Schmidt, Tiffany. Break Me Like a Promise: Once Upon a Crime Family, Book 2.
3Q * 4P * S
Schmidt, Tiffany. Break Me Like a Promise: Once Upon a Crime Family, Book 2. Bloomsbury, 2016. 416p. $17.99. 978-0-8027-3783-0.
Strong-minded Magnolia "Maggie" Vickers is home from college, struggling to recover from the brutal murder of the love of her life, Carter Landlow. The only child of a crime family that profits from illegal organ transplants, she is recklessly determined to take over the family business. A series of events, including a dangerous computer virus, national legislation redefining organ donation, and a young man in desperate need of a new kidney, alter Maggie's world and forecast an unexpected but hopeful future.
The author does an amiable job of interweaving Maggies complicated backstory into her current family interactions and personal struggles, which makes reading the first book in the series unnecessary in order to enjoy this one. While the book is much longer than it needs to be, the author's business-minded Maggie, academically gifted Lupe, and family-focused Patricia represent diverse and resilient female characters who engage the reader's interest. The male characters tend to be shallow and predictable, especially Alejandro "Alex" Cooper, who is often too courageous, smart, and thoughtful. It is the urgency of Alex's failing kidneys, however, that propels the plot. The insights and information concerning renal disease, dialysis, and organ donation are interesting without turning into "information dumps." Like its predecessor, this title's plot is based on a fairy tale, with Maggie playing the privileged princess to Alex's unfortunate frog. --Lynn Farrell Stover.