Ricochet

( 88 )

Overview

#1 New York Times bestselling author Sandra Brown presents a spine-tingling story of murder and betrayal in high society Savannah, where a homicide detective finds his career — and life — on the line.

When Savannah detective Duncan Hatcher is summoned to an unusual crime scene, he knows discretion is key. Influential Judge Cato Laird's beloved trophy wife, Elise, has fatally shot a burglar. She claims self-defense, but Duncan suspects she's lying, and puts his career in jeopardy...

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Ricochet: A Novel

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Overview

#1 New York Times bestselling author Sandra Brown presents a spine-tingling story of murder and betrayal in high society Savannah, where a homicide detective finds his career — and life — on the line.

When Savannah detective Duncan Hatcher is summoned to an unusual crime scene, he knows discretion is key. Influential Judge Cato Laird's beloved trophy wife, Elise, has fatally shot a burglar. She claims self-defense, but Duncan suspects she's lying, and puts his career in jeopardy by investigating further. Then, in secret, Elise makes an incredible allegation, which he dismisses as the lie of a cunning woman trying to exploit his intense attraction to her. But when Elise goes missing, Duncan finds that trusting the wrong person could mean the difference between life and death for both of them.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A stand-out thriller.... No one does steamy suspense like Brown." — Publishers Weekly

"A masterful storyteller." — USA Today

Lisa Scottoline
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.
— The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
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. Simultaneous release with the S&S hardcover (Reviews, June 19). (Aug.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Detective Duncan Hatcher really doesn't believe the tale spun by Elise Laird, the pretty young wife of Judge Cato Laird, when she kills a man who has broken into the house. Her next story is a real doozie. With a four-city tour. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Dedicated Savannah cop finds himself dangerously smitten by a sexy-and married-suspect. Even before laying eyes on the man's stunning blond wife, Elise, Duncan Hatcher had reason to resent Judge Cato Laird. It was Laird who declared a mistrial in the murder case of ruthless crimelord Robert Savich, ruining months of Duncan's hard work, and putting a very bad man back on the streets. That is why the homicide detective is justifiably ambivalent when summoned to Laird's opulent mansion one night after Elise shoots-through the heart-a man who appears to be a burglar. Something about her story does not ring true to Duncan, or his intuitive partner DeeDee Bowen. As the investigation moves forward, Elise, a one-time topless waitress, approaches Duncan, alone, claiming that the bungled robbery attempt was actually a plot by her husband to have her killed. That seems hard to believe, since the judge certainly acts like he adores her. And while she will not say why he would want her dead, she still appeals to the cop for his help. Duncan then finds himself on a slippery slope of desire and duty as even his devoted partner wonders whether he can keep it in his pants long enough to uncover the truth. Meanwhile, a private investigator hired by Laird goes missing, and photographs surface of Elise meeting secretly with the pimp-smooth Savich. Clearly, Elise has much to hide, causing Duncan to wonder if she is an icy femme fatale hired to take him down, or the victim of a far-reaching criminal conspiracy who's in need of his protection. Brown's latest (Chill Factor, 2005, etc.) sags a bit in the middle with its laughable cop-show dialogue, but there are enough twists to keep fans guessing. An ablethriller featuring a squared-jawed cop and a shifty dame. Doubleday Book Club/Literary Guild main selection; Mystery Guild featured alternate selection
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781416523321
  • Publisher: Pocket Books
  • Publication date: 7/24/2007
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 544
  • Sales rank: 140,359
  • Product dimensions: 4.60 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 1.20 (d)

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.

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

    Ricochet

    A Novel
    By Sandra Brown

    Simon & Schuster

    Copyright © 2006 Sandra Brown
    All right reserved.

    ISBN: 0743289331

    From Chapter 3

    There hadn't been a peep out of Savich since the severed tongue incident. The lab at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation had confirmed that it had indeed belonged to Freddy Morris, but that left them no closer to pinning his murder on Savich.

