Monday, May 9, 2016

Review: Friction

There’s a reason Sandra Brown, author of more than 50 New York Times bestsellers, is still going strong 35 years after publishing her first novel. Like a lot of authors, she can write a first-rate thriller. Unlike a lot of authors, she can infuse one with a first-rate romance.

So it was with enthusiasm that I downloaded the audio edition of Friction, Brown’s 2015 novel about Crawford Hunt, a troubled Texas Ranger who saves the life of a gorgeous newbie judge moments before she rules in the custody hearing of Hunt’s daughter.

In the week that follows, Hunt carries out a clandestine and ill-advised romance with the judge (Holly Spencer), battles his vindictive father-in-law for custody of five-year-old Georgia, and aggravates lawmen and outlaws alike as he pursues the people responsible for a deadly shooting in a small-town courthouse.

In Friction, Brown gets it half right. The crime drama is gritty and compelling. Though the identity of the ultimate culprit is never in doubt, the roles and motives of Hunt’s many other detractors are. Brown offers two twists at the end that lend poignancy to Hunt’s story as Georgia’s father and the neglected son of a town drunk.

Hunt is less sympathetic as a Romeo. His relentless pursuit of Judge Spencer is comically crude, a Lone Star version of “Me Tarzan. You Jane. Tarzan want Jane. Now!” Spencer, for her part, seems more like a schoolgirl with a crush than a rising legal star.

Even so, I liked Friction enough to recommend it. Sandra Brown may sometimes prompt readers and listeners to roll their eyes and shake their head, but she rarely leaves them bored. Rating: 3/5.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Two more for the audio files

As a reader for the past couple of years, I have really been a listener. More often than not, I have selected audiobooks over print and digital books because they are flat out more convenient.

With audio, I can “read” a novel while driving my car or walking the dog or resting my eyes after a long day. I can can consume quality literature at times that work best for me.

Aware that many other readers prefer to do the same, I have sought ways to turn my Kindle novels into audio novels. Thanks to reader Aaron Landon and Podium Publishing, I succeeded in 2014 with the release of The Mine. Thanks to reader Caroline Miller and an unexpected stipend from Amazon's Audiobook Creation Exchange (ACX), I succeeded again, last fall, with the release of The Journey.

I am pleased to report that two more books will soon join their ranks.

Chaz Allen, the producer of Little Known Facts, a nationally syndicated radio program, is about a quarter of the way into September Sky, my longest novel and the first in the American Journey series. The Oklahoman has narrated fifty-four audiobooks.

Sonja Field, a classically trained actress from Philadelphia, has just started recording The Show, the third novel in the Northwest Passage series. She has narrated twenty-seven audiobooks.

I hope to release both novels this summer. When completed, they will be available through Amazon, Audible, and iTunes.