Thick As Thieves
Grand Central Publishing
August 25th, 2020
Thick As Thieves by Sandra Brown is a riveting romantic suspense story. She has a knack for throwing in a curve ball twist at the end, which only makes the story more engaging.
“I wrote the book after thinking of the prologue first where one of the characters, Rusty, says to talk about it is a surefire way to get caught. Then I took it from there. Basically, the story was built around a scene. I thought about a burglary and what happens to the four participants. I decided to go back in time twenty years ago when the robbery took place and then switch to the present day. This allowed me to slowly give the sequence of events that brought them to that place in the present day.”
The story opens with a robbery of half-million dollars by four individuals. But by daybreak their plan has become unraveled. One of them was in the hospital, one in jail, one dead, and one who got away with it. Readers are then brought back to the present, with Arden Maxwell arriving back in her childhood hometown of Caddo Lake, Texas. Her father was the person who supposedly escaped with all the cash after murdering one of his accomplishes. Arden has never reconciled with the abandonment done by her father to her sister and herself. Now, living in the family house, she has decided to do some remodeling by hiring Ledge Burnet. He was one of the four robbers and as a teenager evaded jail sentence by enlisting in the army. Now back from his service as a Special Forces sniper he decides to pursue his dream of becoming a contractor. But he has an ulterior motive, trying to protect Arden. Together they pursue the truth behind the robbery and try to find a link between the heist, murder, and the corrupt District Attorney Rusty Dyle.
The characters are well developed. “I wanted Ledge to be a hero, even though he did not consider himself one. He felt he was an outsider and knew what it is like to be ostracized. I think he was also a protector of Crystal, Arden, and his Uncle. Because of his participation in the burglary he was stuck in the past until he would find resolutions. The Infinity tattoo shows this when he explains it means ‘what you do stays with you forever.’ Overall, he is kind, loyal, with a zero tolerance for bad people. Arden is stuck in neutral. She has tried everything, even having a baby, to get her life in first gear. Eventually, Arden realized she could only move forward after getting answers of what happened to her father who abandoned her. She is sad but also independent and gracious. What they both have in common is loneliness. There is a scene in the book where Arden recognizes Ledge is lonely. She recognized it in herself and realized for both of them this was a defense mechanism to keep others at arm’s length.”
Because this is a character-oriented plot Brown made sure that “Rusty is seen as a scumbag, unscrupulous, totally amoral. He does not have a decent bone in his body. He is a sociopath without any conscious, Machiavellian, an opportunist, and cocky. He despised Ledge because he knew that Ledge was not scared of him. He and Ledge had this rivalry over another character, Crystal. When I first thought of this character I pitched the idea that she would be the “hot ticket.” But after I started writing her I realized she had a past and was nothing like my original thoughts. Through her I was able to show more of who Ledge was, a protector of those he cared about. She is Ledge’s moral compass that keeps him on track and stops him from going off the rails. She is the voice of reason.”
The plot is set up perfectly with the first few chapters. Brown then lets the character’s journey take over to solve what actually happened that night. The ending twist will definitely take readers by surprise.