    Savich was free. He was free to continue his lucrative drug trafficking, free to kill anyone who crossed him. And Duncan knew that somewhere on Savich's agenda, he was an annotation. Probably his name had a large asterisk beside it.

    He tried not to dwell on it. He had other cases, other responsibilities, but it gnawed at him constantly that Savich was out there, biding his time, waiting for the right moment to strike. These days Duncan exercised a bit more caution, was a fraction more vigilant, never went anywhere unarmed. But it wasn't really fear he felt. More like anticipation.

    On this night, that supercharged feeling of expectation was keeping him awake. He'd sought refuge from the restlessness by playing his piano. In the darkness of his living room, he was tinkering with a tune of his own composition when his telephone rang.

    He glanced at the clock. Work. Nobody calledat 1:34 in the morning to report that there hadn't been a killing. He answered on the second ring. "Yeah?"

    Early in their partnership, he and DeeDee had made a deal. She would be the first one called if they were needed at the scene of a homicide. Between the two of them, he was the one more likely to sleep through a ringing telephone. She was the caffeine junkie and a light sleeper by nature.

    He expected the caller to be her and it was. "Were you asleep?" she asked cheerfully.

    "Sort of."

    "Playing the piano?"

    "I don't play the piano."

    "Right. Well, stop whatever it is you're doing. We're on."

    "Who iced whom?"

    "You won't believe it. Pick me up in ten."

    "Where -- " But he was talking to air. She'd hung up.

    He went upstairs, dressed, and slipped on his holster. Within two minutes of his partner's call, he was in his car.

    He lived in a town house in the historic district of downtown, only blocks from the police station -- the venerable redbrick building known to everyone in Savannah as "the Barracks."

    At this hour, the narrow, tree-shrouded streets were deserted. He eased through a couple of red lights on his way out Abercorn Street. DeeDee lived on a side street off that main thoroughfare in a neat duplex with a tidy patch of yard. She was pacing it when he pulled up to the curb.

    She got in quickly and buckled her seat belt. Then she cupped her armpits in turn. "I'm already sweating like a hoss. How can it be this hot and sticky at this time of night?"

    "Lots of things are hot and sticky at this time of night."

    "You've been hanging around with Worley too much."

    He grinned. "Where to?"

    "Get back on Abercorn."

    "What's on the menu tonight?"

    "A shooting."

    "Convenience store?"

    "Brace yourself." She took a deep breath and expelled it. "The home of Judge Cato Laird."

    Duncan whipped his head toward her, and only then remembered to brake. The car came to an abrupt halt, pitching them both forward before their seat belts restrained them.

    "That's the sum total of what I know," she said in response to his incredulity. "I swear. Somebody at the Laird house was shot and killed."

    "Did they say -- "

    "No. I don't know who."

    Facing forward again, he dragged his hand down his face, then took his foot off the brake and applied it heavily to the accelerator. Tires screeched, rubber burned as he sped along the empty streets.

    It had been two weeks since the awards dinner, but in quiet moments, and sometimes even during hectic ones, he would experience a flashback to his encounter with Elise Laird. Brief as it had been, tipsy as he'd been, he recalled it vividly: the features of her face, the scent of her perfume, the catch in her throat when he'd said what he had. What a jerk. She was a beautiful woman who had done nothing to deserve the insult. To think she might be dead . . .

    He cleared his throat. "I don't know where I'm going."

    "Ardsley Park. Washington Street." DeeDee gave him the address. "Very ritzy."

    He nodded.

    "You okay, Duncan?"

    "Why wouldn't I be?"

    "I mean, do you feel funny about this?"

    "Funny?"

    "Come on," she said with asperity. "The judge isn't one of your favorite people."

    "Doesn't mean I hope he's dead."

    "I know that. I'm just saying."

    He shot her a hard look. "Saying what?"

