Play Dirty

( 192 )

Overview

After five long years in federal prison, Griff Burkett is a free man. But the disgraced Cowboys quarterback can never return to life as he knew it before he was caught cheating. In a place where football is practically a religion, Griff committed a cardinal sin, and no one is forgiving.

Foster Speakman, owner and CEO of SunSouth Airlines, and his wife, Laura, are a golden couple. Successful and wealthy, they lived a charmed life before fate cruelly intervened and denied them the...

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Play Dirty: A Novel

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Overview

After five long years in federal prison, Griff Burkett is a free man. But the disgraced Cowboys quarterback can never return to life as he knew it before he was caught cheating. In a place where football is practically a religion, Griff committed a cardinal sin, and no one is forgiving.

Foster Speakman, owner and CEO of SunSouth Airlines, and his wife, Laura, are a golden couple. Successful and wealthy, they lived a charmed life before fate cruelly intervened and denied them the one thing they wanted most -- a child. It's said that money can't buy everything. But it can buy a disgraced football player fresh out of prison and out of prospects.

The job Griff agrees to do for the Speakmans demands secrecy. But he soon finds himself once again in the spotlight of suspicion. An unsolved murder comes back to haunt him in the form of his nemesis, Stanley Rodarte, who has made Griff's destruction his life's mission. While safeguarding his new enterprise, Griff must also protect those around him, especially Laura Speakman, from Rodarte's ruthlessness. Griff stands to gain the highest payoff he could ever imagine, but cashing in on it will require him to forfeit his only chance for redemption...and love.

Griff is now playing a high-stakes game, and at the final whistle, one player will be dead.

Play Dirty is Sandra Brown's wildest ride yet, with hairpin turns of plot all along the way. The clock is ticking down on a fallen football star, who lost everything because of the way he played the game. Now his future -- his life -- hinges on one last play.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

The seven deadly sins help propel this provocative, sex-fueled thriller from bestseller Brown (Ricochet). Foster Speakman, an eccentric Texas paraplegic millionaire, offers $500,000 to Griff Burkett, a disgraced former NFL quarterback fresh out of prison after serving a five-year sentence for racketeering, to impregnate Foster's wife, Laura. Foster insists the child be conceived naturally ("The way God intended"). Broke with no prospects, Griff takes the job. Meanwhile, Stanley Rodarte, the crooked detective behind Griff's arrest, is bent on pinning an unsolved murder on him and takes to terrorizing Griff and those close to him in the hopes of nailing him when he self-destructs. After Griff's stint as stud takes a bad turn, the ex-footballer must track down the one man who can secure his freedom. The tension builds as lust, greed, pride, wrath and envy threaten to undo everyone in this tightly told tale of modern temptation. (Aug.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Kirkus Reviews
Fallen gridiron great, fresh out of prison, reluctantly agrees to impregnate the wife of a disabled millionaire. After doing five years for throwing a game to settle a gambling debt with a crime syndicate, former Dallas Cowboy Griff Burkett knows his employment options are limited. A social pariah, the one-time hero quarterback is despised by the very public that once worshipped him. Still, he understandably balks when wheelchair-bound airline mogul Foster Speakman taps the ex-con for a most indecent proposal: knock-up his wife Laura; keep the baby's real paternity a secret; walk away with millions. The gig sounds too good to be true, and the fact that Speakman insists on a "natural" conception rather than artificial means that something is not quite right. For his part, Griff does need the money, and Mrs. Speakman, while not exactly his usual type, is certainly easy on the eyes. The two have several meetings, and devoted wife Laura immediately finds herself torn with guilt over the infidelity, but also stirred by the feelings hunky Griff brings out in her. Meanwhile, Griff is being tailed by Detective Rodarte, a twisted cop who will stop at nothing (rape, murder) to see Griff back in jail or dead. After an especially passionate interlude with Griff, Laura conceives, but her joy is short-lived as her husband meets a sudden grisly end, with Griff implicated in his death. Griff is then forced to go on the run to find a witness to clear his name-before Rodarte does. He abducts the only slightly unwilling Laura to aid him in his plan, and is amazed when he realizes that staying off death row doesn't seem to matter as much as protecting her and their unborn child. He's a changed man, and Griffand Laura's psychologically complex grown-up relationship is a pleasant surprise that sets the stage for the bloody finish. Solid, satisfying thriller from the prolific Brown (Ricochet, 2006 etc.).
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780743561471
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
  • Publication date: 8/14/2007
  • Format: MP3
  • Edition description: Abridged
  • Ships to U.S.and APO/FPO addresses only.

