The Crush by Sandra Brown

“Every move you make, every step you take, I’ll be watching you.”
— The Police, Every Breath You Take

New York Times best-selling author, Sandra Brown, is a repeat offender — in a good sense, of course. With more than sixty books to her credit, the eagerly anticipated thriller, The Crush is a welcome addition to the Brown canon of classics.

An eerie tale of obsession, The Crush does more than haunt dreams. Detailing the professional and well-kept life of Dr. Rennie Newton, a surgeon who has a natural ability to help others, yet ignores her own needs, this novel reaches into one woman’s structured life and describes the havoc that occurs to all her well-planned agendas.

After deciding a not-guilty verdict in a murder case against Ricky Lozado, Rennie Newton believes her jury duty responsibilities are over. When Lozado seems to be creeping into her post-jury life, however, she isn’t quite sure of her own safety, until Wick Threadgill enters the picture. The detective is as intent on capturing Lozado as the sociopath killer is determined to getting closer to Rennie. It soon becomes clear Lozado has carnal desires for the doctor, as displayed in this excerpt:

“You’re trembling, Rennie. Are you afraid of me?” He leaned even closer. His breath ghosted across her neck. He was erect and rubbed himself against her suggestively. “Why would you be afraid of me when I want only to make you happy? Hmm?”

This cat-and-mouse thriller is sure to entertain, but more importantly, it will captivate readers through its realistic depiction of life imitating art. While the story is fictional, it comes close to bordering on a narration of possibilities in our modern world of fascination with trials and convictions.

Brown manages to create a tangible world where Rennie Newton is both the hunted and the hunter. By teaming up with Detective Threadgill, she is assuming more than her responsibility in capturing an evil predator of society. In many ways, the manhunt against Lozado is similar to our own media’s attempts at bringing down a criminal — publicly and with lust.

Threadgill has a personal vendetta against Lozado, which means he will capture the killer despite all risks to his personal welfare. The one thing he is unwilling to risk, though, is Rennie’s safety, as he has fallen in love with her amidst-less-than romantic circumstances.

While it takes a few pages to get into the heat of the story, Brown does not disappoint. The writing is accessible and the descriptions are bone chilling, although at times the dialogue is lacking. This is easily overlooked, however, as once the suspense begins to roll, the action takes precedence over any witty banter that may be missing.

Undoubtedly, The Crush will be another Sandra Brown hit-maker. Throughout the tumultuous events, Rennie Newton faces her external and internal fears. As a previous victim, her relationship with Lozado becomes a little too personal for her liking, but through his presence, she fights hidden demons. Detective Threadgill strives for personal redemption in his hunt for Lozado, battling the current murderer and buried personal faults along the way. Brown’s tried-and-true thriller genre, combined with romantic qualities and breathtaking suspense, makes for a page-turning read.