    "See? That's what I'm talking about. You overreact every time his name comes up. He's a raw nerve with you."

    "He gave Savich a free pass and put me in jail."

    "And you made an ass of yourself with his wife," she said, matching his tone. "You still haven't told me what you said to her. Was it that bad?"

    "What makes you think I said something bad?"

    "Because otherwise you would have told me."

    He took a corner too fast, ran a stop sign.

    "Look, Duncan, if you can't treat this like any other investigation, I need to know."

    "It is any other investigation."

    But when he turned onto Washington and saw in the next block the emergency vehicles, his mouth went dry. The street was divided by a wide median of sprawling oak trees and camellia and azalea bushes. On both sides were stately homes built decades earlier by old money.

    He honked his way through the pajama-clad neighbors clustered in the street, and leaned on the horn to move a video cameraman and a reporter who were setting up their shot of the immaculately maintained lawn and the impressive Colonial house with the four fluted columns supporting the second-story balcony. People out for a Sunday drive might slow down to admire the home. Now it was the scene of a fatal shooting.

    "How'd the television vans get here so fast? They always beat us," DeeDee complained.

    Duncan brought his car to a stop beside the ambulance and got out. Immediately he was assailed with questions from onlookers and reporters. Turning a deaf ear to them, he started toward the house. "You got gloves?" he asked DeeDee over his shoulder. "I forgot gloves."

    "You always do. I've got spares."

    DeeDee had to take two steps for every one of his as he strode up the front walkway, lined on both sides with carefully tended beds of begonias. Crime scene tape had already been placed around the house. The beat cop at the door recognized them and lifted the tape high enough for them to duck under. "Inside to the left," he said.

    "Don't let anyone set foot on the lawn," Duncan instructed the officer. "In fact, keep everybody on the other side of the median."

    "Another unit is on the way to help contain the area."

    "Good. Forensics?"

    "Got here quick."

    "Who called the press?"

    The cop shrugged in reply.

    Duncan entered the massive foyer. The floor was white marble with tiny black squares placed here and there. A staircase hugged a curving wall up to the second floor. Overhead was a crystal chandelier turned up full. There was an enormous arrangement of fresh flowers on a table with carved gilded legs that matched the tall mirror above it.

    "Niiiiice," DeeDee said under her breath.

    Another uniformed policeman greeted them by name, then motioned with his head toward a wide arched opening to the left. They entered what appeared to be the formal living room. The fireplace was pink marble. Above the mantel was an ugly oil still life of a bowl of fresh vegetables and a dead rabbit. A long sofa with a half dozen fringed pillows faced a pair of matching chairs. Between them was another table with gold legs. A pastel carpet covered the polished hardwood floor, and all of it was lighted by a second chandelier.

    Judge Laird, his back to them, was sitting in one of the chairs.

    Realizing the logical implication of seeing the judge alive, Duncan felt his stomach drop.

    The judge's elbows were braced on his knees, his head down. He was speaking softly to a cop named Crofton, who was balanced tentatively on the edge of the sofa cushion, as though afraid he might get it dirty.

    "Elise went downstairs, but that wasn't unusual," Duncan heard the judge say in a voice that was ragged with emotion. He glanced up at the policeman and added, "Chronic insomnia."

    Crofton looked sympathetic. "What time was this? That she went downstairs."

    "I woke up, partially, when she left the bed. Out of habit, I glanced at the clock on the night table. It was twelve thirty-something. I think." He rubbed his forehead. "I think that's right. Anyway, I dozed off again. The . . . the shots woke me up."

    He was saying that someone other than he had shot and killed his wife. Who else was in this house tonight? Duncan wondered.

    "I raced downstairs," he continued. "Ran from room to room. I was . . . frantic, a madman. I called her name. Over and over. When I got to the study . . ." His head dropped forward again. "I saw her there, slumped behind the desk."

    Duncan felt as though a fist had closed around his throat. He was finding it hard to breathe.

