner hypochondriac and this seems to spark something inside her, a need to be free of her invisible shackles from the life she’s been living and she starts drinking (having been tee total), and breaking the law, she starts rebelling against her husband, and falls in love with another man.
Brake Failure was a slow starter, it took a while for me to connect with Ruby as a character, initially she is quite cold and there is little to like about her, a prim and proper socialite who would fit in well with the upper classes. She says the right things, does the right things but has little to no personality.
As she starts to change she is still not very likeable having swung to the other end of the scale being tacky and trashy but her antics are at least funny and give something to chortle about as you read the book.
She spends much of the book stuck in a place of indecisiveness, not sure what to do, should she go back to her uptight ways or be more trashy? It’s a shame she didn’t find a middle ground to just be an average Jane.
I found the end of the book didn’t sit right with me, she does something which outside of fiction she wouldn’t get away with yet in this book it all ends well. I would have preferred a sterner ending that fit in with how she had behaving through the book.
Overall though Brake Failure is an amusing romp set during a wild time in history.
A huge thanks to Alison Brodie for the eARC of this book in return for my honest review.
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
About Alison Brodie:
Alison Brodie is a Scot, with French Huguenot ancestors on her mother’s side. Alison was a photographic model for a wide range of products, such as Ducatti motorbikes and 7Up. She was also the vampire in the Schweppes commercial.
A disastrous modelling assignment in the Scottish Highlands gave Alison an idea for her first romance novel, Face to Face. It was taken up by Dinah Wiener, the first agent Alison sent it to. Three weeks later, Alison signed a two-book deal with Hodder & Stoughton. Subsequently, Face to Face was published in English, German and Dutch. “Vain, but wildly funny leading lady.” -Scottish Daily Mail. It was also chosen as Good Housekeeping’s “Pick of the Paperbacks.”
Unfortunately, Alison then suffered from Second-Book Syndrome. The publisher’s deadline loomed but Alison couldn’t think of a story! She found the whole experience a nightmare; and this is why she cautions first-time authors not to sign a multi-book deal unless they are prepared!
Alison lived in Kansas for two years. She loved the people, their friendliness, the history and the BBQs! Now, she lives in Biarritz, France with her rescue mutt, Bayley.
Alison’s previous release, THE DOUBLE, was published to rave reviews:
“Proof of her genius in writing fiction…Excellent.” –San Francisco Book Review.
Head to Rafflecopter for your chance to win a $25 (or equivalent) Amazon Gift Card! (Tour-Wide Giveaway).
Title: Brake Failure
Author: Alison Brodie
Genre: Romance | Women’s Fiction
Publisher: Clipboard Press
Publication Date: 9 January 2017
Review Format: eBook
Other Formats: N/A
Buy: Amazon UK | Amazon US | Kobo | iBooks