Deadline by Sandra Brown

I love romance books. They are the perfect stress-free read. When I’m feeling anxious or need a break, I tend to gravitate toward the romance section in the library for a new(to me) romance read. I can usually fly through a romance novel in a day or two and get back to my other reading. I needed a good romance read recently and decided to look for one online. I checked out a copy of Deadline by Sandra Brown a week ago through OverDrive. I had just finished another book, saw Deadline, thought the cover looked interesting AND saw it was available immediately for checkout, so I decided to give it a listen. I had never read anything from Sandra Brown before, so I was expecting a regular suspenseful fiction read. Boy, was I wrong.

Deadline by Sandra Brown is a fantastically crafted piece of romantic suspense fiction that deals with family secrets, post-traumatic stress disorder, presumed deaths, missing persons, domestic terrorists, and a massive hunt for the truth. Dawson Scott is a journalist who has traveled the world writing stories. He just returned from Afghanistan after spending almost a year in combat conditions. Dawson is trying to cope with battle fatigue, but finds alcohol and drugs to be his only solace. He’s haunted by what he witnessed overseas and simply trying to get through his life one hour at a time. After being told by his boss that he is to fly somewhere less than desirable to cover a story, Dawson receives a phone call from his source within the FBI that has the power to completely change his life.

Amelia Nolan is struggling to get over the death of her ex-husband, former Marine Jeremy Wesson. Jeremy disappeared and was later presumed to have been murdered after the mutilated body of his married girlfriend was found eaten by dogs. Jeremy’s DNA was found on scene and authorities have presumed him dead. The woman’s husband is on trial for his murder and Amelia has been called to testify. Tackling this case while raising two very young children as a single parent, Amelia is working hard to keep her life together. With her nanny in tow, Amelia and the boys spend time on the beach, their safe haven from the craziness around the trial.

Dawson’s source has called to say that the DNA found at the Wesson crime scene has found a match. Jeremy is actually the biological son of a pair of domestic terrorists who have been on the FBI’s most wanted list for over 40 years. Pleading with Dawson, his source convinces him to cover the trial of Jeremy’s presumed murderer to try to find out more information about Jeremy’s life. Walking into the courtroom, Dawson plans on staying for a few days, writing his story, and moving on. The minute he sets eyes on Amelia though, his plan goes out the window. In an effort to learn more about Jeremy, Dawson decides to get closer to Amelia and soon finds himself developing feelings for her. Dawson has to stay focused, figure out who Jeremy Wesson really is, and if he is still in contact with his domestic terrorist parents. Could he catch them? Just how much danger are Amelia and her boys in?

This book is definitely a thriller with a bit of romance. Brown has crafted a book that is very suspenseful, but has some definite steamy scenes. This book is well-crafted with a plot that is quite twisty and chockful of red herrings. I was engrossed through this book as Dawson and Amelia worked to find out the truth. Highly recommend. I can’t wait to read more Sandra Brown!

This book is available in the following formats:

Suspect by Robert Crais

suspectScott and Maggie are new partners in the LAPD but they have a lot more than that in common – both are a mess after barely surviving brutal attacks that left their former partners dead, both suffer from severe PTSD and both are close to unfit for duty. The fact that Scott is a human and Maggie is a dog does not change that fact that they are just what the other needs in Suspect by Robert Crais.

Officer Scott James has just returned to work, still physically recovering from gunshot wounds that have forced him to give up his goal of joining the elite SWAT squad. He is haunted by memories of the night of the attack, when masked gunmen launched a surprise attack on a passing car, then turned on Scott and his partner when they tried to stop them. The cries of his dying partner calling for him as he lay helpless as his own life nearly bled out, rerun in his dreams every night. Desperate to find justice for his partner, he refuses a medical discharge and finds a position in the K-9 Unit where, he believes, he won’t have to worry letting down a partner again.

Maggie has survived three tours of Iran and Afghanistan, saving hundreds of grunts with her IED sniffing talent until a suicide bomber kills her handler and snipers nearly kill her when she refuses to stop guarding his body; the Marines are only able to drag her away by throwing a jacket over her and manhandling her into the rescuing helicopter. No longer able to serve in the military and wary and suspicious of everyone, the LAPD may be Maggie’s last chance.

Award-winning author Robert Crais  (best known for his Elvis Cole mysteries) is a master storyteller, showing how these two damaged beings fight back and help and learn from each other using language that is lean yet evocative – you can feel the heat of Los Angeles, the terror of Scott’s panic attacks, Maggie’s joy as she accepts Scott. The information about the training and deployment of police and military dogs is fascinating but never overwhelms the story and the final chapters, where Scott and Maggie work together to bring Scott’s attacker’s to justice, are tense and action-packed.