Book review: Sandra Brown’s Friction is depthless escapism – and that’s not always a bad thing

The bestselling American author doesn't deviate from the erotic thriller formula that's sold 'more than 80 million books' and counting

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 16 September, 2015, 6:03pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 16 September, 2015, 6:03pm

The title of Sandra Brown’s new book finally offers a term to categorise the majority of her novels. They’re fiction, yes, but mystery, suspense, romantic thriller and various other labels are applied to the Texas author’s output of almost 70 books.

She deserves her own genre by now, one with a simple, memorable and descriptive name. I nominate “Friction”, in honour of her new book.

If you think of friction as disagreement or conflict because of different opinions or temperaments, this book has plenty of it. If you think of it in terms of bodies coming in contact and giving off sparks, then without getting too graphic, let’s just say that, like many of her tales, this book has explicit sex.

Friction delivers the elements of a formula that keeps Brown’s readers coming back for more, including a hero and heroine thrust together by misfortune. Texas Ranger Crawford Hunt is in Judge Holly Spencer’s court for a child custody hearing. At stake is custody of his daughter, Georgia. When a masked gunman bursts in and starts shooting, Crawford slams the judge to the ground to cover her with his body. He kicks the gunman in the knee, gets a gun and gives chase.

The plot’s ensuing twists and turns require Crawford and  Spencer to be alone in cars, alone in her chambers, alone in her home, further stoking their instalove.

But how can she possibly render an objective verdict when she’s personally involved with him? Crawford’s desire for the judge brings this word of caution: “A word of caution, judge. Don’t show up at my door looking like you do unless you want to get manhandled.”

It all adds up to a growing amount of, well, friction.

Brown is a frequent resident of the bestseller list; her website says she’s sold “upwards of 80 million”  copies.

As an escape from reality, Friction would make the hours on an  aeroplane fly by, but after a weekend of reading it in among the demands of real life, this reader felt cheap and used – and determined that the next book she reads will be deeper and more complex.  

Friction by Sandra Brown (Grand Central)

Tribune News Service