Mean Streak
By: Sandra Brown

Quick-take: If you can forgive some incredibly predictable plot points, the story is quite enjoyable.

Dan's Review

Dr. Emory Charbonneau travels to a remote area to go jogging in tough terrain to train and clear her mind of job / family stress (obvious twist: husband is cheating). While she is out, she wakes up to find herself quasi-kidnapped (it's complicated) by a large muscular man who refuses to give his name, is hiding from his past, and is oddly caring towards her despite having a gruff attitude.

A blind man 26.2 miles away could see what is going to happen between these 2 characters. The saving grace is that this relationship is not the most important plot point to the story. I'm not sure if I'd call this a romance novel (I don't judge -read what you like). If you do like erotic material, there was lots of detail about Mr. Tall Dangerous and their love-making. I got through those portions with a bit of cringing. I categorize this book more suspense than romance.

The characters were believable (despite some convenient stupidity). The dialog was good, particularly the police investigators. Having two officers occasionally pause and discuss the crime and bounce ideas off each other was a good way to help me understand the story. The police showed themselves to be astute, more so than the main characters.

The book was written in the 3rd person with changes in main perspectives from Emory, Mr. Dangerous, and Mr. Cheating. It is a nice treat to me when that happens because perspective shifts are not possible with 1st person novels. When I was reading Treason by Orson Scott Card, there was a Foreword by the author. He stated at one point he wanted to rewrite the book in 3rd person from its original 1st person just so to have that ability. I think the most satisfying perspective shifts are made by Marissa Meyer in her Lunar Chronicles. She sometimes puts me inside the mind of a character that has no idea what is happening, but I do.

Something I particularly appreciated about this book was how fast it moved. There was never a dull moment. No prose was ever wasted (except perhaps a few choice scenes). While some of the books I read spend several chapters on small talk, long backstories, and drivel (e.g. what flavor of tea the main character is brewing, and BTW, here she is step-by-step making it...), this book did not waste any time. After just an hour or so in to the book, Emory had already had a bitter argument with her husband, somehow suffered head trauma, and then woke up in a stranger's bed. Now that is how you start a story!

I'd recommend this book to anybody wanting a fast-moving suspense story to supplement their diet of guilty steamy romance.

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