    DeeDee nudged him. "Dothan's here."

    Dr. Dothan Brooks, medical examiner for Chatham County, was a fat man and made no apology for it. He knew better than anyone that fatty foods could kill you, but he defiantly ate the worst diet possible. He said that he'd seen far worse ways to die than complications from obesity. Considering the horrific manners of death he'd seen over the course of his own career, Duncan thought he might have a point.

    As the ME approached them, he removed the latex gloves from his hands and used a large white handkerchief to mop his sweating forehead, which had taken on the hue of a raw steak. "Detectives." He always sounded out of breath and probably was.

    "You beat us here," DeeDee said.

    "I don't live far." Looking around, he added with a trace of bitterness, "Definitely at the poorer edge of the neighborhood. This is some place, huh?"

    "What have we got?"

    "A thirty-eight straight through the heart. Frontal entry. Exit wound in the back. Death was instantaneous. Lots of blood, but, as shootings go, it was fairly neat."

    To cover his discomposure, Duncan took the pair of latex gloves DeeDee passed him.

    "Can we have a look-see?" she asked.

    Brooks stepped aside and motioned them toward the end of the long foyer. "In the study." As they walked, he glanced overhead. "I could send one of my kids to an Ivy League college for what that chandelier cost."

    "Who else has been in there?" DeeDee asked.

    "The judge. First cops on the scene. Swore they didn't touch anything. I waited on your crime scene boys, didn't go in till they gave me the go-ahead. They're still in there, gathering trace evidence and trying to get a name off the guy."

    "Guy?" Duncan stopped in his tracks. "The shooter is in custody?"

    Dothan Brooks turned and looked at the two of them with perplexity. "Hasn't anybody told y'all what happened here?"

    "Obviously not," DeeDee replied.

    "The dead man in the study was an intruder," he said. "Mrs. Laird shot him. She's your shooter."

    Movement at the top of the staircase drew their gazes upward. Elise Laird was making her way down the stairs followed by a policewoman in uniform.

    Copyright © 2006 by Sandra Brown Management Ltd.

    Continues...


    Excerpted from Ricochet by Sandra Brown Copyright © 2006 by Sandra Brown. Excerpted by permission.
    All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
    Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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    Introduction

    Reading Group Guide

    SUMMARY:

    Elisa Laird is her husband's pride and joy. A trophy wife ten years his junior, she ably performs the societal duties that her husband's career dictates. Nothing is more important to Judge Laird than his station in the community. And his three passions are well known: his golf game, his bench, and his wife. So when homicide detectives Duncan Hatcher and his partner Dee Dee Bowen are summoned to the Laird's home in the middle of the night, they know that discretion and a quick, thorough investigation are the keys to keeping their jobs. Elise and the Judge claim that Elise fired her pistol at a man who was burglarizing her husband's study. It's an open and shut case, at first glance. But Elise is acting strange. Dee Dee doesn't fall for her "victim" act, instead seeing Elise as a beautiful manipulator whose actions just don't make sense. Despite himself and his partner's warnings, Duncan finds himself falling for the frightened woman, and jeopardizing his own life to find out whether the Judge has hidden reasons for his wife to "disappear."

    It's a deadly game filled with lies, seductions, and tragic pasts. Duncan and Elise may spend their lives looking over their shoulders, if they can survive each other's betrayals . . .

    DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

    1. Water plays a large role in Ricochet. Find examples of the different forms of water found in the novel. Why does Ms. Brown choose to use water as such a prevalent image? What effect does it have on the story and for what might it be a metaphor? How does water help to build tension?
    2. Ms. Brown sets the story in Savannah, Georgia.Does the story have a "southern feel"? What would be the effect on the tale if it were set, for instance, in the desert or in snowy upstate New York? What role does location play, and what other details does Ms. Brown use to create atmosphere?
    3. There seems to be an underlying biblical meaning to the story. Duncan is the child of ministers and there are references made throughout the novel to such things as "redemption" and even to Elise rising from the dead. Discuss the novel as it relates to the bible. Who represents Satan, the snake, etc., and why? Who is "born again" and who gains redemption? Is there a Christ figure in the story?
    4. Although Duncan is a handsome man he doesn't have a girlfriend. What do you think he is waiting for? Beside her physical attributes, why is Duncan attracted to Elise? What does she represent to him? Do they have any similarities that might explain why they fall in love?
    5. Duncan plays the piano, yet he doesn't want anyone to know about his talent. Why is he so secretive about his passion? How does Ms. Brown use the piano to illuminate the development of Duncan's character?
    6. Compare and contrast Dee Dee and Elise. Why doesn't Dee Dee trust Elise? Could they be friends under different circumstances?
    7. Elise decides to marry Cato in order to get revenge for her brother's death. Why might her character do this? Are there any other ways she might have gotten information on Cato and Savich?
    8. Why does Duncan risk his career in order to catch Savich? Does he do it out of love, or does he have a sense of obligation or duty? Is there anything in his background that explains his determination?
    9. Many of the main characters in the novel are flawed, yet they could still be considered heroes. What makes a hero? Who do you think is the hero of Ricochet, and why? Who are the antagonists?
    10. What does power signify in the world of the story? Does each character have his or her own unique power? If so, discuss what they are and their ramifications.
    11. What is the message of the novel? Is revenge a good thing or a bad thing? Do you think Ms. Brown is saying that the end justifies the means? Give some examples of how this is illustrated in the story.

    ENHANCE YOUR BOOK CLUB:

    1. Ricochet is set in Georgia, so when discussing the novel treat yourselves to a meal at a southern restaurant. Or if there isn't one nearby, try making your own southern delicacies: http://myweb.cableone.net/howle/page/soudex.htm or http://teriskitchen.com/southern.html. Also check out Damon Lee Fowler's New Southern Baking: http://www.simonsays.com/content/book.cfm?tab=1&pid=511205.
    2. Look into other novels/plays set in the South: the works of Tennessee Williams, William Faulkner, Eudora Welty, etc.
    3. For more information on Sandra Brown go to her website: http://www.sandrabrown.net/

    SANDRA BROWN is the author of numerous New York Times bestsellers—including most recently Smash Cut, Smoke Screen, Play Dirty, Ricochet, Chill Factor, White Hot, Hello, Darkness, The Crush, and Envy.  She is the recipient of the 2008 Thriller Master Award from International Thriller Writers, Inc. She and her husband live in Arlington, Texas.

    Read More Show Less

    Reading Group Guide

    Reading Group Guide

    SUMMARY:

    Elisa Laird is her husband's pride and joy. A trophy wife ten years his junior, she ably performs the societal duties that her husband's career dictates. Nothing is more important to Judge Laird than his station in the community. And his three passions are well known: his golf game, his bench, and his wife. So when homicide detectives Duncan Hatcher and his partner Dee Dee Bowen are summoned to the Laird's home in the middle of the night, they know that discretion and a quick, thorough investigation are the keys to keeping their jobs. Elise and the Judge claim that Elise fired her pistol at a man who was burglarizing her husband's study. It's an open and shut case, at first glance. But Elise is acting strange. Dee Dee doesn't fall for her "victim" act, instead seeing Elise as a beautiful manipulator whose actions just don't make sense. Despite himself and his partner's warnings, Duncan finds himself falling for the frightened woman, and jeopardizing his own life to find out whether the Judge has hidden reasons for his wife to "disappear."

    It's a deadly game filled with lies, seductions, and tragic pasts. Duncan and Elise may spend their lives looking over their shoulders, if they can survive each other's betrayals . . .

    DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

    1. Water plays a large role in Ricochet. Find examples of the different forms of water found in the novel. Why does Ms. Brown choose to use water as such a prevalent image? What effect does it have on the story and for what might it be a metaphor? How does water help to build tension?
    2. Ms. Brown sets the story in Savannah, Georgia. Does the story have a "southern feel"? What would be the effect on the tale if it were set, for instance, in the desert or in snowy upstate New York? What role does location play, and what other details does Ms. Brown use to create atmosphere?
    3. There seems to be an underlying biblical meaning to the story. Duncan is the child of ministers and there are references made throughout the novel to such things as "redemption" and even to Elise rising from the dead. Discuss the novel as it relates to the bible. Who represents Satan, the snake, etc., and why? Who is "born again" and who gains redemption? Is there a Christ figure in the story?
    4. Although Duncan is a handsome man he doesn't have a girlfriend. What do you think he is waiting for? Beside her physical attributes, why is Duncan attracted to Elise? What does she represent to him? Do they have any similarities that might explain why they fall in love?
    5. Duncan plays the piano, yet he doesn't want anyone to know about his talent. Why is he so secretive about his passion? How does Ms. Brown use the piano to illuminate the development of Duncan's character?
    6. Compare and contrast Dee Dee and Elise. Why doesn't Dee Dee trust Elise? Could they be friends under different circumstances?
    7. Elise decides to marry Cato in order to get revenge for her brother's death. Why might her character do this? Are there any other ways she might have gotten information on Cato and Savich?
    8. Why does Duncan risk his career in order to catch Savich? Does he do it out of love, or does he have a sense of obligation or duty? Is there anything in his background that explains his determination?
    9. Many of the main characters in the novel are flawed, yet they could still be considered heroes. What makes a hero? Who do you think is the hero of Ricochet, and why? Who are the antagonists?
    10. What does power signify in the world of the story? Does each character have his or her own unique power? If so, discuss what they are and their ramifications.
    11. What is the message of the novel? Is revenge a good thing or a bad thing? Do you think Ms. Brown is saying that the end justifies the means? Give some examples of how this is illustrated in the story.

    ENHANCE YOUR BOOK CLUB:

    1. Ricochet is set in Georgia, so when discussing the novel treat yourselves to a meal at a southern restaurant. Or if there isn't one nearby, try making your own southern delicacies: http://myweb.cableone.net/howle/page/soudex.htm or http://teriskitchen.com/southern.html. Also check out Damon Lee Fowler's New Southern Baking: http://www.simonsays.com/content/book.cfm?tab=1&pid=511205.
    2. Look into other novels/plays set in the South: the works of Tennessee Williams, William Faulkner, Eudora Welty, etc.
    3. For more information on Sandra Brown go to her website: http://www.sandrabrown.net/
    Read More Show Less

    Customer Reviews

    Average Rating 4
    ( 88 )
    Rating Distribution

    5 Star

    (36)

    4 Star

    (26)

    3 Star

    (12)

    2 Star

    (8)

    1 Star

    (6)

    Your Rating:

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    See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 88 Customer Reviews
    • Anonymous

      Posted March 5, 2008

      not as good as recomended

      I did like the book but I had 3-men tell me this was one of the BEST books they have ever read so I thought well it must be great. This is my first Sandra Brown book and I will try another one but ricochet was not that great to me.

      1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

      Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
    • Posted December 9, 2008

