Friday, March 13, 2009

Play Dirty

I was introduced to the author Sandra Brown via an audio book that I borrowed from the library several years ago. She was and is a prolific author, with many novels to date, mostly of the sub genre romance thrillers. I tend to like thrillers of all kinds and since I'm not opposed to a little romance in the books I read I thought I would give her a try. That book was Envy and frankly, I really enjoyed it. Her style of writing seems well adapted to the audio book format and she has just enough twists and turns and suspense building to keep my interest through the 3-4 weeks that it takes me to listen to an audio book as I drive back and forth to work every day.

Five Sandra Brown books later I still enjoy them. I completed Play Dirty on the way into work this morning and it is no exception. It has an interesting premise that sets up the story: a star NFL quarterback has just recently been released from a 5 year prison sentence for gambling, throwing a key game, and other self-indulgent behavior. He is offered a deal to sire a baby for a wealthy corporate CEO and his wife who have picked him for his physical attributes. The CEO is in a wheel chair and can not sire a baby himself. The catch is, they aren't talking about invitro fertilization but rather...the old fashioned way. Of course that means, the CEO's wife and the ex con quarterback have to have sexual relations. This is just the setup and there are many more sub plots as well that lead us through the adventure.

While I enjoyed listening to this audio book, there were problems with it. The characters, to put it bluntly, just weren't likeable. That in itself can be OK, depending on the nature of the story but here, the author clearly hopes that we become sympathetic to the protagonist (the quarterback), hoping we come to believe he was just misunderstood. By the end of the novel we do get to see him in a better light but he is definitely a flawed chraracter. The other major characters I found to be very two dimensional though. Characters are supposed to grow in some fashion during a novel...better, worse, older, wiser...something. The CEO's wife for example, does grow but at such a breakneck pace that she is unbelievable. The coach, who is so bitter by the quarterback's betrayal 5 years ago that he can't see straight, makes a 180 degree turn at the end of the novel in the space of one paragraph. It seems to all be a bit too contrived.

Perhaps I am being too picky here. Afterall, I borrowed this audio book from the library to be entertained...and I was. I will borrow other Sandra Brown books occassionally as well because they never cease to entertain.

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Top 10 Books in no particular order (Well Known Authors)

  • "The Stand" by Stephen King
  • "Kane and Able" by Jeffrey Archer
  • "The Killer Angels" by Michael Shaara
  • "The Dark Elf Trilogy" by RA Salvatore
  • "Name of the Wind" by Patrick Rothfuss
  • "River God" by Wilbur Smith
  • "Mortalis" by RA Salvatore
  • "Ender's Game" by Orson Scott Card
  • "Centennial" by James A Michener
  • "The Repairman Jack" series by F. Paul Wilson

Top Books/ Series in no particular order (Lesser Known Authors)

  • "The Sculpter" by Gregory Funaro
  • "Power Down" by Ben Coes
  • "Revolution at Sea Saga" by James L. Nelson
  • "Black Rain" by Graham Brown
  • "Top Producer" by Norb Vonnegut
  • "Prairie" by Anna Lee Waldo
  • "The Wild Blue" by W. Boyne & S Thompson
  • "Unsolicited" series by Julie Kaewert
  • "Freedom" by William Safire