Genre: Mystery and thrillers
Bellamy Lyston was only 12 years old when her older sister Susan was killed on a stormy Memorial Day. Bellamy’s fear of storms is a legacy of the tornado that destroyed the crime scene along with her memory of what really happened during the day’s most devastating moments.
Now, 18 years later, Bellamy has written a sensational, bestselling novel based on Susan’s murder. Because the book was inspired by the tragic event that still pains her family, she published it under a pseudonym to protect them from unwanted publicity. But when an opportunistic reporter for a tabloid newspaper discovers that the book is based on fact, Bellamy’s identity is exposed along with the family scandal.
Moreover, Bellamy becomes the target of an unnamed assailant who either wants the truth about Susan’s murder to remain unknown or, even more threatening, is determined to get vengeance for a man wrongfully accused and punished.
In order to identify her stalker, Bellamy must confront the ghosts of her past, including Dent Carter, Susan’s wayward and reckless boyfriend — and an original suspect in the murder case. Dent, with this and other stains on his past, is intent on clearing his name, and he needs Bellamy’s sealed memory to do it. But her safeguarded recollections -once unlocked-pose dangers that neither could foresee and puts both their lives in peril.
As Bellamy delves deeper into the mystery surrounding Susan’s slaying, she discovers disturbing elements of the crime which call into question the people she holds most dear. Haunted by partial memories, conflicted over her feelings for Dent, but determined to learn the truth, she won’t stop until she reveals Susan’s killer.
That is, unless Susan’s killer strikes her first…
‘Sexual tension fueled by mistrust between brash Denton and shy Bellamy smolders and sparks in teasing fashion throughout.’
‘A relentless pace and clever plot twists keep the pages turning.’
‘It’s a great, entertaining read, with lots of surprising twists and turns, credibly flawed characters and a love affair that’s as steamy as a Savannah summer.’
‘A masterful storyteller, carefully crafting tales that keep readers on the edge of their seats.’
‘Millions of readers clamour for the compelling novels of Sandra Brown. And no wonder! She fires your imagination with irresistible characters, unexpected plot twists, scandalous secrets… so electric you feel the zing.’
‘Brown’s novels define the term page turner.’
When her four year old daughter informs her a sick man is in their yard, Honor Gillette rushes out to help him. But that "sick" man turns out to be Lee Coburn, the man accused of murdering seven people the night before. Dangerous, desperate, and armed, he promises Honor that she and her daughter won't be hurt as long as she does everything he asks. She has no choice but to accept him at his word.
But Honor soon discovers that even those close to her can't be trusted. Coburn claims that her beloved late husband possessed something extremely valuable that places Honor and her daughter in grave danger. Coburn is there to retrieve it – at any cost. From FBI offices in Washington, D.C., to a rundown shrimp boat in coastal Louisiana, Coburn and Honor run for their lives from the very people sworn to protect them, and unravel a web of corruption and depravity that threatens not only them, but the fabric of our society
New York Times bestselling author Sandra Brown returns with a tale of corruption and betrayal, revenge and reversal – where friends become foes, and heroes become criminals in the ultimate abuse of power.
When newswoman Britt Shelley wakes up to find herself in bed with Jay Burgess, a rising star detective in the Charleston PD, she remembers nothing of how she got there…or of how Jay wound up dead.
Handsome and hard-partying, Jay was a hero of the disastrous fire that five years earlier had destroyed Charleston 's police headquarters. The blaze left seven people dead, but the death toll would have been much higher if not for the bravery of Jay and three other city officials who risked their lives to lead others to safety.
Firefighter Raley Gannon, Jay's lifelong friend, was off-duty that day. Though he might not have been a front-line hero, he was assigned to lead the investigation into the cause of the fire. It was an investigation he never got to complete. Because on one calamitous night, Raley's world was shattered.
Scandalized, wronged by the people he trusted most, Raley was forced to surrender the woman he loved and the work to which he'd dedicated his life. For five years his resentment against the men who exploited their hero status to further their careers – and ruin his – had festered, but he was helpless to set things right.
That changes when he learns of Jay Burgess's shocking death and Britt Shelley's claim that she has no memory of her night with him. As the investigation into Jay's death intensifies, and suspicion against Britt Shelley mounts, Raley realizes that the newswoman, Jay's last sexual conquest, might be his only chance to get personal vindication – and justice for the seven victims of the police station fire.
But there are powerful men who don't want to address unanswered questions about the fire and who will go to any lengths to protect their reputations. As Raley and Britt discover more about what happened that fateful day, the more perilous their situation becomes, until they're not only chasing after the truth but running for their lives.
Friends are exposed as foes, heroes take on the taint of criminals, and no one can be trusted completely. A tale about audacious corruption – and those with the courage to expose it – Smoke Screen is Sandra Brown's most searing and intense novel yet.
#1 New York Times bestselling author Sandra Brown is backwith a gripping story of obsession and its deadly consequences.
After five long years in federal prison, Griff Burkett is a free man. But the disgraced Cowboys quarterback can never return to life as he knew it before he was caught cheating. In a place where football is practically a religion, Griff committed a cardinal sin, and no one is forgiving.
