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Tough Customer: A Novel Hardcover – August 10, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Brown’s latest thriller reintroduces a character from her previous outing, Smash Cut (2009): Dodge Hanley, a grizzled investigator who used to be a cop. Dodge is awakened one morning by a call from Caroline King, a woman he hasn’t seen in 30 years—since the day their daughter, Berry, was born. Now Berry is the target of a frightening stalker who has just broken into Caroline’s house and shot Berry’s coworker, Ben Lofland. Dodge reluctantly agrees to travel from Atlanta to Texas to help the police hunt down Berry’s tormentor, the vengeful Oren Starks. The police deputy on the case, Ski Nyland, is suspicious of Berry and convinced she is hiding something. As Dodge works with Ski to track Oren, his feelings for Caroline resurface, and he recalls how they first met—and the reason their torrid relationship came to an end. Though a late-in-the-game twist seems somewhat farfetched, the draw here is the appealing Dodge, a character Brown fans will have no problem rooting for. --Kristine Huntley


Praise for Sandra Brown -- : 'It's a great, entertaining read, with lots of surprising twists and turns, credibly flawed characters and a love affair that's as steamy as a Savannah summer.' -- Lisa Scottoline, Washington Post on RICOCHET 'A masterful storyteller, carefully crafting tales that keep readers on the edge of their seats' -- USA Today 'Perfectly plotted' -- People Magazine 'An edge-of-seat thriller that's full of twists ... Top stuff!' -- Star 'Fast fun' -- Cosmopolitan 'Millions of readers clamour for the compelling novels of Sandra Brown. And no wonder! She fires your imagination with irresistible characters, unexpected plot twists, scandalous secrets ... so electric you feel the zing' -- Literary Guild --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; 1 edition (August 10, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416563105
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416563105
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (253 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #559,630 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Sandra Brown is the author of more than sixty New York Times bestsellers, including DEADLINE (2013), LOW PRESSURE (2012), LETHAL (2011), RAINWATER (2010), TOUGH CUSTOMER (2010), SMASH CUT (2009), SMOKE SCREEN (2008) & PLAY DIRTY (2007).

Brown began her writing career in 1981 and since then has published over seventy novels, bringing the number of copies of her books in print worldwide to upwards of eighty million. Her work has been translated into thirty-three languages.

A lifelong Texan, Sandra Brown was born in Waco, grew up in Fort Worth and attended Texas Christian University, majoring in English. 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 and guest television hostess. Her episode on truTV's "Murder by the Book" premiered the series in 2008 and she was one of the launch authors for Investigation Discovery's new series, "Hardcover Mysteries."

In 2009 Brown detoured from her thrillers to write Rainwater, a much acclaimed, powerfully moving story about honor and sacrifice during the Great Depression.

Brown recently was given an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Texas Christian University. She was named Thriller Master for 2008, the top award given by the International Thriller Writer's Association. Other awards and commendations include the 2007 Texas Medal of Arts Award for Literature and the Romance Writers of America's Lifetime Achievement Award.

Customer Reviews

I look forward to reading more of Ms. Brown's books.
Maria Cox
The characters were interesting and the plot had nice twists and turns.....the story line kept my interest.
The end came much to quickly, The book seemed to beg for an epilogue, there was too much left unsaid.
Barbara Manfield

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

74 of 77 people found the following review helpful By 4everSLAUGHTERED on August 13, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Tough talking, chain smoking Atlanta Investigator Dodge Hanley (from Smash Cut: A Novel) receives a late night phone call from the love of his life Caroline King who lives in Texas. Dodge has not seen Caroline in 30 years and now their daughter, Berry, is being stalked by a former co-worker who wants her dead. He immediately returns to Texas. Sheriff Deputy and Afghanistan war veteran Ski Nyland, who is the local investigator on the case, is immediately attracted to Berry. Ski will do anything to keep her safe, but is suspicious of her story. Does she hold secrets that may have provoked her stalker turned killer? I really didn't care. The search for Berry's stalker isn't that exciting and didn't contain any mystery or suspense for me.

