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book review: Tough Customer

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Usually, when I’m on vacation, I like to read as much as possible. And usually, when someone else is driving, I am allowed that chance. Unfortunately, I was the driver for all but 8 of the 52 hours in the car. And during those eight navigation-free hours, I was too interested in my navigator to do much reading. Plus, I thought it would be very rude.

“Hey… thank you for taking time off work to accompany us to Savannah. Why don’t I just grab my book and read while you drive us there?”

Um… nope. That certainly wasn’t going to happen.

However, whenever my kids were in the pool, which was quite often, I pulled out my book and read. And I was able to complete two books. One, Heaven is for Real, I’ve already reviewed. The other, Tough Customer by Sandra Brown, was also enjoyable, but in a completely different way.

One of the minor characters in this book, Derek Mitchell, was featured in Smash Cut just last year. And it’s his employee, Dodge Hanley, who leads the action in this book. In short, Dodge’s former lover, Caroline King, calls him for help after not speaking for over 20 years. Their daughter, Berry, the one he’d met through glass when she was born, was in trouble, and she needed his help.

It seems that a murderer had set his sights on Berry. In his first attempt, he shot one of her co-workers. This led to scandal, and Caroline wanted to avoid more.

I liked the fact that the history between Caroline and Dodge was leaked, bit by bit, as the book unwound itself. And I liked the southern setting which mirrored my vacation destination.

I’ve enjoyed Sandra Brown’s books since I read The Switch way back when my oldest was a tyke, so I also liked elements of the book that are quintessential Sandra Brown. She lays out the plot and reveals bits of the villain’s character, but she keeps part of it to herself. The tension of romance is always present, but it isn’t blatant enough to be uncomfortable. The twist at the end, though, is always my favorite part.

My children have learned that when I reach the last few pages of a novel, they probably should save their questions, lest they get “the look.” Hey, it’s the climax of the novel! It’s intense! Especially with Sandra Brown, and especially with this book. I never saw this particular surprise coming.

So… on vacation I was able to read two books, and both were winners. Pick up Tough Customer. Or another Sandra Brown book. And hit the deck chair. You’ll enjoy it.

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