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Tough Customer    by Sandra Brown order for
Tough Customer
by Sandra Brown
Order:  USA  Can
Simon & Schuster, 2010 (2010)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Sandra Brown writes passionate thrillers with lusty, larger than life heroes and heroines and surprising endings - think Envy, The Crush, Hello, Darkness, Smoke Screen, among many others. This time she packs two sizzling romances and a particularly devious serial killer into Tough Customer.

One tough customer, Atlanta PI and former cop Dodge Hanley is surprised by a call from his past. He has never forgotten Caroline King, whom he once loved, and who gave him a daughter, Berry Malone, he has never seen. The mystery of what caused their thirty year separation pulls reader interest through the story, as Brown doles out answers in regular flashbacks. Now Caroline seeks Dodge's help to protect Berry from an unhinged stalker, Oren Starks, who has declared his intention to kill her. He has begun by shooting the colleague, Ben Lofland, who was working with her at Caroline's lake house. Dodge flies to Houston.

A second tough customer is ex-Special Forces Deputy Ski Nyland, one of the first responders in the shooting. Seeing Berry just out of the shower and scantily dressed, he's instantly smitten, though suspicious of aspects of her story. The third and final tough customer in this gripping chiller is Starks. He cuts a gory swathe of bodies through Texas, but his methods and motivations don't seem to match his profile. Fortunately, as Starks' plans come to fruition, he's up against not only Ski, but also Dodge, who morphed on his first sight of Berry into 'Conan the Barbarian, proprietary and protective to a savage extent.'

Sandra Brown's legion of fans will not be disappointed in Tough Customer, another scorching thriller with engaging leads and a redemptive and very satisfying ending.

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