>> Wednesday, January 23, 2008
TITLE: Chill Factor (excerpt)
AUTHOR: Sandra Brown
PUBLISHER: Hodder & Stoughton in the UK
SETTING: Contemporary North Carolina
TYPE: Romantic Suspense
REASON FOR READING: Because I haven't read SB in ages. She used to be among my faves back when I started reading romance, but she lost me when she started heading more into suspense and neglecting the romance. I was curious to see how I'd like her these days.
Suspense abounds in this gripping new thriller from New York Times bestselling author Sandra Brown, in which a successful magazine editor is trapped in her remote cabin with a man believed to be a serial killer.THE PLOT: The summary quoted above is quite good, it really gives you a good idea of the setup and feel of the book. So if it's ok with you guys, I'll just skip doing one for this one.
Cleary, North Carolina, is a sleepy mountain town -- the kind of place where criminal activity is usually limited to parking violations. Not so, lately. Four women have disappeared from Cleary over the past two years. And there's always a blue ribbon left near the spot where each of the women was last seen. There are no bodies, no other clues, and no suspicion as to who their abductor might be. And now, another woman has disappeared without a trace.
It is to this backdrop that Lilly Martin returns to close the sale of her mountain cabin, marking the end of her turbulent eight-year marriage to Dutch Burton, Cleary's chief of police. Dutch's reluctance to let her go isn't Lilly's only obstacle. As she's trying to outrun a snowstorm, her car skids on the icy road and strikes a man who emerges from the woods on foot. She recognizes the injured man as Ben Tierney, whom she'd met the previous summer. They're forced to wait out the storm in the cabin, but as the hours of their confinement mount, Lilly begins to wonder if the greatest danger to her safety isn't the blizzard outside, but the mysterious man right beside her.
Is Ben Tierney the feared abductor? Or is he who he claims to be...her rescuer from harm and from the tragedy that haunts her?
MY THOUGHTS: The good: How Brown kept me second-guessing myself through a lot of the book. Is he or isn't he a serial killer? Should Lilly trust him or shouldn't she? For a long time, I just didn't know. And Lilly was a good heroine, someone whose reactions felt sensible to me. No silly "I know this man is innocent because he's got kind eyes" nonsense from our Lilly. When in the slightest doubt, she's careful, just like anyone with two braincells to rub together would, and applies the better safe than sorry rule.
The meh: The romance. I didn't feel much of a connection there. I didn't feel like I knew a great deal about the man she ends up with, so I found it hard to get excited about a relationship between them. Actually, I didn't feel I knew a great deal about Lilly, either. I knew more about certain nasty secondary characters than about her. Which brings me to...
The bad: A big (and I mean BIG) part of the book is spent with the townspeople trying to get to Lilly and Ben, and such a disgusting bunch of repulsive bigots, most of them were! I hated every paragraph I had to spend with them and even the characters which were portrayed sympathetically (like that sanctimonious FBI agent) annoyed me. This just didn't make for a book I enjoyed reading.
MY GRADE: A C+.