The Sacrifice by Peg Brantley is an edge of your seat crime thriller which captured my attention from the very beginning. It’s the kind of book that, had I had the time, I would have loved to devour in one sitting.
The main protagonist is Mex Anderson, a complex character so called because he is half Mexican. He was a law enforcement officer who refused to be bought off by drug cartels and paid the ultimate price when his family was murdered. The story begins when he is approached by Vincent Vega, the leader of a cartel and a man who Mex suspects could have played a role in the slaying of his family. Vega convinces Mex to try and locate his missing daughter.
What follows is an exciting journey full of twists and turns that takes us from Mexico to New Orleans. One of the things I really like about this book is the way Brantley brings the settings alive. She creates places of vivid colour and culture but steeped in danger.
The conflict within the story comes from the explosive combination of Mexican criminals and a religious cult. Brantley describes the cult of Santeria in such a way as to make it seem totally believable. As the plot develops, the cult becomes more and more chilling until the tension is almost unbearable.
I really like the characters in the book and the relationships they have with each other. Mex is a flawed hero, crippled by debilitating depression whilst trying to do the right thing. His friend Darius is almost his mirror image, symbolising what Mex has lost with his own perfect family. Vincent Vega, the villain of the piece, pays for his sins through his dysfunctional relationships with his own children.
My favourite character however is Cade Le Blanc, a native of New Orleans who can hold her own in any situation. Having lost her sister as a result of her involvement in a religious cult, Cade devotes her life to rescuing and deprogramming cult members. She is the driving force in helping Mex and Darius to launch a plan to retrieve Vega’s daughter. Both Cade and Mex are damaged by their pasts but they are clearly attracted to each other and Brantley cleverly leaves the reader with the hope that their relationship might develop.
The Sacrifice is a page turner that I would thoroughly recommend to anyone who likes crime thrillers with lots of action. It would be the perfect holiday read as I guarantee once you pick it up you won’t want to put it down.