ARC Book Review: Collateral Damage by Frederick Lee Brooke

Hey all!

I will be reviewing a murder mystery/suspense thriller today. But first, more about the author.


Frederick Lee Brooke is the author of the widely-acclaimed Annie Ogden mystery series, which includes Doing Max Vinyl, Zombie Candy, and Collateral Damage. A consummate jet setter, he was born and raised in Chicago (where both Doing Max Vinyl and Zombie Candy are set) and has lived in Illinois, Massachusetts, Montana, France, and Germany; he has called Switzerland his home for the past two decades.

Brooke’s love of the written and spoken word is vast—not only has he taught English in various European schools, he also knows French, German, and Italian, and dabbles in Turkish in his spare time. This love of language led him to quit his day job two years ago and focus on his original dream: writing fiction. When not writing books, his three kids (and their homework) keep him busy. He is currently working on a new series of thrillers and, once that’s done, he might take some time to visit one of those Swiss chocolate factories (but only for the free samples). He can often be found chopping vegetables in the kitchen, and makes a mean lasagna!

You can find him online at Sign up for his newsletter and read all about his travels, recipes, and upcoming works!

Book Summary


A love story. 

When Annie Ogden’s ex-boyfriend Michael Garcia reappears, she has to confront a lie dating back to her time in Iraq. Will she go back to hot, passionate Michael, who has developed a disturbing interest in meth, or will she stick with her pudgy PI partner and fiancé, Salvatore?

A murder.

The calculus changes when Michael is arrested for murder. When Salvatore refuses to help investigate, Annie is forced to try to find the killer herself. Meanwhile her sister’s creepy husband, Todd, is making more of an ass of himself than usual.

An obsession.

Annie’s problems with three obsessive men suddenly pale in significance when she realizes the killer has set his sights on her.

My review

Collateral Damage has a very nice book cover. It shows Annie Ogden, the main character of this book and a man being stabbed. The diamond ring is of significance too. The title is not only intriguing, it’s also apt for this book. The author actually showed 2 possible book covers with slight differences, on his Facebook page and asked his fans to choose one. I am so glad that the final cover that got chosen was the one I had voted for!

The story revolves around Annie, her fiancé Salvatore and her ex lover Michael. The characters are excellently created such that they are flawed and thus makes them people that you could easily have associated with, in real life. Their emotions are real and tangible. Annie is a very bold, beautiful yet complicated person. She complicates everything. Salvatore is a person who loves Annie so much, is jealous of Micheal but at the same time is downright understanding. Michael is a passionate and weird person. I say weird because he does things that no one would normally do, yet in his eyes it’s perfectly normal. He is so obsessed with Annie. The love between him and Annie is described really well and you totally understand what a passionate and close relationship they had. Without being graphic, the author excels in conveying their burning desires and I think that’s a mighty achievement!

The book is written in first person narrative from the point of view of two people, Annie and Salvatore. I love first person narrative!. There is absolutely no confusion here because each chapter heading contains the name of the person whose point of view is discussed in that chapter. I liked this approach.

The murder is set in such a way that you would think it’s ABSOLUTELY impossible to find the killer. Each step during the investigation, only toughens the case rather than making it easy. I loved the book to bits for that. I love tough cases because finding a killer in such cases keep the whole book intriguing and unputdownable (my crazy computer thinks it’s not a legit word!. There is a red underline for spell check. Jeez!). The author has really built a case that is believable and takes us step by step towards solving the case piece by piece until the whole puzzle is completed and the killer is found.

Thrillers being my favorite genre and having read many a mystery by several top-notch authors, I take pride in the fact that I am able to solve cases and find the killer (most of the time) before the book ends . But that was not the case here. No no, my friend!. I couldn’t put my finger on who that person was and finally when it was revealed, I was shocked, to say the least!. This book also makes you sit up and think about how much information about yourself you put up on the internet and how much access into your life, you are giving to anonymous people around you. It’s creepy.

The other significant characters are also built very well. I usually don’t like it at all, if there are unanswered bits in a book. After reading, I had one single yet important question on my mind. I couldn’t come up with an answer to that. So I wrote to Frederick. He wrote back promptly and answered the question for me. It perfectly made sense. I won’t reveal the question here because it’s like a spoiler. This book is *mind blowing*, I tell you. You have got to read it.  Add it to your ever increasing pile of TBR right now. But put it right on top of the pile so that you read it first!!

