Guest Editor, Andrea Parks
When one of Atlanta\’s most successful CEOs is murdered in a hotel elevator, full of people, the investigation begins. All the ingredients are here in Smash Cut by Sandra Brown: murder, money, mystery, madness, and mojo. Â Murder going down the elevator, mojo up in the air at 10,000 feet â€“ and that\’s just the first three chapters.
Paul Wheeler, the victim, was an extremely wealthy and well-regarded businessman; he was also a widower. His only heir is his nephew, Creighton Wheeler. Creighton is beautiful to look at but arrogant, conceited and utterly self-important, wholly unlikeable to everyone. He is a prime suspect but unfortunately for the police, Creighton has a genuine alibi and a relatively weak motive.
Unfortunately for Julie Rutledge, all evidence points directly at her. Also a prime suspect, Julie was a special “friend” of the murder victim (although not exactly recognized as a friend of the Wheeler family). She was in the elevator with Paul when the crime occurred â€“ on her way out of the five-star hotel at which she and Paul met each and every Tuesday. She is a self-sufficient, vivacious young woman with much to gain from the murder. And as much to lose, particularly once she makes the acquaintance of the best defense attorney in Atlanta.
Other suspects to be considered are Creighton\’s parents, Doug and his lovely but dull wife, Sharon. Doug and his brother Paul were very close and worked closely in the family business. Neither Doug nor his wife had anything to gain from the murder but they are very protective of their son. In fact, they have retained the best defence attorney in the state to defend Creighton, if required.
So then, about the best defense attorney in Georgia: Derek Mitchell. He\’s a really nice guy whose best friend is a lovely chocolate Labrador retriever. He is also handsome and charismatic with just the right touch of reserve (and did I mention wealthy?). Derek happens to have, sort of, unintentionally, fallen into what you might call a relationship with Julie Rutledge, the prime suspect. He also happens to be on retainer for Creighton Wheeler, the other suspect.
Derek struggles to work out these conflicts in the best interests of everyone. He wants to (needs to) sort out which suspect is suspect. This involves taking matters into his own hands but he is trustworthy – one of the good guys. The other good guys are the two cops, Kimball and Sanford, who do a damn fine job of running a parallel investigation.
Add a few other peripheral characters to the mix, a subplot, a serious sociopath, several classic movie references, some sexual tension, and it\’s all set. The action just moves you along, practically turning the pages for you! Here you have a model romantic mystery/thriller – Sandra Brown doesn\’t disappoint. With her well-honed skills as a best-selling writer, Smash Cut is guaranteed to leave you satisfied.
Available now: Hachette RRP$32.99