Deadline* by Sandra Brown
Published by Hachette Book on September 24, 2013
Dawson Scott is a well-respected journalist recently returned from Afghanistan. Haunted by everything he experienced, he´s privately suffering from battle fatigue which is a threat to every aspect of his life. But then he gets a call from a source within the FBI. A new development has come to light in a story that began 40 years ago. It could be the BIG story of Dawson´s career one in which he has a vested interest. Soon, Dawson is covering the disappearance and presumed murder of former Marine Jeremy Wesson, the biological son of the pair of terrorists who remain on the FBI´s Most Wanted list. As Dawson delves into the story, he finds himself developing feelings for Wesson´s ex-wife, Amelia, and her two young sons. But when Amelia´s nanny turns up dead, the case takes a stunning new turn, with Dawson himself becoming a suspect. Haunted by his own demons, Dawson takes up the chase for the notorious outlaws … and the secret, startling truth about himself.
Sandra Brown is when it comes to her thrillers, well known – if not to say famous for - that she uses not only a sharp intelligence within her figures but also a tone that is blunt, direct and where you can´t misunderstand things.
This thriller is a nice read, yes, but sometimes far away from what I said before.
Amy tries to give her sons a life as normal as possible. Not easy when you have to fight a husband who suffers some war trauma to get a divorce and later the press whenever his story comes up – even after she and the entire world believes that he is dead. When she has to learn, that the family behind him is way more dangerous than she could ever imagine and that not everything is as it seems, she is again forced to fight for her children, herself and the normal life she always wanted.
I was looking forward to this thriller and after only a few pages I already missed the certain edge, that usually can be found in the author´s tone and writing style. In Deadline she is unusual discreet and her language is unaccustomed soft. Yes, there are some very bloody and brutal scenes and yes, the psychological finesse is also there. But for a Sandra Brown thriller, this one was not at all up to her usual standards.
To her credit, I have to say, that the author brought up some unexpected twists and turns during the ongoing story and the plot itself was kind of entertaining to read. But I missed her sharpness within her language, which is usually very close to the obscene.
Her figures search till about half of the book for reasons and some proof that Jeremy isn´t dead as everyone believes. Then, without a warning, Sandra Brown changes that and turns the tables. For the rest of the thriller, the reader is the one who is almost on every page one step ahead of what the acting figures know or the characters know something the reader doesn´t know.
Amelia is a fragile looking beauty with nerves made of steel. She never lets herself get provoked; not even by the lawyer who tries to get her out of her peace of mind during the process. But for the reader, it becomes soon very clear that she is only holding herself together for her two sons and the media. In her private life she is anything but, and when Dawson steps into it, she can´t ignore the fact anymore, that her ex-husband might be still alive.
Dawson is a man, who has his own share of problems to deal with. Since he came back from a war zone, he is suffering from nightmares and the fact, that pills and alcohol aren´t the answer to it, doesn´t make things easier for him. When he sees Amelia for the very first time in court, he is stunned and knows immediately that she is the answer to all his prayers as well as his downfall – in the best positive way you can imagine.
All in all, I have to say that I was expecting way more out of this thriller than the author has given me. And in the end, I had one question still remaining in my head: What was the real “big plan” that Jeremy and his parents had going on? And yes, for a Sandra Brown thriller the answer to that was very disappointing and anything but a satisfying one.
Sandra Brown is the author of over sixty-eight New York Times bestsellers. There are over eighty-million copies of her books in print worldwide, and her work has been translated into thirty-four languages. She lives in Texas.