Meet the Author

Sandra Brown

Sandra Brown is the author of fifty-seven New York Times bestsellers, including Smoke Screen. Brown began her writing career in 1981 and since then has published over seventy novels, most of which remain in print. As of 1990, when Mirror Image made the New York Times bestseller list, each subsequent novel, including reprints of earlier books, have become Times bestsellers. Sandra and her husband, Michael Brown, live in Arlington, Texas.

Victor Slezak's films include The Siege, Just Cause, The Bridges of Madison County, and Beyond Rangoon. On television, he appeared in PBS's The Ponder Heart (director Martha Coolidge), and HBO's Path to War (director John Frankenheimer). His Broadway performances include Salome, with Al Pacino, Jackie: An American Life, and The Graduate, opposite Kathleen Turner.

Biography

In 1979, Sandra Brown lost her job at a television program and decided to give writing a try. She bought an armful of romance novels and writing books, set up a typewriter on a card table and wrote her first novel. Harlequin passed but Dell bit, and Brown was off and writing, publishing her works under an assortment of pseudonyms.

From such modest beginnings, Brown has evolved into multimillion publishing empire of one, the CEO of her own literary brand; she towers over the landscape of romantic fiction. Brown has used her growing clout to insist her publishers drop the bosom-and-biceps covers and has added more intricate subplots, suspense, and even unhappy endings to her work. The result: A near-constant presence on The New York Times bestsellers list. In 1992, she had three on the list at the same time, joining that exclusive club of Stephen King, Tom Clancy, J. K. Rowling, and Danielle Steel.

Her work in the mainstream realm has taken her readers into The White House, where the president's newborn dies mysteriously; the oil fields and bedrooms of a Dallas-like family dynasty; and the sexual complications surrounding an investigation into an evangelist's murder. Such inventions have made her a distinct presence in a crowded genre.

"Brown is perhaps best known now for her longer novels of romantic suspense. The basic outline for these stories has passionate love, lust, and violence playing out against a background of unraveling secrets and skeletons jumping out of family closets," wrote Barbara E. Kemp in the book Twentieth-Century Romance & Historical Writers . Kemp also praises Brown's sharp dialogue and richly detailed characters. "However, her greatest key to success is probably that she invites her readers into a fantasy world of passion, intrigue, and danger," she wrote. "They too can face the moral and emotional dilemmas of the heroine, safe in the knowledge that justice and love will prevail."

Critics give her points for nimble storytelling but are cooler to her "serviceable prose," in the words of one Publishers Weekly reviewer. Still, when writing a crack page-turner, the plot's the thing. A 1992 New York Times review placed Brown among a group of a writers "who have mastered the art of the slow tease."

Staggeringly prolific, Brown found her writing pace ground to a halt when she was given a different assignment. A magazine had asked her for an autobiographical piece, and it took her months to complete. Her life in the suburbs, though personally fulfilling, was nonetheless blander than fiction. That may be why she dives into her fiction writing with such workhorse gusto. "I love being the bad guy," she told Publishers Weekly in 1995, "simply because I was always so responsible, so predictable growing up. I made straight A's and never got into any trouble, and I still impose those standards on myself. So writing is my chance to escape and become the sleaziest, scummiest role."

When she started writing, her goal was always to break out of the parameters of romance. After about 45 romances, the woman who counts Tennessee Williams and Taylor Caldwell among her influences told The New York Times that felt she had reached a plateau. In fact, she doesn't even look at her books as romances anymore. "I think of my books now as suspense novels, usually with a love story incorporated," she said. "They're absolutely a lot harder to write than romances. They take more plotting and real character development. Each book is a stretch for me, and I try something interesting each time that males will like as well as women."

Good To Know

  • "I hate to exercise and only do so because I absolutely must."

  • "I love to eat and my favorite foods are all bad for the body. Fried chicken and gravy, TexMex, red meat (hey, I'm from Texas!). My only saving grace is that I'm not that fond of sweets. Salty is my thing. Chocolate cake and ice cream I can skip. But a bag of Fritos. . ."

  • "It takes me a long time to go to sleep, usually because I read in bed and hate to put down the book. But when I do nod off, I'm a champion sleeper. I can easily do eight or nine hours a night."

  • "My worst "thing" is mean-spirited people. People who deliberately belittle or embarrass someone really irk me. The people I admire most are the ones who find something good about even the most undesirable individual. That was a quality my mother had, the one I hope most to emulate."

