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Fortune's Deadly Descent (Fortune Series) Paperback – September 18, 2012


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Product Details

  • Series: Fortune Series
  • Paperback: 266 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas & Mercer (September 18, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1935597663
  • ISBN-13: 978-1935597667
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.4 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (81 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,127,602 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

A Q&A with Audrey Braun

Question: Fortune's Deadly Descent is the follow up to A Small Fortune. What will readers need to know before starting this book?
Audrey Braun: Readers should know that while Fortune's Deadly Descent is the second book in a series, it is also a standalone novel. There is enough allusion to the first book for readers to get a sense of what came before without losing sight of what is happening in the new novel. Having said that, Fortune's Deadly Descent will certainly resonate deeper with readers who are familiar with A Small Fortune. When tiny details trigger knowledge of the story already existing inside the reader's head it's like being in on an inside joke. Inclusion is an extremely satisfying feeling.

Q: The main character, Celia, finds herself at odds with her lover, the law, and a tiny French town filled with secrets when her son Benny is kidnaped. What inspired you this time?
AB: Unlike A Small Fortune, which was inspired by wine, a tasty dinner, and a recession that had my husband and me brainstorming a genre novel I didn't think I'd actually write, Fortune's Deadly Descent was written with intent. At the end of A Small Fortune, a few threads are left dangling. Of course the reader could stop there and leave the rest up to her imagination, but if one were to carry those threads, say, to the south of France where the writer would be forced to travel for research [wink], where all of the senses would be evoked by the rich textures of Provence which would then be infused into the tension of the novel, allowing the reader to experience adventure, sensuality, and heart-pounding suspense in one package, I'd say that closely defines my inspiration for this novel.

Q: Fortunes Deadly Decent is a gripping, fast-pace thriller, but there are so many deeply emotional moments. How do you strike that balance?
AB: This is a very good question. Reading a thriller can sometimes feel like running a marathon. Just one more page, one more, just to get to the end of this chapter, and then ok, the next chapter, and the next, because I can't stop now! While this is exactly the kind of reaction every thriller writer hopes for, it can also be taxing on the reader. It's important to pull back a bit after times of extreme suspense to give the reader a break. That break is the perfect opportunity for the writer to go a little deeper inside the character's emotional core to remind the reader what is at stake. Flawed characters with broken hearts are the ones we love to root for and will follow every crisis they rake us through. Clearly defined vulnerabilities, faults, unmet desires, and regrets, resonate deeply with readers, and when they appear during or shortly after times of heightened danger, they pull the reader further into the story, far more effectively than mere facts of adrenaline rushes, gunshots, and kidnappings.

Q: What writers/books inspire your writing?
AB: Patricia Highsmith. I love The Talented Mr. Ripley for so many reasons, one of which is the strong sense of place. I'm also a huge fan of Benjamin Black, not least because he uses a pen name for his mystery novels and his real name (John Banville) for his literary work, the same way that I do. His protagonist, a coroner named Quirke (perfect) is a flawed old sod who plods through life trying to do the right thing by others as well as to himself. Same goes with Kate Atkinson. I love her writing. Her novels are written in big, sweeping arcs, very literary, and strong on suspense. Harlan Coben, Lisa Unger, and Laura Lippman are also writers I love, and they have influenced my own writing in the sense that each have novels featuring an everyman or everywoman thrown into extraordinary circumstances that they must work their way out of, and in the process discover exactly what they're made of. This rings true for Celia in the Fortune Series. She isn't the detective, doctor, or investigative journalist so often found in thrillers, she's a former editor and now a novelist who has been thrown into a life where she has to learn the skills of an investigator, or sniper, or heck, a marine, in order to survive.

Q: What's next for Celia, will there be a 3rd novel?
AB: Yes. I don't want to say too much about the plot as it's still very new, but I will say the 3rd installment of Celia's adventures takes place in Berlin, which has become the new "it" city of Europe. It is bustling with tourists and expats, the arts thriving, the rents miraculously cheaper than any other large European city at the moment. I think this makes for a fascinating backdrop for the 3rd and yes, final story of Celia's life.

From Booklist

This sequel to A Small Fortune (2011) launches with Celia Hagen boarding a train to Paris with her adopted son, Benny, expecting nothing more than adventurous travel. But, during an unexpected stop, Benny disappears from the train. Interpol insists on ransom protocol, but Celia knows that the motive has to be rooted in her past, related to either her vengeful ex-husband or her heavily disputed inheritance. Following her instincts, Celia begins tracking Benny from the French village where he disappeared, aided by her adult son, Oliver, and a local detective personally motivated to solve a possibly related series of child kidnappings. Before long, Benny’s trail heats up, but the elusive motive for his kidnapping keeps Celia steps away from a rescue. Braun suffuses the village’s Old World charm with just enough shadow to enhance suspense, and Celia’s courage and determination make compelling reading. Readers of A Small Fortune will enjoy this further adventure, but warn newcomers to read the books sequentially—key elements of this novel rely on previous events that often feel incompletely conveyed. — Christine Tran

