Reading the latest Sandra Brown thriller is like sitting down with an old friend and listening to her tell you another great story. Unlike some prolific authors, Brown has not grown bored with her work. Nor has she taken her fans for granted by putting forth a merely nominal effort. While there is a definite pattern to her stories, they always go beyond what we've come to expect from one of our most entertaining writers.
It's true that we know the hero and heroine will be at odds with each other, but eventually a wild attraction will develop. There will be secrets that we wish would be brought out into the open, along with some juicy love-making sooner or later. If these predictable elements were not present, we, as thriller/romance fans, would be disappointed.However, Brown never fails to go beyond the expected with her settings, plots and characters. Whether she is writing about government officials, cowboys or lawyers, there are always characteristics that make them unique and memorable. Keeping her work fresh and exciting takes great effort, and I’m sure fans appreciate her commitment.
"As always, the characters are unique, three-dimensional and, in some cases, larger than life. So even the most faithful follower of Sandra Brown will not be able to predict how the action will play out. MEAN STREAK is another enjoyable respite from the world at large."
MEAN STREAK begins with the disappearance of Dr. Emory Charbonneau, a dedicated pediatrician and sincere promoter of worthy causes. Currently she is organizing a marathon to raise money for a charity that has never had a fund-raiser for its benefit. As a marathon runner herself, she is also preparing to test her own endurance by training on a difficult, mountainous trail. But someone has other plans for her and strikes her down during her run, leaving her to die on the trail.
We can be certain, though, that heroines do not die in the first chapter! Emory is carried, unconscious, to a log cabin off the trail and made comfortable by a darkly brooding man. When she awakens, she fears that the worst is yet to come. But, aside from the fact that he will not tell her anything about himself, he is caring and helpful, offering to let her stay in his shelter until the fog and ice clear enough to drive back down the mountain.
The story that follows has as many switchbacks as the treacherous road leading back to the trail-head where Emory began her run. Her disappearance causes concern, then fear in her husband, Jeff, and her clinic partners. When the police are brought in, they suspect foul play and look at Jeff as the logical perpetrator. Despite having an affair and being a pompous little piddle, he has an airtight alibi.We also find out that the mystery man is being sought by the FBI. Agent Jack Connell has spent four years trying to track him down and is no less diligent than Lt. Philip Gerard was in catching up to Richard Kimble in “The Fugitive.”
The suspense builds as the weather gets worse, and some backwoods (think Deliverance) brothers believe it would be fun to mess with the stranger in the log cabin. You get the idea. Will Emory be worse off if she stays, or if she takes her chances trying to escape? If her husband tried to kill her, would he notify the police and try to rescue her? As always, the characters are unique, three-dimensional and, in some cases, larger than life. So even the most faithful follower of Sandra Brown will not be able to predict how the action will play out. MEAN STREAK is another enjoyable respite from the world at large.
Reviewed by Maggie Harding on August 21, 2014