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Thursday, December 15, 2011

Ricochet by Sandra Brown



Back of the Book Blurb: 
#1 New York Times bestselling author Sandra Brown presents a spine-tingling story of murder and betrayal in high society Savannah, where a homicide detective finds his career—and life—on the line.
When Savannah detective Duncan Hatcher is summoned to an unusual crime scene, he knows discretion is key. Influential Judge Cato Laird’s beloved trophy wife, Elise, has fatally shot a burglar. She claims self-defense, but Duncan suspects she’s lying, and puts his career in jeopardy by investigating further. Then, in secret, Elise makes an incredible allegation, which he dismisses as the lie of a cunning woman trying to exploit his intense attraction to her. But when Elise goes missing, Duncan finds that trusting the wrong person could mean the difference between life and death for both of them.

Review:  I picked this up in an airport last weekend, and I believe it's the first Sandra Brown novel I've read.  Which is impressive, because she's got more than 70 novels in print under a couple of different names.  Ricochet is a character-driven mystery novel centering on Duncan, a detective with a rock-solid moral core and Elise, a beautiful trophy wife who may or may not have committed murder.  As Duncan investigates the shooting, he is increasingly attracted to and drawn in by the lovely and mysterious Elise.  Before long he is so besotted with her that he is willing to compromise the investigation and his own ethics and career just to spend time with her.  I believe in love at first sight, but this development was hard to swallow.  Duncan's uncontrollable lust makes him edgy and angry, and I just was not able to suspend belief enough to accept that Duncan would throw away a life of living honorably based on said lust.  Elise is constantly telling Duncan that the man she shot was actually hired by her husband to kill her - but she never tells Duncan why her husband wants her dead.  So even though he thinks she is lying and may be a murderer, Duncan is still secretly meeting Elise, listening to her version of the story and never tells his partner.  Okaaaay.
After 400 pages (400!!) we learn that Elise may not be a lying baddie after all.  But I've got to tell you that by then I kinda didn't care, and I forced myself to read the last 100+ pages.  I wasn't feeling the attraction between Duncan and Elise, the slowly unfolding mystery was still slowly unfolding, and learning that Elise had married her husband in order to (unsuccessfully) gather evidence against him made me think - WTF?  Three years of pretending to love a wealthy man, living as a trophy wife, and she has no proof of anything wrong, made me dislike Elise even more.  Once she proves to Duncan that she is telling the truth, he does a quick little backpedal and tells her that all those times he acted angry with her, he was actually falling in love, or as he says, "You haunted me".  As much as this is a well-crafted mystery it is also a love story, but with the unbelievable behavior of the hero and heroine, it was just not ringing true.  At the end every little detail is wrapped up, karma catches up with the bad guys, and Duncan and Elise are in love.

But what do I know?  I can't read Catherine Coulter's books either, and both she and Sandra Brown are huge, bestselling authors.


For more information about the author's 70 plus novels, check out her website at http://sandrabrown.net/.