Book Review: Brake Failure by Alison Brodie


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

About the Book

Description (courtesy of Goodreads): Ruby Mortimer-Smyth 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. 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?

Book Facts

  • Format: ebook
  • No. of pages: 340
  • Publication date: 9th January 2017
  • Genre: Contemporary Romance, Humour

My Review (4 out of 5)

Firstly, I have to thank Alison for giving me a copy of her book in return for an honest review.   Secondly, I have to admit that romance and humour aren’t genres I usually read but I actually really enjoyed this book.   It’s a fun, light read that zips along and reels you in as the story progresses.

Switching between 1st January 2000 and the weeks preceding it, we witness Ruby’s transformation from nervous, prissy, self-disciplined wife to gun-toting wild child. As she finds herself starting to look beyond the constraints of her marriage to reliable but rather boring Edward, Ruby has choices of the heart to make as well.

‘Like a filing cabinet, her life was compartmentalised and ordered. Edward was her husband. Payat was a delicious fantasy. And Gephart was the rogue pieve of paper that had to go in the bin.’

The book has a brilliant cast of eccentric characters and a lot of amusing scenes. For instance, Ruby’s encounter with her neighbour’s Christmas decorations: ‘Tell me, lady, what kinda law-abiding citizen decapitates Mr Frosty?’.  Some of the funniest moments are the conversations between Ruby and her “tight-ass” step-sister Claire, aka Madame van de Ghellinck, as they compete to outdo each other in sarcasm, bitchiness and one-upmanship.

‘When the telephone rang, she snatched it up. It was Claire, her voice breezy and condescending. “Bonjour, Ruby. I’m meeting the actress Lida Barova today. Oh, silly me, you won’t have heard of her. Anyway, she’s a living legend. Have you heard of Fassbinder’s film, The Bitter Tears of Petra van Kant?’

‘Isn’t that the one where Mel Gibson blows up a tanker while dragging a screeching half-naked bimbo behind him?’

There’s also some gentle sending up of the increasingly apocalyptic predictions of some about what’s likely to happen as a result of the Y2K bug, which for those of us who remember some of the hysteria will produce a wry smile. As Ruby notes in her diary:

‘As part of my “prepping” for Y2K, I stack Petal-Soft loo paper in the garage. (Edward is not the type to use a dock leaf).’

This is an entertaining read with a lot of humour, wit and verve. If you need cheering up or a book to while away a rainy day, this would be the perfect choice.

To buy a copy of Brake Failure from Amazon, click here

In three words: Funny, engaging, lively

Try something similar…600 Hours of Edward by Craig Lancaster

Alison About the Author

Alison Brodie is a Scot, with French Huguenot ancestors on her mother’s side.  Her books have been published in hardback and paperback by Hodder & Stoughton (UK) and translated into German, Dutch and Scandinavian. Now she’s gone “indie”! Check out Wild Life and The Double. Alison lives in Biarritz, France with her rescue mutt, Bayley. She loves to hear from her readers.

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4 thoughts on “Book Review: Brake Failure by Alison Brodie

  1. Thank you, Cathy, for this wonderful review of my romcom, Brake Failure. I know you don’t normally read romantic comedies so it was very kind of you to give Brake Failure a go.


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