      more from this reviewer

      strong suspense thriller

      Detectives Duncan Hatcher and DeeDee Bowen are incensed that a mistrial was ruled in the murder trial of Savannah businessman Robert Savich because the key witness was killed. Judge Cato Laird had no choice because there was very little evidence but Duncan knows the drug czar ordered the hit. A few days later they are called to the judge¿s home where Cato¿s wife Elise killed a burglar in self-defense. --- It looks like an open and shut case but both Duncan and DeeDee feel that there is more to the story than meets the eye. This looks like a homicide and when Elise is called in for questioning, she goes to Duncan to tell him that her husband is trying to kill her. Although he is attracted to her, he doesn¿t believe her following a sexual encounter, Elise disappears after once again meeting with Duncan and finding the dead body of the private detective her husband hired to follow her to see if she was having an affair. Evidence points to Elise drowning in the river and certain pictures come to light that have Savich and Elise meeting several times. Duncan is determined to find out the truth about both to assuage his guilty conscience. --- Nobody writes suspense thrillers the way Sandra Brown does. Elise is a character shrouded in mystery leaving the audience to wonder if she is a clever murderer or an innocent dupe. Duncan¿s feelings for her and the sexual encounters make his come down harder on her than he normally would. His need to find answers about the connections between all the players makes for an exciting reading experience. --- Harriet Klausner

      1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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

      Posted July 23, 2012

      You k

      This story is hampered by unlikable characters. Duncan comes off as shallow and gullible. It would have been far more interesting if he had seen through Elise and fallen for his partner. Dee Dee is the only character I could stand. It is irritating that the author seems to delight in making her as unattractive as possible.

      0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

      Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
    • Posted March 10, 2012

      Excellent read - well worth the time!

      This is one of Sandra Brown's better books. Full of mystery adn a little lovin' too!

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    • Anonymous

      Posted January 9, 2012

      Enjoyed Immensely

      Worth every penny!

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    • Anonymous

      Posted January 7, 2012

      Great read with a twist!

      This would make a great movie!

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    • Anonymous

      Posted December 30, 2011

      Awesome

      Another great book by sandra brown

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    • Posted July 20, 2010

      very entertaining

      never read anything by sandra brown, but really enjoyed this book, lots of twists and turns. I thoough I had it all figured out a couple times, but I was wrong!

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

      Posted March 23, 2010

      Will keep you up past your bedtime!!

      I'm not real fimiliar with Sandra Brown but a friend recommended this book and thank goodness she did! I had a hard time putting it down and when I did I couldn't stop thinking about it. It is well written and descriptive, at times it felt like a movie rather an book. Just when you think you have it all figured out the book turns and twists. The characters are loveable (especially Duncan), complexed, and entertaining. This book is more about the thrill rather than the romance, but when there is romanace WOW! Very steamy! Great book, would recommend it anybody that enjoys a good steamy, suspenseful story!

      Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
    • Posted April 17, 2009

      Must read

      This was a very good book. You could hardly ever go wrong with Sandra Brown, but I find I enjoy her suspense/mystery books much more than the romance. This book had just the right amount of suspense and romance. I found it hard to put down and read it in 2 days! I highly recommend it.

      0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted November 28, 2008

      I Also Recommend:

      Excellent

      This was a excellent book. It's about love & crime and it is a hard one to put down. I loved the it! I will keep reading more.

      0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted August 23, 2008

      A book lover

      I have read many of Sandra Brown's books, and I felt that this was one of her better ones. I was surprised at some of the reviews about how bored some readers were when they read it. I couldn't put it down! I found it to be very fast-paced and entertaining. Sandra Brown's novels always follow a formula, and the ending was a bit unrealistic, however it still was a solid read. If you just want a brainless book to unwind to, I would recommend this one. It's solid.

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

      Posted June 6, 2008

      Best book ever

      This is one of the best books i have ever read. i loved the idea of crime and love at the same time. i wish this book never ended. Irecomend it 100%

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

      Posted April 20, 2008

      Nice Twists

      I love her novels. This story was well written. Great characters with depth. I kept hoping for some redeemable aspects the Savich, but alas, I am a dreamer. That¿s why I love romance!!! Duncan is definitely the MAN!!

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    • Anonymous

      Posted April 22, 2008

      Don't Miss

      I have started reading a few of Sandra Brown's books recently and have really enjoyed them so far. 'Ricochet' is a book I would recommend that you take the time to read. Many different angles to this story, keeps you guessing.