Foster Speakman, owner and CEO of SunSouth Airlines, and his wife, Laura, are a golden couple. Successful and wealthy, they lived a charmed life before fate cruelly intervened and denied them the one thing they wanted most – a child. It's said that money can't buy everything. But it can buy a disgraced football player fresh out of prison and out of prospects.
The job Griff agrees to do for the Speakmans demands secrecy. But he soon finds himself once again in the spotlight of suspicion. An unsolved murder comes back to haunt him in the form of his nemesis, Stanley Rodarte, who has made Griff's destruction his life's mission. While safeguarding his new enterprise, Griff must also protect those around him, especially Laura Speakman, from Rodarte's ruthlessness. Griff stands to gain the highest payoff he could ever imagine, but cashing in on it will require him to forfeit his only chance for redemption…and love.
Griff is now playing a high-stakes game, and at the final whistle, one player will be dead.
Play Dirty is Sandra Brown's wildest ride yet, with hairpin turns of plot all along the way. The clock is ticking down on a fallen football star, who lost everything because of the way he played the game. Now his future – his life – hinges on one last play.
From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. No one does steamy suspense like Brown (Chill Factor), as shown by this expert mix of spicy romance and sharply crafted crime drama. Det. Sgt. Duncan Hatcher, a sexy Savannah homicide cop, falls hard for Elise Laird, a dishy damsel-in-distress, the moment he spots her at a police awards dinner. Too bad she's married to Judge Cato Laird, who consistently subverts Hatcher's efforts to bring local drug lord Robert Savich to justice. When Hatcher and his feisty partner, Det. DeeDee Bowen, are called to the Laird home after Elise supposedly shoots an intruder in self-defense, the desperate trophy wife confides to Hatcher that she believes her husband, a secret Savich crony, intended her to be the intruder's victim. Later, as the uncertain Hatcher grapples with his desires, Elise vanishes, leaving behind another dead body. Tight plotting, a hot love story with some nice twists and a credible ending help make this a stand-out thriller. (Aug.)
From The Washington Post
My criteria for book reviewing are pretty clear: Did I believe the characters? Was it a good story, well told? Did I want to put the book down or keep reading? Bottom line, would I read another book by this author?
For Ricochet, my answer to these questions is a resounding yes. It's a great, entertaining read, with lots of surprising twists and turns, credibly flawed characters and a love affair that's as steamy as a Savannah summer.
Hunky yet sensitive Detective Duncan Hatcher is called to investigate the gorgeous and wildly manipulative Elise Laird when she kills a burglar in her elegant home, supposedly in self-defense. Complicating the case is that Mrs. Laird is the trophy wife of a patrician judge who dislikes our hero. Worse, her account of the murder is somewhere between sketchy and laughable.
Hatcher finds himself falling for the mysterious Mrs. Laird, even as he uncovers each new fact that seems to suggest that the murder was intentional and the burglar, Gary Ray Trotter, no stranger. Hatcher doubts Mrs. Laird's increasingly weak explanations, but he still can't help thinking about her body. Here's Mrs. Laird explaining her case to him:
" 'I'd been expecting it for several months. Not a burglary, specifically. But something. This was the moment I'd been dreading.' She pressed her fist against the center of her chest, right above her heart, pulling the fabric of her T-shirt tight across her breasts. 'I knew, Detective. I knew.' Whispering that, she raised her head and looked up at him. 'Gary Ray Trotter wasn't a thief I caught in the act. He was there to kill me.'
" Duncan pinched the bridge of his nose and closed his eyes as though concentrating hard, trying to work out the details in his mind. Actually, he had to do something to keep from drowning in those damn eyes of hers or becoming fixated on her breasts. He wanted to haul her up against him, kiss her, and see if her mouth delivered as promised. Instead, he pinched the skin between his eye sockets until it hurt like hell. It helped him to refocus. Some."
Then he finds out she used to be a topless dancer. How great is that?
You've seen this femme-fatale plotline before, of course, but it's terrific when it's well done, as it is here. Mrs. Laird may be a double-crossing dame, but she's no dummy, though to tell more would ruin the fun. The storyline is updated by the presence of Detective DeeDee Bowen, Hatcher's no-nonsense female partner. Naturally, Bowen suspects every scheming inch of Mrs. Laird and calls Hatcher on his crush with your basic snap-out-of-it speech. Leave it to a woman to add that touch of testosterone.
The cat-and-mouse relationship between Hatcher and Mrs. Laird kept me turning the pages, and when the mystery blonde vanished in the middle of the novel, I found myself worried about her, even though I wasn't sure I liked her or her employment history. Still, I was happy to be kept guessing until the end, which came as a genuine surprise.
My only quibble is that this bestselling author sometimes settles for phrases such as "copious notes" and even "silver-tongued." She's a better writer than that, and I'm enough of a Strunk and White fan to want her to avoid clichés.
But I'm also a Sandra Brown fan, thanks to Ricochet.
Reviewed by Lisa Scottoline
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