Synopsis from back cover: Following the death of his wife, Crawford Hunt, a Texas Ranger, fell into a downward spiral that left him relegated to desk work and with his five-year-old daughter in the custody of her grandparents. But Crawford has cleaned up his act and now the fate of his family lies with Judge Holly Spencer. Ambitious and confident, Holly temporarily occupies the bench of her recently deceased mentor. With an election upcoming, she must prove herself worthy of making her judgeship permanent. Every decision is high-stakes. When a masked gunman barges into the courtroom during the guardianship hearing, Crawford reacts instinctually, saving Holly from a bullet. But his heroism soon takes on the taint of recklessness. The cloud over him grows even darker after he uncovers a horrifying truth about the courtroom gunman and realizes that the unknown person behind the shooting remains at large – and a threat.
Stats for my copy: Mass market paperback, Grand Central Publishing, 2015.
How acquired: Borrowed from my mother. I usually buy Sandra Brown's books as soon as they come out, but somehow I missed this one.
My thoughts: I knew I would love this book because I've come to expect that from Sandra Brown. She writes incredible heroes, men who often appear on the surface to be dangerous, threatening, villainous, but who in reality are good, honorable, charismatic men who love fiercely and take huge risks to protect others, to fight the real bad guys, to make justice prevail.
Crawford Hunt is a Texas Ranger who is in a custody battle with his in-laws, who have raised his young daughter since his wife died. Holly Spencer is the judge presiding over the custody proceedings, but before she can give her ruling a gunman bursts into the courtroom and begins shooting. Crawford throws himself on top of Holly to protect her, and their lives become intertwined from that moment on.
FRICTION was very much more Crawford's story than Holly's, which was fine by me because I adored him. I liked Holly too, of course, but for much of the book she was more of a secondary character as Crawford dug deeper and deeper into the mystery of who the shooter was, who hired him, and why. The mystery unravels slowly, and then ravels, and then unravels some more. However, the last chapter, after the mystery of the gunman was revealed, was a little bit of a let down, neatly and abruptly tying up all the remaining loose ends almost as an afterthought.
If you're already a fan of Sandra Brown, you'll enjoy this book. If you're new to her writing, you'll probably still enjoy it, and then you should seek out LETHAL, MEAN STREAK, and THE WITNESS, which are her best books in my opinion.