  • "I have a fear of gravity. Recently my whole family went to Belize. We had several adventures. We tubed a river through miles of cave, wearing head lamps so we'd have illumination. No problem. I scaled Mayan ruins. I rode horseback (on a monster named Al Capone) through the rain forest. No problem. But I couldn't zip line. Even though my five-year-old grandsons did it with glee, I just couldn't make that leap."

  • "I and my husband are huge fans of Jeopardy! We never miss it if we can help it. Does that make us complete dorks?"

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      1. Also Known As:
        Laura Jordan, Rachel Ryan and Erin St. Claire
      2. Hometown:
        Arlington, TX
      1. Date of Birth:
        March 12, 1948
      2. Place of Birth:
        Waco, Texas
      1. Education:
        Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters, Texas Christian University, 2008
      2. Website:

    Read an Excerpt

    chapter

    1

    That it?"

    "That's it." Griff Burkett tossed a small duffel bag onto the backseat of the car, then got into the front passenger seat. "I didn't bring much with me. I'm sure as hell not taking souvenirs." He wanted no memorabilia from his stint in BIG -- official code name for the Federal Correctional Institute in Big Spring, Texas.

    He made himself comfortable on the plush leather, adjusted the air-conditioning vent to blow straight at him, then, realizing they weren't moving, looked over at the driver.

    "Seat belt."

    "Oh. Right." Griff stretched the belt across his chest and latched it. Tongue in cheek, he said, "Wouldn't want to break the law."

    As lawyers went, Wyatt Turner was okay. But if he possessed a sense of humor, he kept it under lock and key. He didn't crack a smile at Griff's wry remark.

    "Come on, Turner, lighten up," Griff said. "This is a special day."

    "Unfortunately, we're not the only ones commemorating it."

    Turner drew Griff's attention to an ugly, olive green car parked in a handicapped space. Illegally it seemed, since there was no tag hanging from the rearview mirror. Griff didn't recognize the make or model of the car because it was younger than five years old. Nothing distinguished the no-frills sedan except the man sitting behind the wheel.

    Griff cursed under his breath. "What's he doing here?"

    "It's been all over the news that you were being released today, but I don't think he brought champagne."

    "So why'd he come all this way to see little ol' me?"

    "I assume he wants to pick up where the two of you left off."

    "Fat chance."

    The object of their conversation, Stanley Rodarte, had parked where he couldn't be missed. He had wanted Griff to see him. And Griff would have recognized him anywhere, because Stanley Rodarte was one ugly son of a bitch. His face looked like it had been hacked out of oak with a chain saw, by a carver too impatient to smooth out the rough edges. Cheekbones as sharp as knife blades cast shadows across his ruddy, pockmarked skin. His hair was the color and texture of dirty straw. Behind the lenses of his opaque sunglasses, his eyes -- yellowish, as Griff recalled -- were no doubt trained on Griff with an enmity that even five years hadn't blunted.

    Griff shrugged with more indifference than he felt. "It's his time he's wasting."

    Sounding like the voice of doom, Turner said, "Obviously he doesn't think so."

    As they pulled closer to the other car, Griff flashed Rodarte a big grin, then raised his middle finger at him.

    "Jesus, Griff." Turner accelerated toward the prison gate. "What's the matter with you?"

    "He doesn't scare me."

    "Well, he should. If you had a lick of sense, he would scare you shitless. Apparently he hasn't forgotten about Bandy. Steer clear of him. I mean it. Are you listening? Do not cross him."

    "Am I gonna get billed for that unsolicited advice?"

    "No, that advice is on the house. It's for my protection as well as yours."

    Despite the blasting air conditioner, Griff lowered his window as Turner drove through the gates of the federal prison camp that had been his home for the past five years. The area in which he'd been incarcerated was classified minimum security, but it was still prison.

    "No offense to the folks in Big Spring, but I don't care to ever enter the city limits again," he remarked as they left the West Texas town and headed east on Interstate 20.

    The air was hot, dry, and gritty, perfumed by diesel and gasoline exhaust from the well-traveled highway, but it was free air, the first Griff had tasted in one thousand, eight hundred, and twenty-five days. He gulped it.

    "Feel good to be out?" his lawyer...

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    Customer Reviews

    Average Rating 4
    ( 192 )
    Rating Distribution

    5 Star

    (87)

    4 Star

    (53)

    3 Star

    (33)

    2 Star

    (10)

    1 Star

    (9)

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    See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 193 Customer Reviews
    • Anonymous

      Posted October 9, 2008

      One of her best

      I absolutely enjoyed this book. She didn't go with the usual formula and it was different. The ending was fabulous and surprising.