Frederick has officially made it to my favorite-authors-of-all-time list!. I give this book 5 stars, which by Goodreads standards mean ‘it was amazing’.

Purchase link

Amazon ~

Click on the link above to purchase this book for just $0.99 (Limited period only!).

How I received a copy

An ARC ebook was gifted to me by the author. It was not given for review purposes but it would be an utter shame if I don’t review such an awesome book. Every thing mentioned here is 100% my own thoughts.



20 thoughts on “ARC Book Review: Collateral Damage by Frederick Lee Brooke

  1. Interesting..thanks. I usually don’t spring for books like that. I’m more of a Non-Fiction Gal, Fun/Girly or about true stories/diaries. But your review sounds interesting. Thanks for the share!

    • Wow Sally!. I completely steer away from non fiction and true stories. I get comforted by the fact that a book is the pure creation of an author’s imagination. So when things are true, it tends to disturb me!. I do read inspirational true stories. But I stop at that. Collateral damage is a book you surely will love!. Thanks for your feedback ♡

  2. “Collateral Damage has a very nice book cover. It shows Annie Ogden, the main character of this book and a man being stabbed.” <— Last part of the second sentence does not sound very nice, lol! But yes, it is a nice cover.

    Oh, and when you say the murderers are set up in a way that is almost impossible to find the killer, what do you mean? Is it a locked door myster? I'm kind of in love with those as I'm reading Umineko right now which deals with those 😛

    But really, this book sounds excellent and your strong feelings for it has led me to add it to my TBR list! Great review, Naz 😀

    • Thank you so much, Lottie!. Well, when I said it’s a nice cover and it has a man being stabbed on it, I just meant it piques my interest and girl you know, I love murder mysteries!!.

      Also, it’s near impossible to find a killer in this case not because it’s a locked door mystery (which is another new term I learned today from you. I Googled to find out what it is. Sounds freaking awesome!) but because the murder happens right in the midst of a lot of people!. Singling out a person with a motive is pretty tough in this case. Finally (not a spoiler), a person whom you thought had absolutely no motive, is the killer!

      You will love it for sure, Lottie 🙂

      • Hehe, I hear you. I just thought it was funny that a cover with a guy being murdered could be described as nice.

        Locked door mysteries are amazing! But the thing about them is that many stories that use them don’t normally do original takes on them and always fall back on the ‘default’ way. That’s probably the reason why I like Umineko. It lets the reader come up with theories in an Anti-Mystery (when they allow fantasy elements such as crazy, sadistic witches to come into play) and Anti-Fantasy (when they reject fantasy and see the mystery in a completely realistic perspective). It’s actually really interesting!

        But the reason why the mystery is hard to solve in this book sounds awesome, too! Let us see if I can guess who the killer is in this Whodunnit mystery >:D I’m guessing that the butler isn’t the killer 😛

        • Yeah, I think too that not many can be creative in a scenario like a locked door mystery. I like the anti-fantasy route. By the sounds of it, I think umineko is exciting!.Would love to read it. I love your thoughtful comments, Lottie!

          • I don’t think that I could be creative with a locked door mystery even if I had a million years to come up with an unique idea >_< Umineko is a very great series, but it is pretty creepy (Ryukishie07 loves creeping people out it seems) and the main character Battler is a real perve, though he does get better later on…
            Well, I love your thoughtful post 😀

            • Haha.. Me too.. Once I read and find out how one locked door mystery is solved, I wouldnt probably be able to come up with a new solution. My thoughts would get stuck on the one solution I read about. Where do you read Umineko series from?. Bought them?. Thank you Lottie!

              • Oh, um, it’s a manga, I think I forgot to say that >_< But anyways, you can read the first 'episode' (episode meaning volume) here:

                If you are still interested in the story, I will tell you the rest of the links later… Don't want to overload your blog with links that you don't want O_O

                Oh, and a warning. The creator of this manga has an odd way of setting up his mysteries. At the end of each episode, mostly everyone dies. The world then resets with the characters 'alive again' and the mystery begins again, telling a new story with the same mystery and clues throughout it that will help you solve the overall mystery. The guy is a genius when he creates these stories, but sometimes my head just wants to explode sometimes so I thought I should warn you…

                Also: Beware of Maria. She is a super creepy little kid.

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