Author: Sandra Brown
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Published: September 20th 2011 by Grand Central Publishing
Rating: 4/5 stars ★★★★
“You don’t have to give me flowers. You don’t even have to hold me. Let me hold you.”
When her four year old daughter informs her a sick man is in their yard, Honor Gillette rushes out to help him. But that “sick” man turns out to be Lee Coburn, the man accused of murdering seven people the night before. Dangerous, desperate, and armed, he promises Honor that she and her daughter won’t be hurt as long as she does everything he asks. She has no choice but to accept him at his word.
But Honor soon discovers that even those close to her can’t be trusted. Coburn claims that her beloved late husband possessed something extremely valuable that places Honor and her daughter in grave danger. Coburn is there to retrieve it — at any cost. From FBI offices in Washington, D.C., to a rundown shrimp boat in coastal Louisiana, Coburn and Honor run for their lives from the very people sworn to protect them, and unravel a web of corruption and depravity that threatens not only them, but the fabric of our society.
4 of 5 stars to Lethal by Sandra Brown
Every once in a while, I encounter books that leave lasting impressions, making me think about them long after I’ve finished reading. The last book I remember getting this exact same feeling is Champion by Marie Lu and now, to add to that short list is Lethal.
Lethal’s plot is pretty common, nothing new nor groundbreaking but it’s a damn good read because of Brown’s suspenseful and riveting storytelling; cutting each chapter just as the events are getting exciting, effectively hooking her readers; and because of the characters she meticulously created.
Not many writers can pull off a story with so many characters and make each one as interesting as the last. Sandra Brown has once again proven herself a master of this style.
Lethal has amazing characters that show us the warring ideologies about what constitutes good and bad. In this story, no one is completely good nor completely bad. Everyone stands in the same gray area and that’s what makes the characters so captivating. Protagonist or not, killer or do-gooder, I felt for each one because I learned their stories. I understood what made them who they are. A tiny part of me ached for the antagonists’ sufferings despite the vile things they had done which says a lot about how expertly Brown can play with her readers’ emotion.
Before you proceed, consider yourself warned: I am going to write a lengthy description of what I think of the important characters.
To start with, let’s talk about Lee Coburn. Coburn is so genuinely male. His no-nonsense attitude and practical ways make him a good agent but a lousy lover. He’s callous with his words and actions and unapologetic about it. He’s so fearless and that’s admirable but also partly sad because the fact is, he doesn’t care if he dies while doing a mission. Having no one in his life except himself, he’s always welcomed death. However, his views changed after meeting Honor. Suddenly, there’s a reason to want to live and ironically enough, when he was ready to have a go at it, he had to fight death itself.
Honor Gillette has been living a shell of a life with her four year old daughter, Emily. Ever since the death of her husband, she just drifted. Life is okay, their house is nice, she has a teaching job and has good friends but it is nothing but a bleak existence. There is no passion until came Coburn, bloodied and passed out in their yard. Their once quiet life imploded and nothing was ever the same. Honor is a soft spoken person but she’s a fighter. She handled her problems so well for a single mother alone in an isolated house with her young daughter. She was brave not only for helping Coburn solve the mystery but also for finally deciding to break out of her comfortable shell. It was a monumental wake up call to say the least.
Moving on to the minor characters, Diego defintely has to be first. He is a ruthless killer for hire and efficient in his task. Having grown up on the wrong side of town, he witnessed early on the ugly truths of life. He wasn’t just hardened by it, he was shaped by it. These circumstances changed him to become the merciless assasin he was known for. But the thing about Diego is that he knows how hard life is for minorities like him so in a way that it made him evil, it also made him human. He can relate to the broken dreams and desolate living. His ugly past that was his becoming was also his undoing. He fell for this girl who reminded him of his own miserable life, developed a burning desire to save her, probably because he failed to save himself. He felt happiness when he was with her. Maybe this girl could be his salvation, maybe this was his second chance. But life was cruel and his greed was stronger. He almost had that one thing he desired most but it was taken away from him as swiftly and fleetingly as he had tasted it. It was a sad way to go. His story, although minor, really got to me.
The Van Allens. Tom and Janice are a miserable couple, trapped in a marriage gone cold. They have a disabled son who they love so dearly but also secretly resent because he unknowingly caused their marriage to go into shambles. Tom and Janice are good people but just like Diego, circumstances shaped who they’ve become and while Tom fought hard to save their marriage, the same thing couldn’t be said for Janice. I felt great pity for the two of them especially for Tom who wanted to turn his life back around but never got the chance.
I hate to give “Lethal” 4 stars because it was truly exceptional but just like my previous reads from the author, something was lacking. To put it in cooking terms, I thought the romance needed a little bit more seasoning. However, for that one flavor it lacked, it made up for it’s addicting aftertaste. Reading that cliffy ending left me wanting more. But then again, this one missing flavor that I kept looking for is what made the ending so remarkable anyways. Ironically, that missing flavor is the reason I wouldn’t forget about this book.