Saturday, June 14, 2008

Smoke Screen-Sandra Brown

Smoke Screen
Sandra Brown
Simon & Schuster, Aug 2008, $26.95
ISBN: 9781416563068

TV reporter Britt Shelby wakes up one morning with her mind a total blank. Lying next to her is her friend Charlotte Police Detective Jay Burgess. She does not remember anything about the previous evening after they left the restaurant together, which makes no sense to her as she did not drink much. He told her he was dying and wanted to give her a confession that would make her a star in the big leagues if she chooses that route. When she realizes he is not moving because he died during the night, a stunned Britt calls the cops; who name her as a prime suspect in Jay’s murder.

Former firefighter Raley Gannon was involved in a scandal that cost him his vocation, his fiancée and the respect of the people close to him. Like Britt, he was caught up in a situation in which he didn’t recall what happened the night before. Hearing bits of her tale, Raley abducts Britt to hear her full story so they can compare notes. They conclude that someone slipped date rape drugs in their respective drinks five years apart. Both think that in her case it is to discredit her if Jay said anything about what the conspirators did. Raley was investigating an arson homicide case that involved cops. Together they may be able to clear their names and restore their reputations; that is if they can live long enough to do so with powerful people out to get hem.

Few authors can consistently keep the high quality level in their novels as Sandra Brown seems to always achieve. The lead pair is obstinate and to a degree obsessed with repairing their damaged reputations; although attracted to one another, both understand the inquiry comes first However, what makes this investigative thriller soar is the fully developed support cast whether they are the enemy or so called friends who turned in disgust against one of the stars. Ms. Brown is at the top of her game with this excellent thriller.

Harriet Klausner