Smash Cut

( 194 )

Overview

"Paul Wheeler. CEO of the Wheeler Enterprises empire. At age fifty-two, he's a pillar of Atlanta society and a brilliant businessman. But Paul is out of the picture even before the opening credits - shot dead during an armed robbery." "Julie Rutledge. A savvy, cultured, and attractive Southern woman, seasoned by a stint of study and romance in Paris. She owns the city's most successful and sophisticated art gallery on Peachtree Street. She was also Paul Wheeler's weekly companion at the hotel where he was murdered and was hand in hand with him at ...

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Smash Cut: A Novel

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Overview

"Paul Wheeler. CEO of the Wheeler Enterprises empire. At age fifty-two, he's a pillar of Atlanta society and a brilliant businessman. But Paul is out of the picture even before the opening credits - shot dead during an armed robbery." "Julie Rutledge. A savvy, cultured, and attractive Southern woman, seasoned by a stint of study and romance in Paris. She owns the city's most successful and sophisticated art gallery on Peachtree Street. She was also Paul Wheeler's weekly companion at the hotel where he was murdered and was hand in hand with him at the time of his death." "Derek Mitchell. A defense lawyer of renown. Successful, handsome, and despised by the Atlanta PD for his courtroom victories, he goes to the mat to make a case for every client and headlines for himself. A guilty verdict is not an option. Yet he's not entirely without a conscience, as proven when his life takes a terrible turn toward the cinematic." "Creighton Wheeler. The prodigal nephew of Paul. With movie-star looks and guileless blue eyes, the twenty-eight-year-old playboy has a penchant for call girls, fast cars, and designer clothes. But his passion is movies. He studies them, quotes them ... and lives them. Even those closest to Creighton can't be sure when he exits reality and enters the fantasy world of films." "The murder of Paul Wheeler has all the elements of a blockbuster: family rivalries, incalculable wealth, and a prominent man dying in the arms of his beautiful mistress. It's a case that could earn Derek Mitchell even greater star power. When the Wheeler family approaches him about defending Creighton for his uncle's murder - even before he's charged - he jumps at the chance." "But Derek soondiscovers that Julie will stop at nothing to secure justice for Paul - and that includes preventing Derek from defending Creighton. Infuriated, Derek realizes that his hands have been tied in a way that could not only cost him the case, but ruin his entire career." "Although Creighton has a rock-solid alibi, Julie is convinced that he is responsible for Paul's murder. But the homicide detectives have another theory. Caught in several lies, and keeping secrets from Derek and the police, Julie is suspected of casting blame on Creighton to cover her own crime. Meanwhile, Derek fears he's once again being duped ... yet he burns with jealousy when he thinks of Julie with her late lover." "But the more Derek learns about Creighton and his darker side, the more he doubts the young man's innocence. And hiding in a squalid motel under an assumed name is the one man, a career criminal, a killer, who knows the truth." The clock ticks down toward a shocking ending as Derek and Julie seek to learn whether Creighton's fascination with movie murders is merely a bizarre hobby or depravity. Has he begun reenacting cinema's goriest scenes ... and, if so, who will be his unwitting costars?

