OMG, that was fantastic! And so incredibly intriguing, I almost have no words. The second I saw the cover of the German edition I was in love and as an old Sandra Brown fan, I simply had to have it *smile*. The book was published in the US with the title Mean Streak and though I don´t understand why they had to call it in Germany Sanfte Rache, I had great pleasure reading it. But I have to admit, that I like the German cover more than the original; though both fit the thriller content perfectly. Sure, she writes or better said, wrote in other genres as well, but the thriller is where she is at her best. So receiving an approval message is always a great joy and for a Sandra Brown title, it means a lot. When I started reading it, I was expecting nothing less but a great thriller and that´s exactly what I´ve got.

Sanfte Rache*
by Sandra Brown
Original Title Mean Streak
Publisher Blanvalet on December 12, 2016
Genre Thriller
Pages 512
Format Hardcover
Source Publisher

On an icy winter morning, the pediatrician and marathon runner Emory Charbonneau disappears while running on a mountain road without a trace. By the time her husband Jeff reports her missing, the trail has grown cold. While police suspect Jeff of “instant divorce”, Emory regains consciousness and finds herself the captive of a mysterious man. She tries everything to escape, but must quickly realize that the real threat to her life does not come from her kidnapper. And although she is still afraid of him, there are also sparkles of passion between the two.
Emory is in training. A big charity marathon event she organized is on her schedule and she wants to be prepared and so she plans on running in the mountains. Her husband isn´t too happy about that and the fight they have over it is the little piece she needs to take a break for the weekend. Everything goes as planned but when she all of the sudden gets hit by something and falls hard, the world turns dark. And with that dark, her life turns from normal and controlled to the opposite. The stranger who takes care of her frightens her the same way he touches her feelings. And the longer she is together with him, the more she starts to see how her life really is. And when she realizes that someone in her close environment means absolutely danger to her, she is in shock and looking for a way out.

Sandra Brown has again created a very strong story with the perfect plot. Unexpected twists and turns give this thriller a note that goes beyond perfect and catches your interest from the very beginning. The thriller starts with a prolog. A woman gets obviously shot, but the reader can´t see who or the why. From there on the story changes into the presence of the thriller and you get involved in the life and marriage of Emory Charbonneau and her work as a pediatrician. 

Written from the point of view from Emory, the stranger, and Jeff, her husband, the book is filled with wonderful irony, sarcasm, and very entertaining dialogues. In some scenes, the author goes very close to the obscene and shows humor where you can nothing but grin and that not everyone is what he/she seems at first sight. The author builds the growing tension by sudden scene changes right in the middle of the peak of dialogue or scene. That way she makes you want more and more the further you read. And in combination with her psychological finesse and the clear way she writes, you can´t stop reading.

Completely different characters play together in this thriller. There is Emory, who is a very predictable woman, very controlled, and who needs to do everything in a specific order. Being impulsive or do something out of the blue is not her thing. Her husband is an arrogant ass and loves money and prestige more than anything else. The fact that he can´t control his wife drives him nuts, and that she is more liked by others and in the limelight on a daily basis is something he almost can´t bear. But don´t think now that you can put him in a drawer and leave him there. Oh no! 

Sandra Brown is well known for creating figures who are everything but ordinary. And her Hillbillies are hilarious. The scenes with them are so subtle and great that you´re laughing tears and the stranger´s reaction to them is one hell of a blast.

What a fantastic and beautiful written thriller. After I had started it, I could barely lay it down to do other things. The author´s name is a guarantor for great thrillers and that is exactly what you get with Sanfte Rache (Mean Streak). Perfect created figures, a well thought through a plot, and all that packed into a gorgeous landscape with a hint of romance. Highly recommended and a must-read for all Sandra Brown fans, that´s for sure!

Happy reading

*This book was kindly provided to me by Blanvalet in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. Thank you. Therefore you see the cover of the German edition first in this review.

The original book Mean Streak was published by Hachette Book Groups in 2014.

Sandra Brown
Sandra Brown ©Gregory Heisler Studios
Sandra Brown is the author of 63 New York Times bestsellers. 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-four languages. A lifelong Texan, Sandra Brown was born in Waco, grew up in Fort Worth and attended Texas Christian University, majoring in English. 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. She appeared in 2010 on 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 holds an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Texas Christian University where she and her husband Michael Brown, have instituted the ELF, a scholarship annually awarded to a student pursuing a fiction-writing career. In 2008, she was named Thriller Master, 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. In 2011 she and four colleagues went on a week-long USO tour to Afghanistan, meeting with service members on numerous bases. Sandra is the past president of the Mystery Writers of America in 2012. She lives in Arlington, Texas, with her husband, Michael Brown.


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