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Book Review: Riccochet: A Novel January 8, 2008

Posted by battysgirl in Friends & Family.


Riccochet:  A Novel

Sandra Brown

Date: July 24, 2007—   $9.99—   Book

product page

Three and a quarter shiny stars. (of a possible four, of course)






From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. A sultry noir in contemporary clothes, this tight new thriller from Brown plays like measured chaos. The plot is twisting, the characters are well shaded, and Brown manipulates each string with a skilled hand, creating a story that will keep listeners puzzled and rapt. Narrator Boutsikaris is a perfect complement to the material. He lends the characters just enough twang to betray their Southern heritage but not so much as to make protagonist Duncan Hatcher seem anything less than a shrewd and hard-edged detective. And for Elise, the gorgeous but married damsel in distress who ties Duncan’s libido and loyalties into knots, Boutsikaris employs a lilting tone that simultaneously suggests sweetness, sin and mystery. Did Elise’s husband, a distinguished judge, hire someone to kill her, or is she involved in a plot with a drug dealer? Is Duncan making a mistake mistrusting Elise, or is his wariness the one thing that will save him? With Brown’s skill for creating rich, layered characters and Boutsikaris’s talent for embodying them, this audio doesn’t disappoint.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. –This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
From The Washington Post’s Book World/washingtonpost.com
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
Copyright 2006, The Washington Post. All Rights Reserved. –This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Batty’s Girl
I have quite a few books to review today, books that I’ve read since the last book I reviewed and didn’t get around to posting about.  Some of these books I read a few weeks ago, so forgive me if my review is short.

I wasn’t as fond of this one as I thought I would be.  I found Mrs. Laird to be too much in either direction.  She played both her roles SO well that neither one was believable any more.

At first, I liked the male lead, Hatcher but found his wavering between I’m a good person and I’m terrible for the decisions I’ve made got boring and trite.

A good book, not one of the best I’ve read from Sandra Brown but still better than most of the stuff out there 😉



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