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
In film, a smash cut is exactly what the term suggests: a technique where one scene cuts abruptly to another without transition, thus startling the viewer. As in movies, Sandra Brown's Smash Cut uses this device to heighten tension and intensify suspense. The author of Long Time Coming, The Breath of Scandal, and Smoke Screen delivers another novel of romance, surprises, and sweet twists of fate.
Publishers Weekly
This superlative romantic thriller from bestseller Brown (Smoke Screen) features a particularly memorable villain, sociopath Creighton Wheeler, who’s obsessed with re-enacting scenes from films like Strangers on a Train and Frenzy. When Creighton’s wealthy uncle, Paul Wheeler, is shot dead in an apparent robbery at an Atlanta hotel, Paul’s close friend, gallery owner Julie Rutledge, attempts to persuade the police that Creighton ordered the hit. Creighton’s father asks Derek Mitchell, a criminal lawyer, to represent the accused Creighton, but Derek declines because he had a plane tryst en route to Paris with Julie after Paul’s murder. Angered by Derek’s refusal, Creighton stalks Julie; targets Derek’s dog, Maggie; and plots to kill the ex-girlfriend of his henchman, Billy Duke, after Billy has second thoughts about helping Creighton. Brown skillfully charts Julie and Derek’s quest to catch the slippery fiend. Multiple smash cuts (abrupt scene shifts) lead to a wonderfully frenzied finish. (Aug.)
Kirkus Reviews
A rich man is murdered, and suspicion falls on his much-younger mistress and the movie-obsessed nephew who is heir to his fortune. When ace defense attorney Derek Mitchell meets stunning Julie Rutledge on a transatlantic flight, he's far too distracted by her considerable charms to question his good fortune. Back on the ground, he discovers that his mile-high-club partner was not only the companion of wealthy blueblood Paul Wheeler, recently gunned down in a hotel stick-up, but one of the people most likely to benefit from his demise. For her part, Julie claims that her preemptive seduction was merely a ploy to ensure that Derek would be compromised and unable to represent Paul's creepy nephew Creighton, whom she is convinced had Paul killed. Narcissistic, manipulative Creighton is certainly a piece of work, but does he really have what it takes to be a killer? Well, yeah, but he has an alibi, and although Derek really wants to believe Julie, he senses that she's hiding something. Her fate lies in the unlikely hands of Billy Duke, a one-time con man Creighton somehow convinced to kill Paul, while keeping his own hands clean. As the evidence mounts against Julie, Creighton finds creative ways to torment her and Derek, borrowing liberally from the classic crime movies he watches repeatedly. Creighton's twisted recipe for mayhem includes a bit of Hitchcock's Frenzy, a lot of Strangers on a Train, and even a nod to The Godfather's famous horse-head scene. The stakes keep getting higher until clearing Julie's name becomes secondary to preventing the death of an innocent woman who happened to fall for the wrong guy. Packed with surprises and the kind of propulsive plot for which Brown (SmokeScreen, 2008, etc.) is justly famous, this effort will not disappoint her readers. Too bad she doesn't go any deeper with her characters, especially chivalrous Derek, who is far too nice to be convincing as a shark lawyer. Main Selection in Literary Guild, Doubleday Book Club, Mystery Guild and Doubleday Large Print Book Club
From the Publisher
"This superlative romantic thriller from bestseller Brown (Smoke Screen) features a particularly memorable villain, sociopath Creighton Wheeler, who's obsessed with re-enacting scenes from films like Strangers on a Train and Frenzy.... Multiple smash cuts (abrupt scene shifts) lead to a wonderfully frenzied finish." — Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Brown delivers more than a few thrills and surprises in this taut, satisfying page-turner." — Booklist

"Packed with surprises and the kind of propulsive plot for which Brown (Smoke Screen, 2008, etc.) is justly famous, this effort will not disappoint her readers." — Kirkus

"Most crime thrillers come from male authors. But with Smash Cut, Sandra Brown shows that she's right up with the best of the boys.... [Brown's] dialogue snaps, crackles and pops, and her characters rise above cliché. Smash Cut deserves to be this summer's blockbuster thriller." — St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781416563082
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Publication date: 8/11/2009
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 1.30 (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

    CHAPTER

    1

    CREIGHTON WHEELER STORMED ACROSS THE BLUESTONE TERRACE, whipping off his sun visor and making a swipe at the sweat streaming down his face, then without breaking stride, angrily tossed the damp towel and visor onto a chaise. "This better be damn important. I was about to break his serve."

    The housekeeper who'd summoned him from the tennis court was unfazed by his temper. "Don't you take that tone with me. It's your daddy wants to see you."

    Her name was Ruby. Creighton didn't know her last name and had never bothered to ask, although she'd been in the family's employ since before he was born. Any time he got out of sorts with her, she reminded him that she'd wiped his butt and his nose, that both had been nasty, and that she hadn't enjoyed doing either. It rankled to think of her being that familiar with his person, even when he was a baby.

    He brushed past her three-hundred-pound bulk and crossed the industrial-size kitchen to one of several refrigerators, yanking open the door.

    "Right now, he said."

    Ignoring her, Creighton got a can of Coke from the Sub-Zero, ripped off the tab, and took a long drink. He rolled the cold can across his forehead. "Take one of these out to Scott."

    "Your tennis coach's legs ain't broke." She turned back to the counter and slapped her large hand on the hunk of beef she was preparing to go into the roasting pan.

    Something ought to be done about her sass, Creighton thought as he pushed through the swinging door and made his way toward the front of the house, where his father had a study. The door was ajar. He paused outside it, then knocked once on the doorjamb with his Coke can, nudged the door open, and strolled in, twirling the tennis racquet against his shoulder. He looked every inch the aristocrat called away from a session of healthy exercise. It was a role he was perfectly suited to play.

