Review

Play Dirty

by Sandra Brown

Sandra Brown has created another superhero for those who love
their mysteries flavored with romance. Griff Burkett, former Dallas
Cowboy football icon, has just been released from prison after
serving five years for racketeering. In a state where football is
king, he was convicted of shaving points and conspiring with
mobsters to cheat his fans of imminent victory. There is no way
that he ever could serve enough time to redeem himself in the eyes
of most Texans. Yet, upon his release, one of the state's
wealthiest couples invites him to their estate and offers him a
job.

As owners of the innovative and successful SunSouth Airlines,
Foster and Laura Speakman are used to getting what they want, and
they have the means to pay for it. The simple task that they
require of Griff promises to pay him one-million dollars a year,
and it's all perfectly legal. With everyone else turning their
backs on him, the disgraced hero accepts their bizarre offer and
steps into a dangerous world where nothing is as it seems and
everyone plays dirty.

From the Speakmans to his old coach and foster father, from Stanley
Rodarte, a thug out to torment Griff in every possible way, to the
Vista boys who facilitated his downfall, all have secrets and
hidden agendas that serve to push Griff to the wall. He does not
want to return to prison and is doing his best to follow the rules
of his parole. Though debased in numerous ways by unforgiving
former fans and disregarded by those who once sought his favor,
Griff is determined to become a better person. He had time to do
some soul searching while behind bars and recognizes that, despite
his difficult childhood, he had been given the talent and
opportunity to do more with his life. Regardless of how everyone
else played, he is resolved to make the right choices and play
fair.

As the story unfolds, so do the complexities of Griff's deal with
the Speakmans as he finds himself increasingly drawn to Laura
Speakman. Though scorned by his public, Griff remains very much in
the public eye, his every move scrutinized not only by the tabloids
but also by Stanley Rodarte. He simply cannot afford to do anything
stupid; his freedom depends on it. Those of us romantics who enjoy
the genre have come to expect a happy ending, no matter how
complicated and impossible the situations become. Our reward is
that we get to watch a creative talent work out the details for us
and make it so.

Ever since Sandra Brown moved from straight romance to
mystery/romance, it has been difficult to find new ways to praise
her books. Yet, like fine wine, she continues to improve in subtle
ways. With PLAY DIRTY, I notice a definite change in how she uses
dialogue not only to define her characters but also to add a
delightful measure of humor so often missing in earlier works. I
don't know what Brown will do for an encore after this sure-to-be
bestseller, but I can be certain that it will not disappoint.

Play Dirty
by Sandra Brown

  • Publication Date: August 14, 2007
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery
  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • ISBN-10: 0743289358
  • ISBN-13: 9780743289351