Mean Streak by Sandra Brown-Review, Interview and Giveaway
by Sandra Brown
Release Date: August 19, 2014
Genre: fiction, mystery, suspense
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Dr. Emory Charbonneau, a pediatrician and marathon runner, disappears on a mountain road in North Carolina. By the time her husband Jeff, miffed over a recent argument, reports her missing, the trail has grown cold. Literally. Fog and ice encapsulate the mountainous wilderness and paralyze the search for her.
While police suspect Jeff of “instant divorce,” Emory, suffering from an unexplained head injury, regains consciousness and finds herself the captive of a man whose violent past is so dark that he won’t even tell her his name. She’s determined to escape him, and willing to take any risks necessary to survive.
Unexpectedly, however, the two have a dangerous encounter with people who adhere to a code of justice all their own. At the center of the dispute is a desperate young woman whom Emory can’t turn her back on, even if it means breaking the law.
As her husband’s deception is revealed, and the FBI closes in on her captor, Emory begins to wonder if the man with no name is, in fact, her rescuer.
Mean Streak by Sandra Brown is another one of her wonderful romance thrillers. I have read a lot of Sandra Brown over the years, but it has been awhile. I am happy to say she still knows how to knock them out.
Dr. Emory Charbonneau is our heroine, and I really liked her. She is a pediatrician, marathon runner, who is well liked and respected in her business. In preparation for a marathon, Emory goes to the North Carolina mountains in the cold winter, to take a difficult 20 mile hike. While on the run, something happens and she blacks out. She awakes in a cabin, with a strange man treating her for a concussion. She doesn’t remember if she fell, but her head is bloody. The stranger does his best to take care of Emory, but he refuses to tell her his name, nor anything about him. He claims he has no phone, and the weather outside is treacherous, therefore she cannot leave in her condition. At first she is scared, wondering if he will hurt her, and does attempt to leave a few times. She is in no condition to move with her concussion.
The mystery man despite his unwillingness to reveal anything about himself, is very kind and gentle with her. It takes a little time for Emory to trust him, and she still worries that he is keeping her there against her wishes, using the guise of the snow and icy conditions. The question remains for us to wonder is he dangerous, with ulterior motives to keep her in the cabin or is he truly her rescuer?
Emory’s husband Jeff, goes to North Carolina to search for her, when she does not come home in a couple of days. The police become involved looking for the missing Emory. As the detectives search, they find themselves becoming suspicious of the husband, whom is having an affair with Emory’s best friend, and is also angry that his wife will not support a drug product he is pushing to help his career. The police also know that Emory inherited a lot of money from her deceased parents, and the husband becomes a major suspect.
What follows is a very exciting suspenseful adventure, with a few stories somewhat related going on at the same time. Emory & her mystery man; Jeff and his mistress; and the local police. There is also an FBI agent who is trying to find someone, from a case years before. All these pieces will eventually tie in, as the story has so many twists and turns from the start to the end. We know that Jeff did not kill Emory, as she is alive at the cabin. But was he responsible for attacking her on the mountains? Who is this mystery man, and why does he hide his identity?
Throughout her recovery, Emory finds herself slowly becoming attracted to this man she knows is kind and nurturing. The tension escalates when two wild crazy neighbors come to ask for help. When Emory finally is able to get to town, more complications arise, and she once again finds herself in danger. This is a very exciting adventure that you cannot put down, as you will miss something important. I did enjoy this budding romance between Emory and her mystery man, as she learns to trust her feelings about him. What is the true story behind him?
The ending was a wild climax filled with surprises. Sandra Brown once again gives us a wonderful romance thriller that I totally recommend that you read.
Reviewed by Barb
Copy provided by Publisher
TRC: Hi Sandra and welcome to The Reading Café. Congratulations on the release of MEAN STREAK. We would like to start with some background information for anyone who does not know you. Would you please tell us something about yourself?
Sandra: I’ve written over seventy-five books. Sixty-four of them have become New York Times bestsellers. I’m a native Texan. I’ve been married a LONG time to Michael Brown, a video producer and co-host of the TV show Corvette Nation on the Velocity channel. We have a daughter, a son, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, and four grandsons. I love my job!
TRC: Who or what influenced your career in writing?
Sandra: As far back as I can remember my mother was either telling my sisters (four of them) and me stories, or she was reading aloud to us. I developed the habit of reading early in life. Books were my favorite toy. Daddy was an editorial writer for the newspaper, so I suppose I inherited a bit of talent for putting words together. That ability and Mother’s love of stories put me on the path to writing.
TRC: When not writing, what do you do to relax?
Sandra: I watch a lot of the dramatic series on TV. So many are so good! I love movies. I READ. Every day. For hours. I like to make flower arrangements. I’m also very social, and love to get together with friends and/or family. (But I’m not a cook.)
TRC: Is there any profession that you would have liked to enter but never had the opportunity?
