Thursday, 9 February 2017

*** REVIEW *** MEAN STREAK by Sandra Brown

 Dr. Emory Charbonneau, a pediatrician and marathon runner, disappears on a mountain road in North Carolina. By the time her husband Jeff, miffed over a recent argument, reports her missing, the trail has grown cold. Literally. Fog and ice encapsulate the mountainous wilderness and paralyze the search for her.

While police suspect Jeff of "instant divorce," Emory, suffering from an unexplained head injury, regains consciousness and finds herself the captive of a man whose violent past is so dark that he won't even tell her his name. She's determined to escape him, and willing to take any risks necessary to survive.

Unexpectedly, however, the two have a dangerous encounter with people who adhere to a code of justice all their own. At the center of the dispute is a desperate young woman whom Emory can't turn her back on, even if it means breaking the law.

As the FBI closes in on her captor, Emory begins to wonder if the man with no name is, in fact, her rescuer.

I am on a major mystery/thriller-romance kick lately.  I can’t get enough of a good thriller and just finished another one.  I am a Sandra Brown fan since the 80s.  I don’t get to her books right away, but I always get to them when I need a little suspense and mystery.  Ms. Brown never disappoints.  Her stories are captivating and are perfect when I need to stay awake for one reason or another—once I start reading her stories, I can’t put them down.

I finished Mean Streak in less than 24 hours, turning page after page, needing to know what happens next, who I trust, how is it going to end.

Mean Streak is a brilliantly written mystery told in the third person.  The third person is perfect for this book because it is essential to understand the various characters and their decisions throughout the story.

The story begins with Dr. Emory Charbonneu, an acclaimed pediatrician, on a training run.  She is training for a charity marathon event that she sponsors.  Her plan is to train harder in the mountains because of a stress fracture that put her out of commission for a time.  The alone time gives her an opportunity to think about the argument she had with Jeff, her husband.  Emory suspects Jeff is having an affair and knows she needs to address their current marital state with him and get on with her life. 

Emory is struck in the head and rescued by a strong yet gentle man.  Who is he?  Why all the mystery that surrounds him?  Why won't he tell her his name? What does he have to do with her accident?  Was it an accident?  So many questions swirl around her head.  She begs mystery man to take her home.  He claims he will do that when the weather lifts.  The winding roads are too dangerous.

While Emory is recovering and planning her escape, Jeff is home with his mistress.  The betrayal is heartbreaking because his side piece is a close friend and confidante of Emory’s.  The more we learn about Jeff, the more we see what a weasel he is.  The police she his weasel side too and begin to suspect him of foul play.  Jeff whines and cheats because he blames his wife that he didn’t make partner.  Try standing on your own two feet jerk!

Then there is Jack Connell, an FBI agent looking for someone related to a mass murder.  Is this the man that has Emory?  Is he really an evil man?  Oh, I hope not.

The secondary characters wonderful and add so much dimension and life to the tale.   The wicked neighbors Will and Norman, the sisters in hiding, Emory’s partners are all fascinating.  The two local cops initially come off as two country bumpkins; that is far from the truth.  Sandra Brown does an excellent job creating unique characters that add depth to the story. 

Then the twists—I can honestly say I didn’t see that coming.  When I was halfway through the book, I am sure beyond a shadow of a doubt how the story ends.  I couldn’t be farther from the truth.  I love it.  I love everything from start to finish.  I love the fear in my heart at times.  I love the chemistry between Emory and the unnamed man.  I love the characters both good and bad.  I love it all. 

If you are a mystery lover with several twists and turns, Mean Streak is a book for you.  I must caution, that while there is romance the romance isn’t front and center, the mystery is the focal point.  However, when the romance makes an appearance, it is hot.  If you are like me and need a good mystery every so often, you will only need to read one book by Sandra Brown to appreciate her writing skills.  Give Mean Streak a try.


Sandra Brown is the author of more than sixty New York Times bestsellers.  

Brown started her writing career in 1981 after her husband dared her to and since then has published over seventy novels, bringing the number of copies of her books in print worldwide to upwards of eighty million. Her work has been translated into over thirty languages.

In 2009 Brown detoured from romantic suspense to write, Rainwater, a much acclaimed, powerfully moving historical fiction story about honor and sacrifice during the Great Depression.