    Doug Wheeler was seated behind his desk, which was presidential in proportion but much more pretentious than anything inside the Oval Office. The desk was flanked by mahogany flagpoles, one for the Georgia state flag, the other for Old Glory. Ancestors glared from oil portraits hanging on opposite walls, which were paneled in stained cypress meant to last till the Second Coming.

    "Scott's time is money, and the clock is ticking," Creighton said.

    "I'm afraid this can't wait. Please sit down."

    Creighton took a seat in one of the cordovan leather chairs facing his father's desk and propped his tennis racquet against it. "I didn't know you were here. Weren't you scheduled to play golf this afternoon?" He leaned forward and set his Coke can on the polished surface of the desk.

    Frowning, Doug placed a coaster beneath the can so it wouldn't leave a moisture ring. "I dropped by here to change before going to the club," he said. "But something urgent -- "

    "Don't tell me," Creighton interrupted. "The paper clip audit exposed an embezzlement. Damn those sneaky secretaries."

    "Paul is dead."

    Creighton's heart gave a bump. His smile collapsed. "What?"

    Doug cleared his throat. "Your uncle was shot and killed in the Hotel Moultrie about an hour ago."

    Creighton continued to stare at him, then finally released his breath. "Well, in the immortal words of Forrest Gump. Actually his mother. 'Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get.' "

    His father lurched to his feet. "Is that all you can say?"

    "I think that says it fairly well."

    Creighton had never seen his father cry. He wasn't crying now, but his eyes looked suspiciously moist and he was swallowing too often and too hard. In an attempt to hide the...

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    Customer Reviews

    Average Rating 4
    ( 194 )
    Rating Distribution

    5 Star

    (86)

    4 Star

    (50)

    3 Star

    (31)

    2 Star

    (12)

    1 Star

    (15)

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    See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 195 Customer Reviews
    • Posted October 26, 2009

      I Also Recommend:

      A "hit" in disguise...

      A wonderful new Sandra Brown extravaganza, full of suspense, twists and turns,and romance...Paul Wheeler killed in a cops and robber situation? A disguised "hit"? Who dun it? Family honor questionable...Movie making fantasy come true?...Hang on to your senses! You're in for another exciting ride, thanks to Sandra Brown's creative genius!! Worth your time!!...Also love Barbara Taylor Bradford, Lisa Scottoline, Diana Gabaldon....and a new discovery, Linda Masemore Pirrung, author of EXPLOSION IN PARIS...Talk about senses....This one will keep your blood cooking!

      9 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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    • Posted September 11, 2009

      more from this reviewer

      Don't read this if you love animals

      I had a hard time getting into this book and stopped when I got to one horrible line. I almost threw the book. I may never read one of her books again.

      8 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

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    • Posted October 29, 2009

      Unexpected Ending with Complicated & Interesting Characters

      Sandra Brown's ability to spark your imagination with descriptive language made this audio which was read by Victor Slezak very entertaining. The characters in the story were very interesting.

      6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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    • Posted July 29, 2010

      more from this reviewer

      I Also Recommend:

      Lacks the usual sophistication I have come to expect from Brown

      Sandra Brown is one of the few authors who can combine action, thriller, suspense, murder, crime, and romance, and can do it marvelously. I've developed an insatiable taste for her books, reading them as soon as they come out and impatiently waiting for more. Brown has superb talent in making the readers connect with her characters, making them so real that I mourn their end when I finish each book. Her writing, wording, and style are always beyond five stars.

      While "Smash Cut" was somewhat suspenseful with a nice little twist in the end, I felt this was not one of her best. The constant movie references were annoying and, for lack of a better work, corny. Julie's motive for sleeping with Derek in the beginning was incredibly outlandish and immediately made me dislike her. It seems as though Julie was this evil character in the beginning, with her remark to Derek, "You've been had", but then completely does a 180 and is now someone loved and respectable. I found it incredibly hard to sympathize with her and like her. Creighton seemed too fake of a person and rather childish with copying movie scenes and spitting out movie quotes. There was a lack of passion between Derek and Julie, and passion is supposed to be Brown's writing specialty. When I put this book down in the end, it reminded me of the movie "Scream", although I felt "Scream" was actually a little better than this book. Her plot was just lacking the usual sophistication I have come to expect from her novels.

      3 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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    • Posted October 21, 2009

      more from this reviewer

      WOW!!!

      First of all, Victor Sleazac is the BEST reader of Sandra Brown's books. His husky voice adds a certain *pop* to keep you listening. His narration style perfectly compliments the storyline.

