EXCLUSIVE by Sandra Brown


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 A beach-bag shoo-in: With trademark zing and vigor, Brown (Charade, 1994, etc.) takes on the White House. Television newswoman Barrie Travis is surprised by an out-of- the-blue call from First lady Vanessa Merritt (an old schoolmate) asking her to meet for lunch at an off-the-beaten-path Washington cafe. Even more surprising is Vanessa's strange manner and suggestive conversation at the rendezvous, leading Barrie to suspect that the recent death of Robert Rushton Merritt, the President and Vanessa's only son, may be more of a mystery than it seemed when it was splashed all over the evening news as a classic case of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). Barrie knows for sure that she's on to something when the president's smarmy right-hand man, Spencer Martin, starts eliminating her sources and following her tracks; with the help of her best friend Daily, an ex-reporter, and Gray Bondurant, a war hero and former aide to the president who escaped the crooked administration for the wilds of Colorado, Barrie launches a full-scale investigation in search of the answer America doesn't even know it doesn't know: What really happened to the First Son, and just how corrupt are the dashing young president and his lovely, grieving wife? The search uncovers more dirt and danger than Barrie, Daily, or even Gray had imagined, and Barrie's sleazy boss Howie Fripp is more of a hindrance than a help. But, of course, it's not just the mystery that preoccupies Barrie, whose first encounter with the dashing Gray is unforgettable; in the final pages, Brown nails a clever plot twist that will surprise all but the most suspicious of readers. A fine pick for an election year: Brown knows her terrain and has produced a lively, gripping read. (First printing of 350,000; Literary Guild main selection; author tour)

Pub Date: July 5th, 1996
ISBN: 0-446-51978-2
Page count: 457pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 1996


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