Christa's Reviews > Smoke Screen

Smoke Screen by Sandra Brown
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Oct 20, 08

bookshelves: library
Read in September, 2008

Smoke Screen was the best Sandra Brown book that I have read in quite some time. It is a terrific romantic suspense novel that focuses more on the suspense, but still manages to have a quite satisfying romance. The romance isn't given a lot of time in the book, but the hero and heroine spend most of the story in the company of one another, and there is plenty of tension and interaction between them. I found both the hero and heroine to be very likeable characters, although the actions of the hero when he was first introduced into the book made me worry that he would not be a sympathetic character. I was glad to be proven wrong. This book had a compelling storyline, and I was engrossed in the book from the beginning.

Britt Shelley is stunned to wake up in bed with policeman Jay Burgess, only to realize that he is dead. She has no memory of going to bed with him, and suspects that she has been drugged. No one is inclined to believe her, and she is soon a suspect in Jay's murder when his death is ruled as foul play. When Raley Gannon hears her story, he knows that he must find out if she is telling the truth. His life was ruined five years ago when he found himself in the same situation with a woman - in Jay Burgess' home. Raley wasn't ever charged in the death of the woman he didn't even remember sleeping with, but he lost his fiance, his job, his friends, and everything that was important to him. Since Raley was a respected fire investigator, the police department attempted to keep his embarrassing situation quiet. The reporter who made certain that the public knew of his disgrace was none other than Britt Shelley. For the last five years Raley has been barely existing in a remote cabin in the woods. Raley believes that both his and Britt's compromising situations were set up by a group of policeman that included his best friend, Jay Burgess. Raley was investigating a deadly fire that occurred at the police department and he believes that he was set up to lose his career and respectability when he got too close to the truth. Raley believes that Jay Burgess was killed because he was planning to reveal the truth to Britt Shelley after learning he had a fatal illness.

Raley takes drastic action in order to spend time with Britt and discover for himself that he believes her story. He is very resentful of Britt over her part in his public disgrace, but he believes that she can use the information about his situation to exonerate both of them. After Raley tells Britt his story, they part ways, but she encounters danger and he must come to her rescue. Britt has no one else to turn to for protection, so she stays with Raley and they work to discover exactly what happened in the fire five years ago. Raley and Britt must deal with constant danger as well as their attraction and growing feelings for one another. They know that they need help, but don't know who they can trust aside from each other.

This book was interesting and had plenty of action. The hero, Raley, was a deeply responsible, loyal, honest man whose life was shattered by those he trusted. As the novel progressed and his nature and integrity were revealed, he became more and more likeable. The heroine was a caring woman who was quick to admit that she was unfair to Raley five years ago due to her ambition. She matured in the intervening time, and she was very regretful over the part she played in Raley's downfall. Raley and Britt made a good team, and I enjoyed seeing them grow to care for one another. This book had great characters and a good storyline.
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Comments (showing 1-10 of 10) (10 new)

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message 1: by Kathrynn (new)

Kathrynn Wow, this sounds like a good one! I have a few of her books in my TBR pile, but not this one. hmmm


Christa Kathrynn, This one is her newest one, and it's only out in hardback so far.


message 3: by Auntee (new)

Auntee This does sound like a good one--nice review, Christa!


Christa Thanks Auntee, This book doesn't have as much romance as a Karen Rose or Marliss Melton, but I liked it much better than the last few Sandra Brown that I have read.


message 5: by Auntee (new)

Auntee Good to know--maybe she's back on track!


ElaineY Does the romance have a romantic HEA or does the book end the way Play Dirty did - where the couple are only just about to discover if they can have a romance?

I don't mind suspense/mystery books with the romance in the background but not TOO much in the background such that it shouldn't be classified as RS anymore. I always do a check with SB's books after she left the Romantic Suspense subgenre as I did not welcome her defection to suspense. She's not that good at pure suspense and ought to have stayed in RS where I thought she was one of the "greats" like Linda Howard.


Christa Elaine, from what I recall of the last few pages of the book, there is an actual HEA. I'm sure that the hero and heroine revealed their feelings to one another, and I am remembering them talking about their future and figuring out how to make their career plans mesh.


ElaineY Thanks, Christa. I'll wait for the paperback, though. I never buy hardbacks as they're too uncomfortable to read and most of my reading is done when I'm in bed for the night.


Carrie I was going to review this book and I found your review. Now I just want to say "What Christa says because she says it better!" Only I'd then say "listen to it on audio because Viktor Slezak rocks as a narrator and adds lots of atmosphere to the book."

Seriously, this is one great review.


Carrie Christa, I did end up crediting you in my review of Smoke Screen. If that's not acceptable to you I'll remove it. Thanks.


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