      I have read/listened to every Sandra Brown mystery novel (not so much the early romance stuff). I have never been disappointed. I love the usual twist that you KNOW is going to be there, you just dont know WHAT it is going to be. This novel's twist was more *!WOW!* than usual.

      3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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    • Posted June 24, 2009

      more from this reviewer

      This is a superb thriller

      When wealthy Paul Wheeler is murdered in an Atlanta hotel, the police assume a robbery has gone bad. His close friend, gallery owner Julie Rutledge, believes otherwise as she tries to convince the police that Paul's nephew Creighton ordered the hit.

      Creighton's father asks criminal lawyer Derek Mitchell to represent his son, but the attorney refuses because he is going with Julie to Paris. Outraged by Derek's rejection, Creighton goes after his loved ones. He stalks Julie and Derek's dog Maggie. He plans to kill the girlfriend of his cowardly former partner Billy Duke as a punishment for his backing out of the murder scheme. Creighton plots to stage a triumphant final scene straight out of a classic Hitchcock movie like Frenzy that will leave Billy, Julie and Derek joining his Uncle Paul.

      This is a super thriller that is fast-paced with rapid changing scenes that add tension as the audience increasingly and avidly anticipates High Noon. The cast is powerful especially the beleaguered Derek and Julie, but SMASH CUT is owned by Creighton who we meet when a servant Rose interrupts his tennis game. With terrific twists especially a late one and homage to great mystery films, fans will enjoy this cat and mouse tale as Creighton worships death scenes from the classics.

      Harriet Klausner

      3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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    • Posted April 13, 2010

      more from this reviewer

      Given as a gift and I would give it as a gift

      This is my first Sandra Brown novel and it will not be my last. It is a quick read with a little bit of everything you want out of a good book, love, sex, scare, family affairs and a comical detective!

      Enjoy!

      2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted October 12, 2009

      Wonderful read

      This is a very, very good book, I could not put it down.

      2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted April 17, 2012

      Smash Cut

      Excellent!

      1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted March 20, 2012

      Hjjd ndndudjf

      Hghj

      1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted February 17, 2010

      Smash Cut

      This was a great book but I was disappointed in the author's romantic scenes. I've always thought Sandra Brown was one of the best in writing these type of scenes but the details of the interaction between the two parties involved in the love scenes was not up to her norm.

      1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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    • Posted December 22, 2009

      more from this reviewer

      Love Sandra Brown

      I don't think there is one book I do NOT like from Sandra Brown.

      Completely suggest adding to your collection. You can guess the killer but the last twist will hit ya so hard you don't even think to see it coming!

      1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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    • Posted November 11, 2009

      Always a good read.

      Sandra Brown is one of the few women mystery writers I enjoy all the time. This book is well done and will not disappoint the tried and true Brown following. A few strange characters are presented but overall it is not one to miss if you are a fan of her material or somene new to the club.

      1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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    • Posted September 8, 2009

      more from this reviewer

      I Also Recommend:

      Fabulous Read!!!

      I love Sandra Brown's books. Being a film buff too this book was a treat. Definitely kept my interest. Found the plot intriguing and characters well developed. Cannot wait on her next offering!!!

      1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    • Posted September 5, 2009

      Boring..............

      I found this book to drag on and on and was on the boring side. Will have to think long and hard before I purchase another book by this author.

      1 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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    • Posted August 27, 2009

      NO ROMANCE

      I love Sandra Brown but lately she has been leaving out all the wonderful love scenes that she is so good at. this book had a decent story but I want romance with my stories and this one just didnt deliver.

      1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted August 24, 2009

      I Also Recommend:

      Not her best

      I have read every single Sandra Brown book. This one is fast paced, but not very romantic. I seem to be reading more books like this these days. Good story line, little romance and angst. I miss the old Sandra Brown who would leave you craving for more when you were finished. I love a book with sexual tension and a great mystery. "Smash Cut" almost gets there...

      1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted October 1, 2013

      Anonymous

      This is my favorite Sandra Brown book so far! I have read 6 so far and will be working mt way down the list.

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    • Posted April 26, 2013

      Well written suspense novel with changeers always around the corn

      Sandra Brown exercises your imagination and stimulates your curiosity. As with any novel there will be areas of boredom but don't let that fool you as just as you relax, something else happens just as fast. Always on the edge of your seat.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted April 16, 2013

      Very good.

      Very good.

      Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
    See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 195 Customer Reviews

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