More About the Author

Audrey Braun is the pen name of novelist Deborah Reed. Deborah Reed is the author of the novel, Carry Yourself Back to Me, a Best Book of 2011 Amazon Editors' Pick. She is also the author of the bestselling thriller, A Small Fortune and its sequel, Fortune's Deadly Descent, written under the pen name, Audrey Braun. All three novels have been translated or are forthcoming in German. Her next literary novel, Things We Set On Fire will be published in fall 2013. Deborah holds a Masters in Fine Arts in Creative Writing (fiction) and teaches at UCLA's Extension Writing Program, as well as workshops and conferences around the United States and in Europe. She lives in Los Angeles, California. Find out more at her website: www.reed-braun.com

Customer Reviews

Popular Discussion Topics

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  • "Writing" 17
  • "Characters" 9
  • "Suspense" 8
  • "Action" 6
  • "Emotional" 3
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Alla S. VINE VOICE on September 10, 2012
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
As a fan of Braun's "A Small Fortune," I was interested in reading this follow-up to the original. Seven years after the events described in the original book, Celia, her Mexican boyfriend Benicio, and their adopted son Benny (an offspring of Celia's ex-husband Jonathan and Benicio's sister Isabel who are both in jail) are happily living in Switzerland when Benny gets kidnapped on the train. The reader does not actually see this happen, but only finds out about it through a flash-back that Celia has.

Inspector Moreau and crew start their investigation, but act like they suspect Celia ia the gulty party and reveal that Benicio has been texting his ex-fiance. Celia is angry at the unwillingness of investigators to do their job and the duplicity of Benicio, and quickly decides to search for Beeny herself. She teams up with her grown-up son Oliver, whom she had with her ex-husband Jonathan, and they start the search. Soon, they see Benny's face on a painting being sold by a local painter and Celia's laptop is mysteriously stolen, as time starts running out for Benny.

Unlike the clear plot of the original, I though the follow-up to "A Small Fortune" was a bit convuluted. Benicio, such a strong presence in the first book, is absent for most of this one. I thought Oliver was not a good stand-in. Unlike Benicio, there's no mystery to him--he is his mother's son and will do her bidding no matter what. Inspector Moreau and the rest of the investigators don't really add anything to the story, and seem rather cliche (each utterance from their mouth has at least one French word per sentence and becomes kind of tiring after a while). Lastly, aside from one murder, there are no surprises to the story. The ending lacks mystery--an ingredient that made the first book compulsively readable.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Auntie Annie VINE VOICE on November 4, 2012
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I was not entirely thrilled with Audrey Braun's Fortune's Deadly Descent. I'd definitely give her writing style an A--it was straightforward and fluid--and her physical descriptions of both people and places were spot on. However, I would only propose a B minus for her characterization. The heroine and her boyfriend/husband behaved in an unreasonable and often erratic manner. Even the police officers did not seem to act in a believable way, though the two sons were very authentic. The ex-husband was so entirely and unrepentantly evil as to be unrealistic. As to plot, I could only award the author a C minus. The plot, actually three plots woven together with a totally unrealistic background story, was intricate and convoluted. The way the conclusion drew everything together was beyond belief. I would guess this book is not the author's finest effort.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on February 12, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Not as developed as the first too many plots that weren't believable. The first book, Small Fortune, was better written.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Elinor Stickney on September 30, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I am totally disenchanted with the book and don't find it to be a "stand alone" book. A knowledge of what had happened before would have been helpful. I find it to be very confusing and, although I am familiar with the locale and enjoy reading about it, that doesn'tcompensate for a confusing plot and characters. I shall not read anything else by the author.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Tink on November 5, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This was my first time reading the author; it will also be my last. Book started off with intrigue but as the book continued it seemed to be very unbelievable with plot as well as characters. Book would keep going back to past then present to tie the story-line together but instead it just seemed to make the plot even more disbelievable. If you truly enjoy mysteries, thrillers, skip this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Brett H TOP 100 REVIEWER on August 20, 2013
Format: Paperback
This is a sequel to Audrey Braun's best selling thriller, A Small Fortune. It headlines the plot as a woman's desperate search for her abducted son in a small Provence town, which threatens her family and her life. This is a reasonable summary of the story.

Celia Hagan, the heroine, however is no ordinary woman. Wealthy from family money, and with her former husband and his lover in prison, she and her partner, Benico are raising her husband's love child, Benny. Benny is not ordinary either. Aged 8, he is clearly the future Jamie Oliver of Switzerland. He disappears on a train journey across Provence to Aix, where he and Celia are bound for a birthday treat. No one on the train seems to remember much about Benny and both the local police and Interpol have little to go on. Celia, aided by her grown up son, Oliver, have to try to solve the riddle for themselves or risk losing Benny permanently as the police turn the spotlight more and more on Celia and Benico themselves.

The story line of this novel keeps the reader's interest and some of the characters, like Celia herself and the police chief, Moreau, are well drawn and the reader gets to know and appreciate them as real characters. Others like Benico and the guy from Interpol, Isak, remain very shadowy and little developed. The plot itself takes rather too many twists for me and incorporates too many fantastical coincidences and tie ups to be entirely credible. I have not read the predecessor to this book, and clearly this is a disadvantage as there are many references to it. This is a fast moving romp, but be prepared to be a little disappointed at the conclusion.
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