Maddy's Reviews > Ricochet

Ricochet by Sandra Brown
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Sep 01, 2013

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Read in September, 2006

RATING: 3.25

Most homicide detectives appreciate a no-brainer case, the kind where they are called in, it's easy to see who was killed and why, and things just sort themselves out from there. The killing at the home of Judge Cato Laird's home seems to fit into this description at first; the judge's wife, Elise, interrupted a burglar and shot him in self defense. But when Detective Duncan Hatcher starts looking into the killing in more detail, he begins to wonder. The dead man was a complete loser with no prior robbery attempts; there's no definitive evidence that shows that he was threatening Elise before she shot him.

The investigation is complicated by some personal elements. Duncan had a showdown with Judge Laird in the courtroom and faced contempt of court charges. And at a social event, he meets Elise and finds himself attracted to her in an almost obsessive way. He fights the attraction, but finds himself curiously unable to resist her, which threatens his professional integrity. As the investigation moves forward, Elise approaches Duncan privately and tells him that her husband is trying to kill her. That doesn't seem very likely, as the judge seems completely enamored of his wife. Elise is rather elusive about providing any rationale for her accusations, and Duncan doesn't believe what she has to say. It's impossible to tell if she is a woman in deep trouble or a con artist, and she doesn't help herself or the story by not being more forthcoming.

At times, the plot verges on being over the top, particularly in the scenes involving Duncan and Elise. However, some of the other characters were very well drawn and interesting. Duncan's partner, Dee Dee, was a great character; I'd like to see her running her own investigation without worrying about dealing with Duncan's issues. Cato Laird was devious in some very sublimated ways, which led to some excellent interactions. But (and this is VERY silly), I wondered why almost all of the bad guys in the book had names with double letters--Morris, Trotter, Rollins, Bonnet, Ballew. This naming pattern actually was a distraction for me!

For some reason, I had labeled Sandra Brown as an author writing to the masses, creating some kind of romantic froth that would appeal to the lowest common denominator. I could not have been more wrong. Certainly, RICHOCHET has its romantic and sexual elements (far too many for my taste); but the book is also well plotted, suspenseful and offers some very surprising twists. Overall, the book was slightly above average. If the conclusion had been more plausible, I'd be giving RICHOCHET a higher recommendation.


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