Book Review: Face Off by Brenda Novak (The Evelyn Talbot Chronicles #3)

Face Off - Brenda Novak

My favourite psychiatrist is back, in the third instalment of the Evelyn Talbot Chronicles. It’s always a pleasure to see how she, and her psychopaths, are getting on at Hanover House!



Tortured and left for dead at sixteen, Evelyn Talbot turned her personal nightmare into her life’s work―studying the disturbing psychopathy of some of the world’s most vicious serial killers. Now a leading psychiatrist at Hanover House in a small Alaskan town, she tries to believe the past will never come back to haunt her―until a woman goes missing from a cabin nearby, and every clue points to the man who once brutalized her…

As her boyfriend, who is the area’s only police, begins to investigate―and finds not one but two bodies―Evelyn can’t forget that her would-be killer, Jasper Moore, was never caught. But there are no new faces in tiny Hilltop, no one who seems suspicious or potentially violent. In this twisted game of cat and mouse, Evelyn is certain of only one thing―Jasper must be hiding in plain sight. And if she can’t find him before he comes for her, she won’t be lucky enough to survive twice…


In this third instalment, as the title states, it’s time for Evelyn to face off with Jasper. Books one and two, in this series, have been building to this moment; this continuous story arc means you may feel lost if you jump straight in with this book. I highly recommend starting at the beginning of this series, each instalment is brilliant, and continuously builds the suspense, and will guarantee you are wholeheartedly invested in this novel. Not only will you be privy to the build-up of events, but you’ll get an insight into the mind of several psychopaths, for that is Evelyn’s job – she studies psychopathy at Hanover House, and one of my favourite things about this series is the conversations she has with some of the inmates – it’s such an adrenaline rush, yet disturbing as hell!

In Face Off, the focus is on one psychopath in particular, someone who has evaded capture for over 20 years, someone so twisted your nightmares will have nightmares! No conscience, no remorse, no moral guide whatsoever, Jasper Moore will not rest until he finishes what he started all those years ago. But this time, Evelyn’s not running, with her boyfriend, Amarok, by her side, she knows this face off has to happen if she is ever to live a normal life, to stop looking over her shoulder.

Evelyn is a great character, and Novak has got the balance of her character just right. She’s not portrayed as some fearless psychiatrist who laughs in the face of a psychopath. No, she’s afraid, she knows what Jasper is capable of; she studies some of the most depraved individuals on the planet in the hope of understanding psychopathy and how to beat it. But, Evelyn also knows, whether she lives or dies, she cannot live forever in fear. And I felt that fear right along with her, there were several moments, I was holding my breath, thinking the end was near. The suspense was intense, this novel was fantastic in creating that nervous tension.

Face Off is set in a remote town in Alaska, and no matter how long between instalments, every time I pick up a book in this series, I’m transported to the setting. The dark, cold, winters of Alaska, no one has a mobile phone because reception is so poor, so if you get caught stranded, you really are on your own. And with, arguably, the most dangerous psychopath hunting Evelyn, isolation and darkness are the last two things you want to experience, that’s how people end up dead! I couldn’t do it, I couldn’t live there, I get freaked out in a power cut, I don’t know how to change a tire, nor shoot a gun, I have no survival skills whatsoever – I’m afraid of the Alaskan darkness!

I absolutely recommend Face Off, but as mentioned above, read this series in order to maximise your enjoyment. Journey with Evelyn as she studies psychopaths, attempts to have a normal relationship, and faces off with the most dangerous psychopath of them all!

This book is available to buy now from: Amazon US / Amazon UK / Book Depository

*My thanks to DaVaughn Smith (Author Brenda Novak Representative) for providing me with a digital copy of this title*


The Evelyn Talbot Chronicles in order [so far]

#1 – Her Darkest Nightmare

#2 – Hello Again

#3 – Face Off

#4 – Blindspot (coming August 2019)

14 thoughts on “Book Review: Face Off by Brenda Novak (The Evelyn Talbot Chronicles #3)

  1. Great review! I read Hello Again last year from NetGalley not initially realizing it was part of a series. I didn’t have any issues catching on, but I did fail to go back and read Her Darkest Nightmare. Now I’m torn…do I go for Face Off or do I pick up HDR first?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’d say go back and read it, if only for the conversations she has with a few of the psychopaths, they’re fascinating to read! Plus the fourth instalment isn’t out till August next year so you have plenty of time to read both!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I haven’t, I didn’t know about it prior to reading the first book. But I just downloaded it today for free from Novak’s website, it’s a novella, and from the synopsis, it doesn’t seem essential reading prior to the series. But I love Hanover House so I’m going to read it!

        Liked by 1 person

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