My rating: 4 of 5 stars
After my last dud of a thriller, I was in a specific mood...a Sandra Brown mood.
Sting is unapologetic fantasy wish fulfillment but when it comes from the keyboard of Sandra Brown, I rarely care. I'm a junkie for her romantic suspense because she knows how to write a page burner. From the palpable zing of her plot twists to the scorching tension between hero/heroine, she takes you right to the edge of dangerous territory before showing you her hand. It is something that you have to experience to understand.
When professional hit-man, Shaw Kinnard (view spoiler)[Please, this is a SB book. Heroes are never men who do wet-work - no antiheroes to be worried about here. Just deep undercover,people. Oh, and this is not the plot twist. Plot twists cannot be seen from a mile away...take note wannabes (hide spoiler)], abducts Jordie Bennett to negotiate an increase to his fee, he surmises pretty quickly that he'd do anything to protect her from the man that wants her dead.
Jordie would do anything to make sure she survives. Finding out why her brother, Josh, is on the lam is important to her but returning him to the care of the FBI who is protecting him after he turned informant on the very man that wants her dead, is even moreso.
Murder and running and chasing and tracking ensue. Jordie has her moments (view spoiler)[Stabbing her captor, Shaw, with a rusty broken propeller blade is a particularly good one -- you thought this romance would include a case of Stockholm? Uh, no. Just to the edge of dangerous, I said. This, before she knew he was FBI...he had to get the information out of her someway. SB had to set up the bad boy before the heart of gold reveal, you know how it goes with wish fulfillment. (hide spoiler)] but she has her secrets too and just like falling dominoes, they tumble out one by one until the end.
And, I have to say this, SB is great with her mystery, but I would be remiss if I didn't mention how insanely hot her the sexual tension is - I'm warning you for your health because it is ratcheted up to the nth degree. Buyer beware of the anticipation, I've encountered few writers who handle this so well.
This is a formula book, absolutely. The saving grace in a formula book is that there are still surprises and points in it's favor - I didn't guess the result of the mystery even though I'm very familiar with SB's formula, so that's a point. The cops and other agents who are actually doing their job to track all perpetrators were actually likeable and not idiots, so that's a point. For the most part SB steers clear of things she has no knowledge about, she doesn't get into procedure, doesn't over complicate the motive or try to be overly clever with the plot - that's a point. I just can't give it all the stars because it is what it is and I've read a variation on her theme in the double digits.
All in all, it's a fun piece of escapist fiction with a level of professional writing that I really appreciate in a mass marketed book.
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