Play Dirty by Sandra Brown is available in hardcover, large print hardcover, audio CD, tape, eAudio and ebook from Simon and Schuster. There’s a trailer for the book here and an excerpt here for you to read and enjoy if scroll past down the review that is spoilerish. Release date: August 14, 2007.
Play Dirty by Sandra Brown is a romantic suspense novel set in Dallas. The story manages to offer up a couple of shocking surprises for fans (or at least for this fan). Play Dirty is quite suspenseful and kept me up reading late into the night. Let me state up front that I am a Sandra Brown fan. I’ve always enjoyed her suspense novels despite the fact that her plots tend to be pretty implausible or pretty predictable with characters who are not all that likable. Some of you may say the same about this book. However, I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough once the story got going. What appealed to me about this book was the story featuring an ex-football player who has fallen into disgrace. Redemption seems to be the prevailing theme in this story and I like those types of stories very much.
After serving five years in prison for racketeering, ex-quarterback, Griff Burkett is finally released on parole. The only people in the world to meet him in Big Spring, Texas is his lawyer, Wyatt Turner and a nemesis from Griff’s past whose very presence threatens Griff’s new found freedom and second chance at making a better life for himself. Other than Griff’s racketeering case, there is the murder of a bookie that has hung like a heavy cloud of suspicion over Griff’s head despite his proclamations of innocence to the contrary.
Having to liquidate assets to pay off his fines, Griff is left with no money and no prospects. His lawyer sets him up in a cheap apartment. A stark contrast to the life of the star athlete who had it all until it crashed and burned all around him. Griff committed the cardinal sin of football that local folks are not willing to forgive nor forget anytime soon. So, off Griff goes to accept a job offer from an eccentric Texas multi-millionaire, Foster Speakman, who is owner and CEO of SunSouth airlines.
Foster Speakman and his wife, Laura Speakman, are regarded as the “golden couple” of Dallas. The two met when Laura butted heads with his CFO at a budget meeting. The Speakman’s seem to have it all until the cruel hand of fate intervenes, leaving Foster a paraplegic thereby taking away his manhood. When I learned what it was the Speakman’s wanted Griff to do, my mouth about fell open to the floor. I remember thinking: this should be interesting. The author didn’t disappoint either.
Play Dirty is an apt title for this book. I enjoyed it despite the fact that the suspense part of the plot pretty much fell apart for me towards the end. I expected something better than what I got for the resolution. The author managed to surprise me a time or two with a couple of plots twists that I didn’t see coming. Brown’s trademark chemistry was not in evidence here but it was still pretty good regardless. I don’t think or wouldn’t classify the relationship in here as being a “romance” considering how their relationship started. Ms. Brown hasn’t completely abandoned her romance roots entirely, giving readers a few explicit love scenes. Also, I liked how the author resolved the romantic subplot. I didn’t completely buy into the “I love you” part but the ending worked very well for me.
Play Dirty was nicely plotted with a good even pace that kept me turning the pages late into the night. Characterizations were decent. I can’t really think of any loose ends that the author didn’t resolve. So, did Griff change for the better? Did the author succeed in redeeming a character who was described as not being a team player who cared only about himself and no one else? Did Griff learn from his past mistakes? Yes. I think he did get redeemed and the author showed us rather than tell us. In the end, I liked Griff. He was a good guy. Play Dirty gets a B+.
[tags]Sandra Brown, Racketerring, Play Dirty, Football, Romantic Suspense[/tags]