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Lot's Return to Sodom: A Liv Bergen Mystery…

Lot's Return to Sodom: A Liv Bergen Mystery (original 2011; edition 2011)

by Sandra Brannan

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1058114,970 (3.56)4
Title:Lot's Return to Sodom: A Liv Bergen Mystery
Authors:Sandra Brannan
Info:Greenleaf Book Group Press (2011), Paperback, 288 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:fiction, mystery, South Dakota, crime

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Lot's Return to Sodom: A Liv Bergen Mystery by Sandra Brannan (2011)



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Liv Bergen is back to her childhood home, in Sturgis, South Dakota, to complete her recovery from the last murder she was involved in.

Now she is confronted with the murder of her brother’s girl friend. Meredith’s body is found right outside of the road leading to the family quarry. In order to help Jens she sets her course to find the killer and why Meredith died.

At this time, Sturgis is the Sodom of the Black Hills as it hosts the motorcycle rally attended by many of the outlaw bikers of America.
The County Sheriff thinks Meredith was caught up in the motorcycle rally and was murdered by a biker. The FBI resident agent, Shankley, agrees. However, FBI agent Streeter Pierce who has come from Denver to assist Shankley with another case, disagrees with him.

Streeter is searching for the Crooked Man, a shadow criminal who has murdered in the past. Shankley had gotten Streeter to Sturgis by suggesting Meredith was murdered by the Crooked Man.

Meantime while Liv is trying to locate Char, Meredith’s sister and solve Meredith’s murder. While waiting for Jens, she witnesses the death of another young woman involved with the biker gang Lucifer’s Lot. Now, Mully, leader of Lucifer’s Lot is on her trail.

A diverse cast of characters that are individual with different motivations. Lot’s for things going on here in Sturgis, it can get a little confusing.

The description of the motorcycle rally is detailed and I can tell you I wouldn’t like to be in Sturgis when it is going on. ( )
  Bettesbooks | Jan 17, 2017 |
As I mentioned in my review of Widow’s Might, after reading it, I liked the characters so much that I decided to go back to the beginning of the Liv Bergen series and read the books in order. The first book is In the Belly of Jonah, and immediately after completing it, I started this one, Lot’s Return to Sodom. I am very happy now that I understand all the references in Widow’s Might. What is really intriguing to me also is that Widow’s Might picks up exactly where Lot’s Return to Sodom left off - like maybe five minutes later! - but yet you wouldn’t know it without reading both books! (This is a pleasant change from the too typical cliffhanger endings of trilogies.)

Liv Bergen, age 29, manages her family’s limestone quarry in Livermore, Colorado. But this book takes place in the Black Hills of South Dakota, where Liv’s family is. Even more interesting, the action coincides with the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. I have heard of the rally, but I never knew much about it until reading this book. Now, I think I’m happy I never was anywhere near South Dakota in August! [Is it really as bad as it is depicted in this book, you may ask? I would say that (a) I met Sandra Brannan and I trust her impressions and (b) I googled pictures of “Sturgis Motorcycle Rally” and they support her descriptions of what goes on there! …which is not to say there probably aren’t many good and fun things about the rally as well….

Once again Liv is tangentially involved in a murder. In this case, Michelle, the finance of her brother Jens has been killed. Agent Streeter Pierce comes to the Black Hills to investigate, because the FBI agent in the area claims this murder looks like a serial killer case that Streeter has been following. Liv never met Streeter, even though he was a main character in the previous book, and doesn’t realize who he is. She has seen him however, and thinks of him as “Agent Adonis.”

Liv is determined to solve the crime of who killed Michelle because her brother Jens is also a suspect. As if that weren't enough to get Liv into trouble, she inadvertently witnesses another death that happens in the presence of an outlaw motorcycle gang, and takes pictures of the scene with her phone. At the last minute, "Mully," the formidable head of the gang, spots her, and now Liv has a reason to fear for her own life. Liv and Streeter both circle around each other as they chase the killer or killers, and both end up as targets themselves as they close in on the truth.

Evaluation: Once again Brannan as crafted a story that is full of colorful, likeable, and realistic characters. Although the book is plenty suspenseful, it still exhibits humor and a “homespun” quality that is a refreshing change from other books in this genre. ( )
  nbmars | Jan 21, 2013 |
I received “Lot’s return to Sodom” & “Widow’s Might” as ARC’s (how lucky!) they are 2nd & 3d in the Liv Bergen mysteries. I knew the minute I saw the covers and heard the titles of the books which, by the way I LOVE and the bbb (back book blurb) that I would love this series too, and so I have! I immediately got the first book in this series “In the Belly of Jonah” read it in a day and started on the other two. All 3 are 5 star books for me, this is a new and favorite series.

