Synopses & Reviews
Paul Wheeler. CEO of the Wheeler Enterprises empire. At age fifty-two, he's a pillar of Atlanta society and a brilliant businessman. But Paul is out of the picture even before the opening credits -- shot dead during an armed robbery.
Julie Rutledge. A savvy, cultured, and attractive Southern woman, seasoned by a stint of study and romance in Paris. She owns the city's most successful and sophisticated art gallery on Peachtree Street. She was also Paul Wheeler's weekly companion at the hotel where he was murdered and was hand in hand with him at the time of his death.
Derek Mitchell. A defense lawyer of renown. Successful, handsome, and despised by the Atlanta PD for his courtroom victories, he goes to the mat to make a case for every client - and headlines for himself. A guilty verdict is not an option. Yet he's not entirely without a conscience, as proven when his life takes a terrible turn toward the cinematic.
Creighton Wheeler. The prodigal nephew of Paul. With movie-star looks and guileless blue eyes, the twenty-eight-year-old playboy has a penchant for call girls, fast cars, and designer clothes. But his passion is movies. He studies them, quotes them...and lives them. Even those closest to Creighton can't be sure when he exits reality and enters the fantasy world of films.
The murder of Paul Wheeler has all the elements of a blockbuster: family rivalries, incalculable wealth, and a prominent man dying in the arms of his beautiful mistress. It's a case that could earn Derek Mitchell even greater star power. When the Wheeler family approaches him about defending Creighton for his uncle's murder -- even before he's charged -- he jumps at the chance.
But Derek soon discovers that Julie will stop at nothing to secure justice for Paul -- and that includes preventing Derek from defending Creighton. Infuriated, Derek realizes that his hands have been tied in a way that could not only cost him the case, but ruin his entire career.
Although Creighton has a rock-solid alibi, Julie is convinced that he is responsible for Paul's murder. But the homicide detectives have another theory. Caught in several lies, and keeping secrets from Derek and the police, Julie is suspected of casting blame on Creighton to cover her own crime. Meanwhile, Derek fears he's once again being duped...yet he burns with jealousy when he thinks of Julie with her late lover.
But the more Derek learns about Creighton and his darker side, the more he doubts the young man's innocence.
And hiding in a squalid motel under an assumed name is the one man, a career criminal, a killer, who knows the truth.
The clock ticks down toward a shocking ending as Derek and Julie seek to learn whether Creighton's fascination with movie murders is merely a bizarre hobby or depravity. Has he begun reenacting cinema's goriest scenes...and, if so, who will be his unwitting costars? They won't know until the final SMASH CUT.
From masterful storyteller Sandra Brown (USA Today) comes this thrilling new novel full of jarring twists and breathless suspense that will have you on the edge of your seat.
"This superlative romantic thriller from bestseller Brown (Smoke Screen) features a particularly memorable villain, sociopath Creighton Wheeler, who's obsessed with re-enacting scenes from films like Strangers on a Train and Frenzy. When Creighton's wealthy uncle, Paul Wheeler, is shot dead in an apparent robbery at an Atlanta hotel, Paul's close friend, gallery owner Julie Rutledge, attempts to persuade the police that Creighton ordered the hit. Creighton's father asks Derek Mitchell, a criminal lawyer, to represent the accused Creighton, but Derek declines because he had a plane tryst en route to Paris with Julie after Paul's murder. Angered by Derek's refusal, Creighton stalks Julie; targets Derek's dog, Maggie; and plots to kill the ex-girlfriend of his henchman, Billy Duke, after Billy has second thoughts about helping Creighton. Brown skillfully charts Julie and Derek's quest to catch the slippery fiend. Multiple smash cuts (abrupt scene shifts) lead to a wonderfully frenzied finish." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
About the Author
is the author of fifty-six New York Times
bestsellers, most recently Play Dirty
which was published in August 2007 by SimonandSchuster and debuted at number two on The New York Times hardcover fiction bestseller list. Her other recent bestsellers include Ricochet
(2006), Chill Factor
(2005), White Hot
(2004), Hello, Darkness
(2003), The Crush
(2001), all of which have jumped onto the Times
bestseller list in the number one to five spot. Her new novel Smoke Screen
will be published on August 12, 2008.
Brown began her writing career in 1981 and since then has published nearly seventy novels, most of which remain in print. As of 1990, when Mirror Image made The New York Times bestseller list, each subsequent novel, including reprints of earlier books, have become Times bestsellers. Her novel The Witness was recently optioned by Twinstar Entertainment for a major motion picture. Brown now has seventy million copies of her books in print worldwide, and her work has been translated into thirty-three languages.
A lifelong Texan, Sandra Brown was born in Waco and raised in Ft. Worth. Before embarking on her writing career, she worked as a model at the Dallas Apparel Mart, and in television, including weathercasting for WFAA-TV in Dallas, and feature reporting on the nationally syndicated program "PM Magazine." She is much in demand as a speaker at book festivals and charity functions throughout the year. Court TV (now tru TV) also sought Brown to host the 2007 premier of its popular series "Murder by the Book."
Awards and commendations include a 2008 honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Texas Christian University, the 2007 Texas Medal of Arts Award for Literature, the American Business Women's Association's Distinguished Circle of Success, B'nai B'rith's Distinguished Literary Achievement Award, and the A. C. Greene Award. Brown is a member of the Writers Guild of America, the Authors Guild, Mystery Writers of America, Literacy Partners, and is a founding member of International Thriller Writers. She will be honored as the ITW's "ThrillerMaster" in 2008.
She and her husband live in Arlington, Texas.