I´ve been a Sandra Brown fan for many years now. I don´t like all her books, but those where she writes in the thriller genre are my favorites. Well, most of them. Tailspin is a mix of slapstick, great action, and tragedy. Combined by the author into a very entertaining story with some scenes I wasn´t sure if they had been necessary. But judge for yourself.

Sein Eisiges Herz*
by Sandra Brown
Translation Christoph Göhler
Original Title Tailspin
Publisher Blanvalet on November 23, 2020
Genre Thriller
Pages 553
Format Hardcover
Source Blanvalet

Rye Mallett earns his living as a contract pilot, he is known for flying day and night and in bad weather without asking any questions. His next assignment: a mysterious black box must be brought to a city in Georgia completely enclosed by fog. On the runway in nowhere, Dr. Brynn O´Neal is waiting for the valuable cargo. Rye doesn´t usually interfere in his customers´ business – but he is drawn to the enigmatic Brynn inexplicably. When the two realize that there are people who would go over dead bodies for the contents of the black box, they have to trust each other to protect the cargo and themselves …(personal translation by ©Vi at Inkvotary).
When Rye is asked to fly into an area to deliver a box, he has no clue that it will change his life forever. Not only is the box containing something everybody seems to want desperately but also, he sees himself involved with a woman he does not know if he should rather kiss her or stay away from. All his senses tell him that something is wrong. With her and the box. But he also knows that she is in great danger. 

The story of Brynn and Rye is told at a brisk pace and made even more interesting by the razor-sharp mind and the quick combination skills of Rye, the pilot. The language is used brilliantly, the plot is superbly staged, and the characters have a charm, a certain depth, and a certain sense of humor. Nevertheless, I have to say that in some places it was too slapstick for me. Evil reminded me more of a Bud Spencer movie than a Sandra Brown thriller. What also bothered me a bit towards the end of the book, the plot went back and forth too often. It was literally unclear except for the last few pages how it would end and where. It looked more like filling material for a story that had already been told than it was to build up tension. And yet the psychological finesse is undeniable and keeps you in suspense.

The author presents an interesting cross-section of society. Some of the characters are surprisingly deep while others are rather shallow. Evil is portrayed as almost cliché. Not exactly typical of Sandra Brown. 

Brynn didn´t have a good childhood. But the firm will to make something of herself in order to get away from where she comes from. As a doctor, she is in demand. She is revered and valued in her field and is extremely popular with her patients. The fact that she cannot help everyone and that the rich patients´ money often has more leverage is an intolerable situation for them. 

Rye is a man who not only has a fantastic power of observation, but he also sees things that others do not notice. A fact that saves his and Brynn´s lives more than once. He has his very own view of the profession of a pilot and almost everyone at first glance appears to be a predator. Until Brynn comes into his life and turns it upside down. 

Apart from the slightly too many slapstick moments, which gave it a cheap undertone, this thriller was incredibly entertaining. Tension, action, and the fight for justice were almost perfectly staged. All in all, the thriller is very good entertainment.

Happy reading

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

Deutsche Rezension

Die Geschichte um Brynn und Rye wird im zügigen Lesetempo geschildert und durch den messerscharfen Verstand und die rasche Kombinationsgabe von Rye dem Piloten noch um ein Vielfaches interessanter gemacht. Die Sprache ist brillant eingesetzt, der Plot hervorragend inszeniert und die Figuren haben Charme, eine gewisse Tiefgründigkeit und zeigen einen gewissen Humor. Trotzdem muss ich sagen, dass es mir an einigen Stellen zu Slapstick mäßig gewesen ist. Das Böse hat mich da eher an einen Bud Spencer Film erinnert als an einen Sandra-Brown-Thriller. Was mich ebenfalls gegen Ende des Buches etwas störte, die Handlung ging mir zu oft hin und her. Es war buchstäblich bis auf die letzten Seiten nicht klar, wie es enden würde und wo. Das hatte mehr den Anschein von Füllmaterial für eine Geschichte, die bereits erzählt war, als von Spannungsaufbau. Und trotzdem ist die psychologische Finesse nicht zu leugnen und hält einen in Atem.

Die Autorin präsentiert einen interessanten Querschnitt durch die Gesellschaft. Einige der Charaktere sind überraschend tiefgründig während, andere eher flach angelegt sind. Das Böse wird schon fast klischeehaft dargestellt. Nicht unbedingt typisch für Sandra Brown.

Brynn hat keine schöne Kindheit gehabt. Aber den festen Willen aus sich etwas zu machen, um von da, wo sie herkommt, wegzukommen. Als Ärztin ist sie gefragt. Auf ihrem Fachgebiet wird sie verehrt, geschätzt und bei ihren Patienten ist sie äußerst beliebt. Dass sie nicht allen helfen kann und oftmals das Geld der reichen Patienten am längeren Hebel ist, ist für sie ein untragbarer Zustand.

Rye ist ein Mann, der nicht nur eine fantastische Beobachtungsgabe hat, er sieht auch Dinge, die anderen nicht auffallen. Eine Tatsache, die ihm und Brynn mehr als einmal das Leben rettet. Er hat seine ganz eigene Ansicht, was den Beruf eines Piloten betrifft und erscheint fast allen auf den ersten Blick als ausgemachtes Raubein. Bis Brynn in sein Leben tritt und es gehörig auf den Kopf stellt.

Abgesehen von den etwas zu vielen Slapstick-Momenten, was dem Ganzen einen billigen Unterton gab, war dieser Thriller unglaublich unterhaltsam. Spannung, Action und der Kampf um Gerechtigkeit waren fast perfekt inszeniert. Alles in allem ist der Thriller aber sehr gute Unterhaltung.

*The title was originally published Tailspin by Grand Central Publishing on August 7, 2018. 

Sandra Brown
Sandra Brown ©Gregory Heisler Studios

Sandra Brown is the author of seventy New York Times bestsellers. Brown began her writing career in 1981 and since then has published over seventy-five novels. Bringing the number of copies of her books in print worldwide to over 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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