In Lot’s return to Sodom we again have our heroine Liv “boots”(for her steel toed boots she wears) Bergen, recovering from the De Milo killer in the first book, In The Belly of Jonah and going home to her large and loving family to recuperate and once again jumping in and not looking back to fight for her brother who has been accused of killing a pretty young townie during the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota (yet one more reason to love this book!) which is Liv’s hometown

Liv and her new “friend” but who saved her life in the first book, agent Streeter pierce, who she has not actually met yet of the FBI and both get caught up in evil murdering men hanging around the motorcycle rally.
I really wanted a different ending for Liv with the Lucifer’s lot leader Mully who I really liked and I thought maybe….not romance but, maybe he could have helped save her in one or two instances and maybe be brought back in another book, you know the evil biker dude with the heart of gold?
I love that Liv is a tough girl who can take care of herself and that she comes from a big loving family who have a family mining business as does the author herself.
Again, I love all 3 of the books I have read so far and am looking forward to the 4th in the series Noah’s Rainy Day ( )
  annie.michelle | Sep 20, 2012 |
I reviewed In the Belly of Jonah by Sandra Branna earlier this year and was really looking forward to reading her second book of the series, Lot’s Return. It was very much a let down and was not as good as the first book in this series. Once again we have Liv Bergen involved in solving the crimes; this time in the area of Sturgis SD near her family’s mining company. Of course with Sturgis there are bikers and the annual raunchy display.

The story line was all over the place and in dire need of editing for cohesiveness. The story did not flow well. There was a particular sexual assault that I think was only thrown in for shock value, but the repeated reference to the act was just unnecessary and tedious.

The characters also have some problems. Although I think the character of Murley was supposed to be a creepy, slimy character, he came off as a sympathetic and almost likeable. The character of Liv witnessed a crime, photographed it and did not tell police even though someone ended up dead! It was just unbelievable.

The Biblical references in both books have nothing to do with the story and these are certainly not books where the characters struggle with issues of faith. I am not sure why they are included. The ending was disappointing and unrealistic. I won’t put a spoiler here, but let me just say that the FBI simply would not have given Liv a gift that took years of expensive development.

The best part of the book was the Dedication when she told her mother that she didn’t have to read the story. ( )
  Tmtrvlr | Aug 4, 2011 |
(fiction, mystery)
In this second of the series, modern day miner Liv Bergen finds herself in Sturgis during the annual motorcycle rally, and is up to her neck in dead bodies. Sturgis during the rally – you know there have to be really bad biker dudes, and the main ones belong to Lucifer's Lot.

Although I liked In the Belly of Jonah, the first of the series, better, this book was a decent mystery. There was too much backstory in the initial dialogue, and it seemed forced. There were typos and editing mistakes that shouldn't be in a finished edition. Prostrate cancer? It was dialogue, but the speaker shouldn't have been that ignorant.

And the cliches...”hungry eyes,” “a blessing and a curse,” “fiery eyes...like hot pokers,” “smiling mischievously with her inviting lips and dancing eyes.” The pages of computer notes, recapping everything we had already learned, was boring.

The portrayal of the bikers seemed mixed. It seemed there was contempt for the 1%ers, the baddest of the bad, but the leader, Mully, almost came across as a good guy at times. There there was disdain for the other 99%, the decent bikers, because they were poseurs.

Part of the story were predictable, but there was a nice twist. I did enjoy learning about some biker culture (is that an oxymoron?). The murders were not as gruesome as in the first book, although the bikers did some really nasty, gross things.

One description that made me laugh:

She was at least twenty pounds too heavy to be dressing that skimpily, the skin stretching over her buttocks and thighs looking more like plastic Baggies full of hominy.

This one is okay for a summer read, entertaining, not challenging, but not outstanding for its genre. ( )
  TooBusyReading | Jul 20, 2011 |
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Book description
The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is no place for button-downed citizens-unless they're trying to hide a murder

Sharp-witted Liv Bergen can't avoid becoming embroiled in murders, it seems. Her family's hometown of Sturgis, South Dakota, is quickly becoming the Sodom of the Black Hills during the dog days of summer as it hosts the infamous rally of grizzled hard-core motorcycle bikers-half a million of them. Crime comes too close for comfort when Liv must solve the mystery of a beautiful young townie to clear her brother's name.

Liv witnesses the vile death of another young woman, and during her investigation of both crimes she attracts the uninvited attentions of the menacing leader of Lucifer's Lot-the baddest of the bad biker gangs. Her quick wit and pragmatic thinking are all that stands between her and certain elimination.

FBI agent Streeter Pierce is back on the trail, working undercover to find the murderer and a shadow criminal called the Crooked Man. When he and Liv cross paths, sparks are flying, literally.

Fans of the amateur sleuth's adventures will find this second book in the Liv Bergen series-the sequel to In the Belly of Jonah-an even deeper mystery, with greater consequences for their heroine.

(from B&N website)
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Unlike Lot's wife, Liv doesn't look back after she commits to proving her brother's innocence--even when she herself becomes prey for those with murder on their minds.

(summary from another edition)

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