Read just a chapter of Sandra Brown’s Lethal and you’ll figure out in a hurry why the Texas-born author has written so many New York Times bestsellers (60, in fact). She sets the stakes high and early—and you can’t help but keep reading.

Honor Gillette is a smart, practical and attractive young mother living in the small town of Tambour, Louisiana. She’s also a widow, since a car accident that killed her police officer husband. Though Honor is devoted to Eddie’s memory, he’s been gone for two years, and she’s managed to create a happy life for herself and her four-year-old daughter, Emily.

That all goes out the window when Emily sees a bloody man in the front yard.  Assuming the man is hurt, Honor (pausing from icing cupcakes) attempts to help—until he pulls out a gun and forces her back inside. It turns out the man, Lee Coburn, is a suspected murderer who opened fire at a warehouse the night before, and he’s now wanted by the police.

Though he initially seems like your typical pushy and cold-hearted criminal, Coburn turns out to be a bit more complicated than that. It’s not food and shelter from the cops he’s after, and he’s not out to murder a mom and her daughter. Instead, Coburn has specifically sought out Honor for information she may be hiding about her late husband . . . who may not have been as honest as he seemed. And Coburn may not be as evil as he appears, either.

Before long, Honor and Emily have been swept up in Coburn’s quest for clues, and they’re all three running from the law. Honor doesn’t know who to trust, or even if Coburn is good or bad. Her world is turned upside down when Coburn reveals that there’s an illegal human- and drug-trafficking trade going strong in her town, and some of her husband’s lifelong friends might be involved—and want her dead.

Readers have come to expect such dramatic plot twists from Sandra Brown, who started her writing career in 1981 and now has more than 80 million books in print. A native of Waco, Texas, she worked in modeling and television before turning to writing full-time.

A master at building suspense, Brown is especially good at keeping her readers guessing. Just when you think you can trust a character, she will plant the seed of suspicion, and you’ll be forced to configure the puzzle in a whole new way. 

Lethal is packed with chase scenes and action, but not to the detriment of developed characters. Readers will passionately root for Honor and Emily’s safety, and be tugged by the widow’s dilemma: To trust an accused murderer . . . or not?

Get ready to raise your blood pressure a few notches this fall with Sandra Brown’s Lethal—and I dare you to guess the identity of the villain.

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