Brennan gives Maxine "Max" Revere a makeover, though she's still a rich, beautiful and brilliant TV host and true-crime crusader.
In the first novel of the series (Notorious, 2014), Max was a know-it-all with no friends, a monstrous ego and the conviction that she was right all the time. Brennan has taken her unlikable protagonist and turned her into a squishy, lovable curmudgeon who's adored by everyone except criminals. This time Max is on the trail of Adam Bachman, caught nine months earlier with a girl in the trunk of his car and now on trial for five murders; she's wangled an interview with him for her television show, Maximum Exposure. Max is prone to taking on dangerous assignments, going undercover to bust criminals and expose corruption. That behavior has earned her a bodyguard, David, who is now also her best friend. Max has also been looking into a couple named Palazzolo who disappeared on a trip to New York; she’s positive that they’re linked to Bachman. After calling in a favor from missing persons detective Sally O’Hara, Max insists that someone else was involved in the Bachman case and—torn between two handsome cops who both adore her—tries to balance her life while working tirelessly, but always on her terms, for good. The first half of the book moves along nicely, though Max’s sudden transformation from obnoxious to gracious is disconcerting; but the second half, while it starts with a bang, drags on and on, with one aha moment stacked upon another until exhausted readers will find themselves wishing the whole thing would just stop. Max has a few too many close calls to be believable, and the relentless introspection slows the action, which naturally includes cops shooting out the tires of a fleeing vehicle, Brennan’s stock police response to crooks in cars.
While Max’s original bitchy attitude needed adjusting, this incarnation makes for some embarrassingly maudlin moments.