The summary sounded very promising and the author´s name is usually a guarantor for thrilling books. Well, this time I am writing my review with mixed feelings. On the one hand, the plot is as close to reality as a plot can get. On the other, the story is, despite the topic, very calm and soft. Sure, there is a devilish person there and the psychological finesse cannot be dismissed. But otherwise? Her usual well-chosen sharpness in the writing style is missing. This choice of words, which falls just short of obscene, is not present.

Ihr Zweiter Tod*
by Sandra Brown
Translation Christoph Göhler
Original Title Overkill
Publisher Blanvalent on August 30, 2023
Genre Thriller
Pages 447
Format Hardcover
Source Blanvalet

How far would you go to seek justice?
Zach Bridger faces a difficult decision. The once-celebrated quarterback must decide the fate of his ex-wife Rebecca, who has fallen into a coma after a brutal attack. Should life support measures be stopped? Then Kate Lennon, the public prosecutor responsible for Rebecca's case, contacts him with an urgent request: She absolutely wants to ensure that Rebecca's attacker is imprisoned again as quickly as possible. Zach promises to help her, especially since he finds the tough prosecutor extremely attractive. But he still has no idea what means Kate wants to resort to for her plan - or what powerful opponents she has. When he realizes how dire the situation is, it almost seems too late: Kate and Zach can only flee for their lives...
Rebecca, Zach's ex, is not a child of sadness. When a party gets out of hand and Rebecca falls into a coma, a completely surprised Zach is told that he holds his ex's future in his hands. And his ex-father-in-law is doing everything he can to keep him on the hook. But the man responsible for Rebecca's condition is also breathing down his neck. Because he has to fear for his newly won freedom.

As emotional as this thriller is, it didn't really grab me. The author put me on the brakes too often when it came to actual enthusiasm. It all reads like it was wrapped in cotton wool. Strangely enough, I also found Overkill to be a fun read in some places. There's no question that the background theme is vegetative state, explosive, and contains a lot of explosive material. And I don't even want to start talking about a living will or a power of attorney, as important as these things are. The reality is harsh enough. Here it is woven together into a complex theme that causes plenty of conflict and makes the boundaries between black and white disappear.

The writing style is clearly that of Sandra Brown. But her speaking style has clearly lost some of its sharpness. The former, almost ordinary, sharp vocabulary can only be seen here in a few places. Especially when it comes to the devil himself, Eban Clark.

The conflict between Zach and his ex-father-in-law seemed more like a gentle breeze than an actual conflict. When I read it, I had the impression that one person was too cowardly to create facts and would rather blame his own failure on the other than take responsibility himself. And this back and forth about the ongoing plot started to bore me rather than entertain me.

Zach thinks carefully. As a former celebrity, he has to think carefully about his external image, because his own perspective is often completely different, and his ex-father-in-law takes advantage of this. Presents himself as highly moral and devout but has such double standards that it simply disgusts you.

It's an entertaining thriller with small weaknesses. Sandra Brown has clearly lost her bite here, and that's a shame. Sometimes it shows an illogicality that I don't know from her. Filling material seems to have been used, which is clearly unworthy of Sandra Brown. Hopefully, her next work will be better again.

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

So emotional dieser Thriller auch ist, wirklich gepackt hat er mich nicht. Die Autorin stand mir zu oft auf der „Bremse“, was die tatsächliche Begeisterung anging. Das las sich alles wie in Watte gepackt. Seltsamerweise habe ich Ihr Zweiter Tod aber an einigen Stellen auch als Lesevergnügen empfunden.

Keine Frage, dass Hintergrundthema "Wachkoma" ist brisant und enthält jede Menge Zündstoff. Und von einer Patientenverfügung oder gar einer Vollmacht will ich gar nicht erst anfangen, so wichtig diese Dinge auch sind. Die Realität ist hart genug. Hier wird das zu einem komplexen Thema miteinander verwoben, das für reichlich Konflikte sorgt und die Grenzen zwischen Schwarz und Weiß verschwinden lässt.

Der Schreibstil ist ganz klar, der von Sandra Brown. Doch hat ihr Sprachstil deutlich an Schärfe verloren. Von dem einstigen, fast schon ordinären scharfen Wortschatz, ist hier nur noch an einigen wenigen Stellen etwas zu sehen. Hauptsächlich dann, wenn es um den Teufel in Person, Eban Clark, geht.

Der Konflikt zwischen Zach und seinem Ex-Schwiegervater kam mir doch eher wie ein laues Lüftchen vor als ein tatsächlicher Konflikt. Da hatte ich beim Lesen vielmehr den Eindruck, dass der eine zu feige ist, um Tatsachen zu schaffen und das eigene Versagen lieber dem anderen in die Tasche schieben will, als selbst Verantwortung zu übernehmen. Und dieses Hin und Her hat mich über den Handlungsverlauf eher begonnen zu langweilen als gut zu unterhalten.

Zach wägt genau ab. Als ehemalige Berühmtheit muss er genau über seine Außenwirkung nachdenken, denn seine eigene Perspektive ist oftmals eine ganz andere Und das macht sich sein Ex-Schwiegervater zunutze. Stellt sich selbst als hochmoralisch und strenggläubig hin, hat aber eine Doppelmoral am Leibe, dass es einen einfach nur anwidert.

Ein unterhaltsamer Thriller mit kleinen Schwächen. Sandra Brown hat hier deutlich an Biss verloren, und das ist schade. Zeigt teilweise eine Unlogik, die ich so von ihr nicht kenne. Da scheint Füllmaterial zum Einsatz gekommen zu sein, was einer Sandra Brown eindeutig unwürdig ist. Hoffentlich wird ihr nächstes Werk wieder besser.

*This book was published in the English language by Grand Central Publishing on August 16, 2022

Sandra Brown
Sandra Brown ©Gregory Heisler Studios

Sandra Brown is the author of seventy-three New York Times bestsellers. Brown began her writing career in 1981 and since then has published over eighty 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. 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 ex-husband 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. She has gone on two USO tours to Afghanistan and Cuba, 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, USA.


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