Reviewed by Karin of Savvythinker
Sandra Brown has a prolific imagination, and the good thing is that every book seems fresh, no re-runs. How she does it is anyone's guess. Lethal is no exception.
I chose this book, given to me by LRP to review. I generally like Sandra Brown's books. I just don't want her romantic suspense to go too graphic in violence.
Lethal opens with action right in the thick of things. And the action is non-stop from there.
Honor Gillette is the widow of a police officer, and she is home alone with her precocious 4 year old daughter, Emily, planning a birthday party for Stan, her father-in-law, when Emily spots a man lying in their yard. When Honor goes to investigate, he turns out to be Lee Coburn, who is accused of a mass murder at a local trucking company. In a matter of seconds he has taken her hostage, using her young daughter as his way of keeping her in line. He is armed and dangerous, but he promises not to hurt her or her daughter if she does exactly as he asks.
And she does and doesn't.
But is he part of the problem or part of the solution? Did he murder the men or was he a witness? And who are all the corrupt officials and police officers, if they are? And are some of them supposed friends of Honors? And was her husband corrupt too? And was he murdered or was his death an accident? And how does Stan figure in?
Honor quickly realizes she must find the answers to these questions, because in the meantime, if Coburn is correct, someone -- or many someones -- are out to kill her and her daughter, to keep whatever her husband might have given her, if he did, a secret.
It is especially hard to find, because she has no idea that she has it or what it might be. And first she must convince Coburn of this -- and others would be less likely to take her word for it, but would try to torture her to get it.
Complicating matters is The Bookkeeper, merciless in all aspects, who is running the show, and The Bookkeeper does not leave witnesses. One of the enforcers is good (bad as the case may be) with a razor.
What's at stake:
The Bookkeeper is trafficking for prostitution using the Interstate and corrupt officials who look the other way when shipments of young men and women come through. Those who try to escape are taken out by the above enforcer or in other ways.
The murders in the warehouse take place off page. Some of the razor action does not. Other violence occurs, shooting at close range; an explosion; etc.
Friendship and love:
Honor ultimately relies on her friend Tori, who is a good friend indeed. While she has had a colorful life, there's no question she will do what it takes to keep Honor safe. She contacts a new gentleman friend and asks him to lend her $1 million dollars for a ransom, if it is needed. (I would love to read a book about these two.) He proves himself to be a friend and lover to her, no questions asked and nothing brooked to the bad guys. And Tori is smart enough to realize she is being watched.
Even the man with the razor is not all bad. He has redeeming qualities.
There is a severely handicapped boy, the son of one of the officers, who is cared for at home. There is some discussion about how hard this is to do, as well as how it affects their marriage.
I won't give it away. It's like an ending, then another ending, then an epilogue -- very clever indeed, and the actual ending is very satisfying, clever, and up for grabs, which makes it even more clever.
Does it get any better than this?
The plot is complicated, but woven together nicely. I guessed some of the plot, but it is spelled out clearly by about half way through the book. The question then becomes staying alive and taking down the operation and the bad guys. I did not guess the hiding place, but I thought I had.
I did my usual, reading the end, skipping back some, hesitant to read my way through, even knowing where it was going, taking it in bits and pieces, because it was scary, just the same.
Have you read it?