Brown, Sandra. The Crush. New York: Warner Books, 2002
Reviewed by J. d'Artagnan Love
Beach Read/Beach Trash: noun. A book that is easy to read and in which its sole purpose is to entertain the reader and not add to a literary cannon.
Everyone needs to read some beach trash every now and again. I did not make this word up. My friend did (but I solidified the definition above. Perhaps I should send it in to Urban Dictionary). That aside, the term fits a genre and style of novel in which it is good to indulge. Beach read novels don’t necessarily add anything new to the literary world or work to push any boundaries. Beach reads are all about stories and not just any stories, but stories that are wildly entertaining, easy to consume, and fun. I need more beach trash in my reading diet.
Thus, at a used book sale, I stocked up on paperback novels that fit this genre of “beach read” and started to dig into the pile this spring. The Crush is the first that I picked up and I wasn’t disappointed.
Rennie Newton is a top surgeon at a hospital in a Texas town. Blonde, beautiful and completely uninterested in romance, Rennie is chosen to lead a jury in the trial of Ricky Lozada, a known contract killer. During the trial, Lozada develops a mad crush on Rennie, and is not found guilty. A few months later, a fellow surgeon competing with Rennie for a promotion at the hospital is found murdered in the hospital parking lot. All the evidence points to Lozada being the killer but Rennie is considered a suspect as well.
The police department then calls on the help of Wick Threadgill, a police officer taking a break from police work after the murder of his older brother, who was also employed as a police officer. Reluctantly, Wick agrees to help with the case, but on his terms and in his own way. As Lozada stalks Rennie more closely, Wick also grows attached to her but the mystery surrounding Rennie Newton grows even more tangled when he discovers secrets from her past she has worked hard to bury.
I stuck this book in my purse and took it with me everywhere. It was a great read to escape the stress of daily life. I read it in waiting rooms at doctor’s offices. I read on my lunch break at work. It served as an escape which is exactly the purpose of a beach read. While it didn’t add to the literary world any new prose or genius stylistics, I found Brown’s writing to be clever. The narrative held my attention throughout the story which didn’t feel too contrived or cliché for me to enjoy it (I am, after all, still a slight book snob. I admit it). I liked the characters and the plot exhumed some emotion as I read, but not so much to be overwhelming as some books can be. This text found the perfect balance between being suspenseful and being entertaining. Not a bad start to my pile of paperbacks!
3 darts out of 5
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