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Getaway by Lisa Brackmann


by Lisa Brackmann

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While on vacation in Puerto Vallarta, a recently widowed LA housewife becomes entangled with CIA spooks and drug kingpins.

This is a readable thriller, but that's just about all I can say for it. It would probably work much better as a movie. The main character, Michelle, is way too passive and naive for me to sympathize with. The plot doesn't make a lot of sense. I kept waiting for the twist that would pull everything together, but it never came. The end just kind of fizzles out with no real resolution. I chose this as a vacation read, and with all the drinking, sex, and murder in an exotic location, it sure fits that bill, but it doesn't aspire to be anything more than throwaway reading. ( )
  sturlington | Jul 13, 2014 |
You may also read my review here: http://www.mybookishways.com/2012/05/getaway-by-lisa-brackmann.html

Michelle is in sunny Puerto Vallarta, attempting to escape from her troubles, including the mound of debt her recently deceased husband left her (hey, the vacation was already paid for), and wondering what kind of life will be waiting for her upon returning to LA. Unfortunately, escape isn’t in the cards, since trouble manages to find Michelle in the form of handsome, mysterious Daniel. He’s everything her late husband wasn’t: lithe, sexy and definitely mysterious. Their first night together is a disaster, though, after armed men burst in on them in the middle of the night. Danny is injured, Michelle is scared, and when she goes to his apartment to return his belongings, a gruesome discovery leads Michelle to think that Danny may be part of something sinister. When an acquaintance of Danny’s threatens her unless she spies on him, she knows she’s in over her head.

If you’re looking for a fast paced and diverting thriller, look no further than Getaway. Michelle is very likeable, and the author manages to capture exactly how it feels to be on vacation, at least in the beginning. You know what I’m talking about: the I’m-on-vacation-so-nothing-bad-can-possibly-happen-to-me feeling? Unfortunately, that feeling doesn’t last for Michelle, as she spends time with Danny, becoming increasingly sure that he’s into some pretty nasty stuff. I’ve been to Mexico, and it’s a beautiful place to vacation. While I haven’t been to Puerto Vallarta, the author seems to know her way around and perfectly illustrates the devil-may-care feeling of a coastal tourist town. What she also shows is the darker underbelly of drug and cartel violence that has been ubiquitous lately. You can’t read the news without coming across an article on the cartel wars that have claimed thousands of lives, in increasingly gruesome ways. Her timing is perfect with this book, making it very relevant to current events and adding an additional layer of menace. Rapid pacing and tight plotting will keep you turning pages and even though it never manages a real romance between Michelle and the enigmatic Danny, the ending will leave you wanting more of this talented author. Lisa Brackmann is most definitely an author to watch! ( )
  MyBookishWays | May 18, 2012 |
First Line: Michelle dropped the sarong she'd started to tie around her waist onto her lounge chair.

Michelle Mason needed to get away from her troubles for a while. Widowed a few months ago, she's been discovering just how secretive and inept a business person her late husband had been. The trip was already paid for, so a few days in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico seemed in order. She'd relax, calm down, get her head on straight, and then return to Los Angeles to finish dealing with the mess.

Trouble is, a handsome man named Daniel approaches her on the beach, they hit it off, have a few margaritas, and Michelle thinks, "Why not?" That one little decision has the power to change the entire course of her life.

Later that night, someone breaks into Michelle's hotel room and assaults Daniel. Her cell phone and Daniel's get switched, and someone named Gary forces Michelle to spy on Daniel. From what little Michelle is able to piece together, this all involves drugs, the people who get rich from selling drugs, and their hired hands who think nothing of torturing and killing to get what they want. She knows she's in danger but quickly learns that running isn't an option-- or she's going to wind up in the Puerto Vallarta garbage dump.

This book is fast-paced and pulled me right in although I did have a difficult time warming up to Michelle. During the first part of the book, she's a typical consumer housewife, used to spending her days having lunch with the girls and buying the latest fashions. When I talk about sunglasses, I refer to them as sunglasses. When I talk about my purse, I call it a purse, and when I step into a pair of shoes, I have this annoying tendency to call them shoes. Michelle refers to them by their designer labels. She and I don't inhabit the same planet.