Sandra: Growing up I wanted to be a professional dancer. My knees had a different plan! As mentioned above I love flower arranging. Probably if I wasn’t a writer, I’d be a designer of some kind. Interiors. Elaborate floral designs. Like that.
TRC: MEAN STREAK is your latest contemporary release. Would you please tell us something about the premise?
Sandra: On a remote mountain trail, a mishap befalls the heroine, Emory Charbonneau. Concussed and disoriented, she wakes up to find herself in a cabin, alone with a mysterious man. (Is there any other kind???) He’s secretive about everything including the nature of her mishap and how she came to be there with him. He refuses even to tell her his name. Meanwhile her husband reports her missing. Adventures and misadventures ensue, weather interferes with the search for her, and a dogged FBI agent closes in on Emory’s “captor,” who, it soon becomes apparent, might actually be her “rescuer.”
TRC: Are any of the characters or the premise based in reality or a combination of reality and fiction?
Sandra: LOL. Nothing nearly this exciting ever happens to me! And while I’m glad I’m not endangered as Emory is, I wouldn’t mind being stranded in the cabin – at least for a while – with the tall, dark and broody hero! I write strictly fiction. Everything that happens is purely make-believe.
TRC: What challenges or difficulties (research, logistics, background) did you encounter writing this particular series?
Sandra: MEAN STREAK is a stand alone novel, not one of a series. When writing it, I encountered the challenges I do when writing every book – which are the answers to the questions “What if?” and “What next?” Building in plot twists is always a challenge. Creating protagonists that the reader cares about, and antagonists that make the reader’s skin crawl, are recurring challenges. But those are the same factors that make writing fiction fun. I can’t wait to see what’s going to happen!
TRC: When writing a storyline, do the characters direct the writing or do you direct the characters?
Sandra: I plunge the characters into “terrible trouble.” I have a fair idea of what they’re doing to do to try to get out of it. I also know some of the obstacles they will encounter that make the terrible even worse. But sometimes both protagonists and antagonists are more resourceful than I am, and they actually give me ideas along the way. Some of my best plot twists I didn’t see coming. They knock me for a loop!
TRC: The mark of a good writer is to pull the reader into the storyline so that they experience the emotions along with the characters. What do you believe a writer must do to make this happen? Where do you believe writer’s fail in this endeavor?
Sandra: Common sense goes a long way with me, both in writing and in reading. While confronting extraordinary circumstances, a character needs to demonstrate extraordinary courage. They need to step out of his/her comfort zone. Otherwise, the reader will give up rooting for them. But I don’t like to doubt a character’s sanity or reason, unless that’s a factor of the plot. I try to make my characters’ actions risky and daring, but also credible. Of a character I either write or read, I don’t want to be thinking: “What a dimwit.”
TRC: Writer’s Block is a very real phenomenon. How do you handle the pressures and anxiety of writer’s block?
Sandra: I write. I don’t know any other cure for a block other than to defy it and keep writing?
TRC: Many authors bounce ideas and information with other authors or friends and family. With whom do you bounce ideas?
Sandra: Mary Lynn Baxter, to whom I sent my first manuscript – only at her request – to read. She owned a bookstore, and we met at a writers’ conference. She said, “When you’re ready, send me something. I’ll tell you whether or not it’s any good.” A few months later, I took her up on the offer. She liked my manuscript and encouraged an editor at Dell to buy it for the new Candlelight Ecstasy line. That was my first sale. Ms. Baxter is a writer, too. She and I still discuss plots. I also bounce ideas and plot lines off my son, Ryan Brown, who’s published two novels.
TRC: What three things would you like to accomplish in the next five years?
Sandra: Become a regular on one of the national morning shows, have a feature film made of one of my books, learn to like exercising.
TRC: What is something that few, if any people, know about you?
Sandra: That I’m very insecure.
TRC: On what are you currently working?
Sandra: Now that MEAN STREAK is finished, I’m plotting a new novel.
TRC: Would you like to add anything else?
Sandra: Thanks! It’s been fun!
TRC: Thank you Sandra for taking the time to answer our questions. Congratulations on all of your success and the release of MEAN STREAK.
Sandra Brown is the author of more than sixty New York Times bestsellers, including DEADLINE (2013), LOW PRESSURE (2012), LETHAL (2011), TOUGH CUSTOMER (2010), SMASH CUT (2009), SMOKE SCREEN (2008), PLAY DIRTY (2007), RICOCHET (2006), and CHILL FACTOR, all of which have jumped onto the Times bestseller list in the number one to five spot.
Brown began her writing career in 1981 and since then has published over seventy novels, bringing the number of copies of her books in print worldwide to upwards of eighty million. Her work has been translated into thirty-four languages.
Brown holds an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Texas Christian University. She served as the president of the Mystery Writers of American in 2012 and was named ITW’s Thriller Master for 2008, the top award given by the International Thriller Writer’s Association. Other awards and commendations include the 2007 Texas Medal of Arts Award for Literature and the Romance Writers of America’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
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