Sandra Brown is a go-to writer when in the mood for a thriller mystery novel with a twist of romance. Though not one of her more recent novels, “Breath of Scandal” is intriguing due to its seemingly different thriller formula.
Protagonist Jade Sperry has a plan for revenge. Raped by three boys during her senior year of high school, Jade left her small town of Palmetto, South Carolina, in a storm of rumors, shame and burning anger as the culprits skated free, piling disgrace and blame onto Jade’s otherwise beautiful image. Now, she’s returning after 14 years away, armed with an arsenal of wounds and determination to make them pay for their crime. Driven by revenge, Jade has become a powerful and manipulative businesswoman, focused on collapsing the wealth and pride of those who nearly destroyed her years earlier.
This novel differs from Brown’s typical thrillers. Though her novels aren’t predictable or boring, they usually follow a general formula of build-up, twist and intensity. However, in “Breath of Scandal”, character motivations and the true culprits are immediately exposed. On one hand, this alteration is enjoyable since it escapes her usual formula, and this novel throws expectations for a whirl. On the other hand, it feels as if the characters lost some of their mystery and could be predictable, causing the story to lose some of its intensity. However, Brown makes sure to throw some curve balls into the story so the events aren’t actually foreseeable and even the characters are taken aback at certain points by the twists that conspire.
“Breath of Scandal” proves that Brown knows how to write a captivating mystery novel, and it is refreshing to find a story in which she challenges her own style of writing. She is successful in producing yet another fast-paced and thrilling novel, guaranteed to hold readers’ interests all the way through to the final twist that nobody will see coming.