Edward Gordon's Reviews > Lethal

Lethal by Sandra Brown
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Nov 01, 11

Read in October, 2011

"Lethal" (Grand Central Publishing, 2011) is Sandra Brown’s latest crime thriller. It’s a suspense novel about a widowed woman named Honor and her daughter, Emily, who are kidnapped (sort of) by a sexy undercover FBI agent named Coburn.

Coburn’s on the run from a handful of cops and other agents who are on the corrupt payroll of the Bookkeeper, a shadowy villain who will stop at nothing to cover his or her tracks and kill anyone who tries to stop him (or her). As it turns out, Honor is unknowingly in possession of some very revealing information that can bring the Bookkeeper down, and the Bookkeeper knows it. So Coburn isn’t really kidnapping them; rather he’s saving their lives.

But even after taking all that into consideration, one quickly comes to the realization that the story revolves on only two main questions: Who is the Bookkeeper, and how many times will Honor and Coburn have sex?

Sandra brown is an ex-romance writer who apparently likes to keep the pornographic alive in her crime thrillers, no matter how stupid or out of place it comes across. The sexual theater of Honor and Coburn more often than not feels cut and pasted into the story rather than growing organically from it. In my opinion, the sex works only to slow down an otherwise fast-moving plot.

Ironically, while she ramps up the love/sex between Honor and Coburn she under-treats her most interesting character in the story, an assassin for the Bookkeeper named Diego. The life of Diego and the prostitute he rescues (instead of killing as ordered) is the truly romantic aspect of this story, and the treatment of Diego’s character is deeper than either that of Honor or Coburn. Unfortunately, That results in an unbalanced story that leaves the reader wanting to know more about a minor character than any of the major ones.

But even if the main characters are thinner than the paper they’re written on and the plot is so linear that even riders on the shortest bus could follow it, it is—in the end—a fun and fast read.

“Lethal” may be formula work, but Sandra Brown has some sixty novels to her credit, almost all of which have been bestsellers, and she knows how to write a story that will keep you turning the pages; without a doubt, this one does too. There’s even an unexpected twist at the end, which I’ll leave for you to discover.

“Lethal” in hardcover is very reasonably priced at Amazon.com ($15.69), and it’s available on Kindle as well. It may not be “Silence of the Lambs,” but it’s certainly an entertaining read worth picking up.

You can check out my video review of this book at The Novel Report.
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