      13 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

      Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
    • Posted October 1, 2009

      I Also Recommend:

      Couldn't put it down

      I used to read lots of Sandra Brown's books, but felt they became a bit repetitive in their story line. I purchased this book and was pleasantly surprised. I enjoyed the 'less than perfect' character (Griff) and the overall plot. The author kept reeling me in for another twist, right when I thought I had it all figured out. I will put her books back on my "Must Read" list.

      11 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

      Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
    • Anonymous

      Posted August 15, 2009

      Great Reading

      This was a different from ordianary book. It was exciting to see that someone who made a mistake was willing to get his life turned around for the better in doing what was necessay in a logical manner with little or no violence and attaining his goal. it was very hard to sit down since every move you had to knw the outcome.

      6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

      Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
    • Anonymous

      Posted December 29, 2013

      Absolutely fantastic

      This was an excellent example of superb writing. The plots twists kept coming, the relationships were real and the action was nonstop. The main character Griff was flawed but trying to do better. The other characters all played their roles very well. The book was well-edited. Overall, a wonderful addition to my library!

      4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

      Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
    • Posted February 12, 2009

      more from this reviewer

      Sandra Brown does it again. A plot of intrigue, sex, love, and high-stakes game playing.

      Loved the main character, Griff Burkett. He finds himself down and out after spending time in jail for being less than honest. After release he has no money and no place to go. He finds himself in a crazy secret lucrative job offered by a airline millionaire and his wife. <BR/>Griff, a Dallas Cowboys superstar, is convicted of throwing a game for the mob. When he appears out of prison, all his previous loyal fans hate him and he has to cope from having been loved to now being hated.<BR/>Griff's character finds himself in a high stake game, redemption by his foster parents, love, and playing the last perfect play of his life.<BR/>I wanted to read the book as quickly as possible and lost some sleep.<BR/><BR/>Cherry Blossom

      3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

      Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
    • Posted November 17, 2008

      more from this reviewer

      I Also Recommend:

      Good read for a rainy day

      I actually read this on a snowy weekend, nevertheless it was a good read. I didn't feel the same anticipation or thrill but she did step outside the box with memory sequences. It kept you wondering what happened on 'that night'. Because of not knowing what happened I don't think I developed an attachment to the characters and their relationship. I always enjoy Sandra Brown's books and I appreciated the ending but this wasn't one of my favorites.

      3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

      Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
    • Anonymous

      Posted December 25, 2013

      Play dirty

      Its the best book ever make sure you buy it

      2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

      Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
    • Posted November 28, 2008

      LOved this book!

      It created mystery and tension as the plot thickened and continued to change

      2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

      Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
    • Anonymous

      Posted December 11, 2013

      A must read!!

      Get's an A+!

      1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

      Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
    • Anonymous

      Posted December 10, 2013

      Loved it!!

      Could put this book down

      1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

      Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
    • Anonymous

      Posted December 8, 2013

      Suspenseful!

      I wanted a book that was good from the very first page and this one delivered. Had me guessing until the end and then i was still suprised. Very good novel.

      1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

      Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
    • Anonymous

      Posted February 9, 2013

      Highly recommend

      Lots of fun to read and super sexy too

      1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

      Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
    • Anonymous

      Posted May 6, 2012

      My favorite!

      This was my first book to read by Sandra and I just couldn't put it down. It didn't turn out the way I expected either. This book has ranked Sandra as one of my more favorite aurhors! I look forward to reading more of her books.

      1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

      Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
    • Anonymous

      Posted March 22, 2012

      Great Book

      Sandra Brown still keeps you guessing and did a wonderful job with this book!

      1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted December 30, 2011

      Great

      Loved it

      1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    • Posted October 13, 2011

      Great

      One of her best:)

      1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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    • Posted July 22, 2009

      more from this reviewer

      WHO SAYS YOU CANNOT JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS COVER

      The title says it all. A good book. Not what you would expect in a murder mystery. Characters are interesting to say the least. Ending is expected but still fun to read.

      1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

      Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
    • Anonymous

      Posted March 26, 2014

      Good story

      A good read. Couldn't put it down.

      Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
    • Anonymous

      Posted March 23, 2014

      TO ALL GUYS

      See the post at 'erin hunter' res two

      Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
    • Anonymous

      Posted March 24, 2014

      Nila

      Mornin babe?

      Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
    See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 193 Customer Reviews

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