Thankfully Brown intermittently flashes back to 1978 to tell the love story of young police officer Dodge Hanley and aspiring realtor Caroline King. The flashbacks were the best part of Tough Customer -- how dramatically they met, how passionately they fell in love, how tragically they split apart, how remarkably differently their lives turned out, and most importantly of all, how enduring their love was.

For me, this was not a story about a murderous stalker, but a story about setting bad decisions right and having hope for second chances.
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56 of 67 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on August 31, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I hate to say it, but this book was terrible. I almost couldn't get through it, and for me that's rare, especially for a Sandra Brown book. It was so difficult to read, that it took me weeks rather than days to work my way through to the last page.

The characters were flat and uninteresting. I felt like I didn't know who they were at all. You barely even got a feel for what they looked like, so it was hard to get lost in the story. I felt like I was being forced to study for a test rather than reading a novel for enjoyment.

The only saving grace for this story were the few glimpses of Dodge and Caroline's relationship from the 70's. Unfortunately, there wasn't enough of their story to actually make this a good book.

Her books haven't been the same since changing publishers, but they still felt like Sandra Brown books. Not so with this one. It felt like a young Literature student wrote this book, not my once favorite author. Save your money, borrow this from the library if you feel like giving it a try.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Juliet on September 9, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Just finished the book and wow, it so could have been cut down to 200 pages instead of almost 400. I was never big on flash backs, but especially in this book, it kept going back and fourth. Anyway Dodge's character was a complete disappointment, but his personality kinda hit home with me, cause I am so like him. Caroline was OK, but Berry, she surprisingly was a vindictive bitch, but she did own up to that, and did change. I loved the deputy. It was slow and a bit boring, but once you get to page 360, it goes really fast and only then does the whole story come together. As for passion, Sandra's losing her touch, between Dodge and Caroline, they were luke warm at best even in the past. Now Berry and the deputy, that was pretty good but could have been better, plus it was only one scene. So I say it so could have been more shorter, more suspenseful, had more action, and for sure more passion. But the four star comes from the ending which was a bittersweet cliff hanger, but still good. If any of her books should be turned into a movie this would be it. Oh and I don't care how good of detective you are, you can not figure out the plot until I'd say page 300, and even then you'd still never guess the outcome.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By michael a. draper VINE VOICE on December 14, 2010
Format: Hardcover
2 1/2 stars.

Dodge Hanley is a former cop who now does private investigations for his friend, attorney, Derek Mitchell.

Dodge has been divorced from Caroline King for thrity years but still has strong feelings about her. He's taken by surprise when he gets a call from Caroline asking for his help. Before he can answer, she tells him that their daughter, Berry, is being stalked by a madman who almost killed her.

When Dodge arrives in Houston, Caroline introduces him as a friend who is a private investigator. Then, they inform him of what prompted their call for him.

Orin Starks, a former co-worker with Berry, entered her home and confronted her while she was in the shower. He infomred her that he was about to kill her. However, when she screamed for help, her friend, Ben Lofland, who was at the house, ran to her assistance. Starks was taken by surprise, then wounded Ben before leaving the house.

Dodge is a no nonsense, chain smoking tough guy in the Clint Eastwood-Dirty Harry image. He begins working with a local deputy sheriff, Sky Nyland, an Afghanistan War vet.

As the men search, Starks goes off on a killing rampage. He kills a number of people and police find the body of another co-worker who also had problems with Starks.

I wanted to like this novel more but found the characters stereotypical. Other than Ski Nyland, I found no interesting or sympathetic characters. Starks reaction to Berry's insulting rejection of his advances seemed extreme until the reader gets the full story.

By the time the novel ended, I found that I couldn't care less what happened to the characters or what caused Starks to become the crazed person that he was.

Sandra Brown is a legend in mystery writing but this novel disappointed. I wanted to move a 2 1/2 star rating up but didn't because I found that the main elements of this novel told nothing new.
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