The Crush
by Sandra Brown
Book Review by Amy Coffin
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Dr. Rennie Newton is a successful surgeon in Ft. Worth. Her colleague and competitor has just been murdered. Though under suspicion for the crime, Rennie focuses on the needs of her patients.

This professionalism served Rennie well during her recent jury service. She was the foreperson on a controversial case. After carefully considering all facts, she and her peers agreed that there wasn't enough evidence to convict professional hitman Ricky Lozada.

Attracted by Rennie's striking looks, Lozada convinces himself that she is in love with him. After all, she found him "not guilty" didn't she? He stalks her in frightening ways and Rennie's solid personal foundation starts to crack out of fear.

Wick Threadgill is taking an indefinite break from the Fort Worth Police Department in an attempt to run away from his painful past. Lozada murdered Wick's brother years ago. When Wick learns Lozada is free to continue his killing career, he is motivated to return to Fort Worth and finish what was started so long ago.

The Crush revolves around the lives of Rennie, Wick and Lozada. Rennie prefers to keep her suitor a secret and live in fear. Wick works undercover surveillance, watching the doctor/murder suspect from a house down the street. Lozada observes it all, continuing to incorrectly assume Rennie is in love with him.

Rennie is most comfortable alone, but this preference puts her in grave danger. Wick falls for her from afar. He must win her trust before it's too late. This Sandra Brown novel has the main characters driving all over Texas while Lozada terrorizes everyone in the process.

Brown is returning to familiar territory for this tale, and that's not necessarily a good thing. The suspense that was evident from page one of Envy is merely mediocre here. Rennie is the typical Brown heroine: beautiful, successful and smart, except when in danger. Given the doctor's distance, she's barely likable. The soap opera dialogue in The Crush is also a trait inherited from past novels like Exclusive.

One thing Sandra Brown does well is a sizzling sex scene and The Crush has several. Sadly, her characters always seem to drop their drawers at the most inappropriate times (usually when they're on the run and their lives are in danger). This time, the coupling comes immediately after tragedy. I guess we all mourn differently, huh?

The Crush is a great escape novel, but it's not the best Brown has to offer. The story doesn't grab readers as quickly as The Switch and Envy do. It doesn't have the memorable setting of Fat Tuesday. It's just your average combination suspense/romance tale perfect for a television movie.

Fans of Brown's earlier romance novels should be happy with The Crush. The basic plot and outcome are similar to earlier works. For the rest of the readers, there's no hurry to run out and get your own copy of The Crush. A local library edition will do just fine.
The Switch
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