Of the many books Sandra Brown has written, over thirty of them are romantic suspense novels. Seeing Red will, by my count, be her thirty-second such story. Having read roughly two-thirds of those books I can tell you that this a classic Brown tale, full of her trademark action mixed with romance mixed with mystery blend. If you are a fan of romantic suspense at all, you will want to be sure and pick this up.
Kerra Bailey is experiencing the afterglow of a job well done when the unthinkable happens: a trip to the bathroom turns into a fight for her life as armed gunmen invade the home she is in. Able to escape out the window, she runs as fast as possible, the hail of bullets following her giving extra urgency to her every move. A misstep lands her in a ravine, where she receives a nasty bump on the head and blacks out.
Private investigator and former ATF agent John Trapper had been shocked – and extremely put out – when Kerra had first appeared on his doorstep six days earlier. A TV journalist, she wanted his help in getting an interview with his father, the hero of the Phoenix Hotel bombing in downtown Dallas. Major Franklin Trapper had led a handful of struggling survivors out of the smoldering remains of a catastrophe that had claimed 197 lives. An instant hero, the man had been a media darling in the decades following the tragedy but has become a recluse in the last three years. Many blamed Trapper’s implosion as an ATF agent for his father’s removing himself from the limelight.
Kerra is certain she has what it takes to pull the man affectionally known as ‘The Major’ out of retirement; she just needs Trapper to give her an introduction. After she reveals the big surprise she thinks will cause The Major to agree to the interview, Trapper reluctantly – and against his better judgment – introduces them. Then he fades from the picture, returning to his relative obscurity. When he learns that immediately after Kerra’s live interview aired his father’s home was invaded, leaving him in critical condition from a gunshot wound and Kerra banged up, Trapper heads back to the small town of Lodal. This was exactly what he had feared might happen because he knows what few people are willing to acknowledge – the real criminals behind the Phoenix Hotel bombing have never been caught. And they will stop at nothing to keep their secrets.
This story is completely and totally vintage Sandra Brown romantic suspense. Kerra is the sassy, savvy heroine this author loves to write. Successful and self-assured, she will remind you of Cat Delaney from Charade, Barrie Travis from Exclusive, and Paris Gibson from Hello, Darkness – leading ladies who sought the truth at any cost. That’s okay because Brown writes that character with such consummate skill and imbues her with such vitality and verve that you won’t care if she seems a bit familiar.
The same is true with Trapper. He is the quintessential Brown hero – aggressive, bombastic, intelligent driven and overbearing. On occasion, those heroes wind up being more alpha asses than alpha male but in this case the author keeps Trapper on the right side of the line. He might skirt it fairly often but he never quite crosses over. I enjoyed his interactions with the fiery Kerra a lot but be warned, there are several scenes where Trapper’s flirting is more contentious and abrasive than what appears in many contemporary novels today. Brown heroes only give lip service to PC behavior; there’s still a lot of the old-style alpha from the 80s and 90s romances in them.
The action is fast paced and the suspense portion of the tale absolutely intriguing. You know something big and odd happened and figuring out what it is/was will consume your attention. The denouement is a tad bit hokey but since that happens at the end it doesn’t have an impact on the bulk of the story. And I stand behind the term ‘tad’; you won’t get to the end and be thoroughly disappointed, although you might roll your eyes a bit.
Everything fans love about Sandra Brown is in full force in Seeing Red, and her regular cadre of readers will be delighted by this latest offering. People unfamiliar with her work who enjoy romantic suspense novels should definitely give this tale a try – you won’t be disappointed.