Besides her designer leanings, Michelle is used to the protection normally accorded to a woman married to a man of means and living in a big house in a large affluent American city. It's almost as if she's forgotten how to think for herself or how to survive without all the labels. When she first comes into contact with a corrupt Mexican police officer, she's completely unprepared, and she has absolutely no chance of getting past a villain like Gary.

And can she trust Daniel-- someone who seems to be involved in all this drug stuff up to his pearly white teeth? It takes her a while to realize that she is really fighting for her very life, and once she knows the real score, and begins to reason things out and to try to fight back, Getaway really takes off. Michelle doesn't turn into Lara Croft or Wonder Woman or Mrs. Peel, but she finds her backbone, and it's a glorious thing to watch. (I think I even cheered a time or two.)

Getaway may be listed as a thriller, and it does have all the action and fast pace of one. What's unexpected and completely refreshing is the fact that it is also an in-depth character study of a woman caught up in bizarre circumstances who's forced to fight for her survival when there's no one else she can trust. ( )
  cathyskye | May 8, 2012 |
How’s this for a nightmare scenario?
You’re a woman alone, on holiday, in a developing country where you don’t speak the language. A crooked cop plants some drugs on you and hauls you off to jail. A countryman comes along to spring you, but it soon turns out that he’s in cahoots with the cop.
You can’t leave, because they’re holding on to your passport. And, unless you agree to spy on a guy you hardly know, but with whom you’ve suffered a violent assault in your very own hotel room, they’re going to fling you right back into the pokey.
Me? I’d play along.
And so does Michelle Mason, the protagonist in Lisa Brackmann’s Getaway.
Getaway is set in the resort town of Puerto Vallarta in Mexico.
Brackmann paints it as a place of luxury hotels and considerable charm, but with an ugly underbelly. Corruption and drug- dealing are rife. Human lives are cheap. And Michelle’s early troubles, the ones I’ve described above, soon pale when she’s confronted by what comes next.
Michelle is an engaging character, and Getaway is a cracking good yarn, a wild-ride that never lets up.
Not even in the last paragraph.
Is that a cryptic statement?
Yeah, I suppose it is.
But you’ll find yourself agreeing with me after you’ve finished the book. ( )
  Leighton | May 6, 2012 |
In Getaway by Lisa Brackmann, Michelle Mason has arrived in Puerto Vallarta for a solo vacation after the death of her husband. She seems to let margaritas take over her decision-making ability, and is about to spend the night with handsome Daniel, whom she met on the beach. This decision leads to a break-in to her hotel room in which Daniel is shot. After their cell phones get switched, Michelle ends up spending the night in jail and loses her passport.
Getaway talks us in to the insular world of the ex-pat community of Puerta Vallarta, a world of foreigners who have chosen to live in a Mexican beach town and drink their days away. Fortunately, some of these people have the integrity to help Michelle out of her difficulties, because she is incredibly naïve for a wealthy woman (that is until her late husband squandered their money in bad investments) in her 40s who presumably has traveled some.
But Michelle has difficulty telling the good guys from the bad guys, and does not know who to trust. She is pulled into the nasty business of the drug trade and rival Mexican drug gangs, where people have no scruples except their own.
Occasionally she think of throwing herself at the mercy of the US Consulate, at which times I found myself cheering her on with “Go! Go!” But the bad guys who have her passport are paying off her massive credit card debts, and that must be worth something.
Getaway is fast-paced as Michelle goes from elaborate parties at the home of drug kingpins, to the horrors of the town dump, where she almost ends up as part of the trash. It is a quick, easy read, maybe for your next airplane trip, but maybe not on your way to Puerta Vallarta!
(Review published in Suspense Magazine) ( )
  kathleen.heady | Apr 22, 2012 |
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To my dad, who tried to be a good guy.
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Michelle dropped the sarong she'd started to tie around her waist onto the lounge chair.
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Also published as 'Day of the Dead'
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Michelle Mason comes to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, to temporarily escape her problems, but a date with an attractive man leads her into a world of danger and deception, and soon her only goal is to get out of Mexico alive.

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