Review: Make Them Pay by Allison Brennan

Make Them Pay by Allison Brennan is the 12th book in the Lucy Kincaid series, where Lucy and Sean Rogan are finally tying the knot, but the Rogan family has other plans.

Make Them Pay is the 12th of Allison Brennan’s Lucy Kincaid series. It opens 17 years ago with an invitation to a quest, a search for an elusive treasure. Liam and Eden Rogan are 19-year-old twins. Their siblings are talented and successful; Liam, in particular, feels at odds with his family. His father, Paul Rogan, sets him straight.

“Liam—you have the best of Sheila and me.”

Liam shrugged. He didn’t want to be placated.

“Kane is all military, strategy, tactician. Duke is the organizer, a leader. Sean is just fucking brilliant, sometimes he scares me. There’s nothing he can’t fix, and he’s what? Fifteen?”

“Fourteen,” Liam corrected.

Paul looked confused for a minute, then nodded. “Right. But you and Eden are the visionaries. Your mom and I see what can be, and we invent gadgets, as you say, to fill a need. We love it. But if we had a solid lead on the Alamo Treasure, we’d drop everything to find it. The history alone … No one believes it exists, thinking that it’s just a myth. But we know it’s there.”

Liam had of course heard about the treasure from his dad and Uncle Carlo. What would now be tens of millions of dollars of gold and silver, lost in Mexico en route to Jim Bowie and Davy Crockett at the Alamo while the fort was under siege by General Santa Anna. 

Liam’s father empowers him and his sister to take over the search, saying, “I have the utmost confidence that you’ll find it. You have the heart, you have the knowledge, and most important, you have the spirit.” Unfortunately, within a year their parents die in a plane crash, but “Paul’s dream became Liam’s obsession.”

Fast-forward 17 years. There’s a complicated cast of characters—particularly if you’re a reader new to Allison Brennan’s Lucy Kincaid series—but Brennan is so skillful at subtly filling in the details from past books, there’s no problem keeping up. Who are the Rogans? Lucy Kincaid? What everyone has in common: they are highly skilled warriors, operating (sometimes) on different sides of the law. Worth noting, the Rogan family is estranged and mistrustful, with tension deepest between the oldest, Kane, and his brother, Liam, who despises him.

But there’s a long-anticipated wedding to celebrate: the union of Lucy Kincaid and Sean Rogan. And a surprise guest—Eden Rogan, Sean’s estranged sister, who’s come all the way from Europe to mend fences and attend the nuptials.

Lucy invites Eden to stay with them—after all, family is family—but her boss, SSA Noah Armstrong, knows far more about Eden’s sketchy past than he’s let on.

While Lucy is focused on her investigation tracking down dozens of children sold through illegal adoptions, Noah begins a quiet investigation of Eden and her elusive twin, Liam. He’s certain that, since they’re both thieves, they're here for a job or a heist. But they are up to something far more sinister than even Noah can imagine.

What’s that saying: “Keep your friends close but your enemies closer?” What if it’s not friends but family who prove to be your enemies? Eden is up to no good, which isn't surprising since she’s a known international thief. She wants the six million dollars in bearer bonds in Sean’s safe because there’s a treasure map imprinted on them. Frighteningly, before Sean can talk to his sister face to face, all hell breaks loose. Sean and Noah rush to Sean’s house, but it’s too late. Eden is gone. Lucy is gone, too, kidnapped by Liam. Sean and Noah to the rescue, but it won’t be easy.

Lucy is in Mexico, alone in Liam’s remote house, temporarily blinded but not without internal resources. Eden and Liam—along with their friend/colleague Dante, treasure map in hand—are looking for gold in the verdant mountains of Mexico. Liam had left a note for his brother Sean, promising that he would call him and share Lucy’s location. But he hasn’t, and Eden calls him on it.

“You promised Sean. Or did you forget leaving that note and phone in his safe? He’s probably sitting there waiting for your call. It’s nearly noon. Don’t do this to him—he’s still our brother.”

It was clear that Liam didn’t want to call him. “Fine,” he finally said, “but if they fuck with us, my moratorium on violence is over. This is our heritage, Eden, it’s everything we have wanted since Mom and Dad died, and I’m not going to let Kane screw it up again.”

Eden watched as Liam took his phone out. She had to make sure he called Sean—what if he tried to trick her?

Liam was acting more obsessed than usual. She didn’t lie to herself—Liam was no saint. Neither was she. They were exactly what Noah Armstrong had called her six and a half years ago: thieves.

But Liam was her brother, and she would stand by him. He showed her the phone, then walked to the edge of the path for better reception.

“Everyone who has searched for this treasure has died or lost something valuable,” Dante said quietly. “I don’t want to lose you, Liam, or my sister.” “You can turn around now,” Eden said. “I have never seen Liam happier or more excited. He’s been on this journey since our parents died. This is important to him—to all of us.”

Make Them Pay is a rollercoaster of a story. Tensions run high, alliances and allegiances shift constantly, and underscoring it all is a love story long in the making—will Lucy Kincaid and Sean Rogan finally tie the knot?

Listen to an excerpt from Make Them Pay!


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Janet Webb aka @JanetETennessee has unpredictable opinions on books. Season ticket holder of the Oakland Athletics baseball team. Social media devotee. Stories on royals and politics catch my eye. Ottawa born. Grew up on the books of Helen MacInnes, Mary Stewart, Dorothy L. Sayers, and Anne Perry … I'm always looking for a great new mystery series.

Read all of Janet Webb's articles for Criminal Element!


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