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

      Posted April 16, 2008

      My First Sandra Brown Novel

      This was the only book I've read by Sandra Brown. Usually, I read a book in 2-3 days (I have a long commute to and from work). However, Ricochet took 11 days to complete! The story unfolded much too SLOWLY and the characters did not hold my interest. A few times I started to push it aside because I was bored. I found the BEST parts of the book were a few chapters BEFORE the epilogue. If I purchase another Sandra Brown book, it will CERTAINLY have to be on the clearance table - EXACTLY where I found Richochet.

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

      Posted February 9, 2008

      nice

      At first I wasn't so crazy about it because it was slow moving. But you gotta love Duncan.

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

      Posted November 18, 2007

      Outstanding mystery with many twists and turns

      Homicide detective Duncan Hatcher is a gung-ho, and sometimes sort of a rogue cop who pushes all the issues to the fullest envelope content. When he sees outlandish criminal Robert Savich released by Judge Cato Laird when Hatcher knew there was enough evidence on this man to put him away for a long time, he becomes obsessed at finding more evidence to keep Savich off the streets. DeeDee Bowen is Hatcher¿s partner. She is very gung-ho but not to the extent of Hatcher. She has to attempt to calm Hatcher down when he allows his anger to get into his official police work. The situation intensifies when several connected with Savich¿s past and present life turn up missing or dead. Everyone knows that Savich is a bad criminal capable of anything, but since Judge Laird had released him the police had to dig deeper to find solid evidence on Savich. Savich was extremely careful not to leave a trail of evidence that would lead to him for any of the crimes he is suspected of committing. When the police delve into these older disappearances Judge Laird seems to be involved somehow in most of them. One night Judge Laird¿s house was broken into and his lovely wife, Elise, shot and killed the man in the judge¿s study. A strange trail of evidence was found in the house. Elise had gone downstairs from their bedroom to get some milk, as she did many nights due to ¿sleeplessness!¿ She claims she heard a noise as she moved around the downstairs area. She grabbed a hidden gun and claimed that the burglar shot at her, missed her, and she shot and killed him. Hatcher was one of the many law authorities that arrived but Hatcher was having a hard time taking his eyes and mind off of the so gorgeous Elise Laird, making his concentration on the actual case very hard. But between he, DeeDee, and all the other law enforcement agency people that were to work on this high profile case, things return to a huge workload for all involved. Hatcher was fine until he thought or saw Elise Laird. He was caught on her. The authorities were finding too many pieces of evidence, some possibly just coincidence, linking Judge Laird to Savich. This made Hatcher and Bowen delve into old mysterious murder cases that seemed to connect to the judge. Duncan and DeeDee made a great team seemingly to know what is on the others mind while investigating. DeeDee only had qualms regarding Hatcher¿s actions some times. When Elise goes missing Hatcher goes even more radical than before. He has to find this woman for who he has so many feelings. At this point I don¿t want to ruin any of the many plots and twists and turns in Ricochet. Sandra Brown has come through with another top story. The surprises go to the very end. The reader can follow the story easily the way the author has written it. I have always enjoyed her books especially the crime stories. Her characters are real and their actions place you in the midst of every crime scene and interrogation. Don¿t pass this book up.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted September 17, 2007

      An ingenious plot that constantly surprises us with new developments. Hard to put down.

      Two detectives, Duncan Hatcher and DeeDee Bowen were trying to convict a local gangster, Robert Savich, but Judge Laird rules a mistrial, causing Hatcher to sound off and he winds up in jail for contempt of court. Several days later the judge's wife, Elise, kills a burglar in her home and the same detectives are assigned to investigate the shooting. Things are complicated by sexual tension between Elise and Hatcher. The story continues with a number of twists in the plot that are completely unexpected by the reader of this great story. I won't spoil the surprises for the reader, but suffice it to say that this book, and any book by Sandra Brown, is worth reading.

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

      Posted August 21, 2007

      LOVED IT!

      I could not put this book down!

      Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
    See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 88 Customer Reviews

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