Archive | August 31, 2010

Standoff by Sandra Brown Review

A fearless reporter trapped in a volatile siege, two young lovers turned fugitive and a hold up that transforms a small desert town into a powder keg . . .

TV reporter Tiel McCoy is driving to New Mexico for a well-earned vacation when she hears on the radio that Fort Worth millionaire Russell Dendy’s daughter has been kidnapped. Calling her editor she finds out that the girl is pregnant, the kidnapper is the girl’s boyfriend and that they may be heading, as she is, to a small town in New Mexico.

She puts her holiday plans on hold to chase the story but as she stops for gas she gets caught up in a standoff at a gas station. If she survives she knows this will be the biggest scoop of her life. But as the night-long siege continues she is forced to put aside her reporter’s impartiality and become involved . . . or lives will be lost.

This is the second Sandra Brown novel I’ve read, and although I didn’t think it was as good as the first I read The Crush, I still enjoyed it a lot.  In fact, I finished it in one day – something that I rarely get the opportunity to do, but a long train journey and gripping story gave me the time.

Practically from the first page I was drawn into the story. Tiel’s a great main character, she’s believable and  I found myself rooting for her from the off. The kidnapping and resulting siege kept me on the edge of my seat throughout the whole novel. I’d strongly recommend this novel!

Better Late Than Never – Fiction Friday – 27th August

Last week’s prompt had ‘homework’ which I hadn’t finished by Friday so couldn’t write this then. This is literally the first chance I’ve had to sit down and write since then.

The homework was:

Step 1. Go to a busy locale—a cafe or coffee shop would be easiest. Sit down with a notebook, and make sure you look busy, so people don’t know you’re listening. Now write down random sound bites of  conversations.Try to get at least 10 lines or snippets.

Step 2. Now use all ten in a cohesive scene of dialogue or as dialogue in a story

Step 3.  Leave a list of the lines plucked from real life at the end of the story for people to see.

Here’s my story:

            ‘Been treating yourself have you?’ Gavin looked down at the Danish pastry in his hands and hated himself for having to justify himself to her.

            ‘I haven’t had lunch or breakfast today, and the bakery was the only place on my way here. I could’ve taken a detour, but I figured you wouldn’t want to wait any longer for me.’

            ‘Ooh, bit touchy aren’t you? I was only saying. I though you were trying out that diet this week?’ Gavin raked his fingers through his hair, too late realising he had icing on them. He swore under his breath and shook it out.

            ‘That’s the tiredness, it’s really getting to me this week.’ Sammy put her hand on his arm, he left it there for a millisecond before pulling it away – just because things weren’t great at home, he couldn’t start looking at Sammy in that way again. Not now.

            ‘She still waking up all the time? Doesn’t Janie get up?’ He could hear the way she said Janie, she was trying to hide it,  but there was still spite in her voice. Janie was right, he should’ve stopped seeing her. Someone from the firm would’ve taken over. But then she’d said it was him or she walked. Her company were big time – they simply couldn’t afford to lose them. Janie understood. Somehow. If the roles were reversed he wasn’t sure he would.

            ‘Sam, we don’t have time for small talk, we need to get down to business. Have you seen the figures for last week?’ Sammy sighed. Gavin ignored it and pressed on. ‘The figures are down for the second month in a row. We have to concentrate on getting them back up – it’s an objective.’

            ‘Yeah, we’re gonna do some work on it next week.’ Sammy fiddled with her bracelet and looked bored. He had to focus this somehow, make her realise the importance of the what he was saying. ‘Sammy.’ He moved his hand towards her wrist laying on the table between them, before he realised what he was doing and snatched it back. ‘This is impor…’ The ring of her mobile broke him off. Without hesitating she answered it

            ‘Hi Mike, I’m just… Uh…’ Gavin felt naked under the look she gave him. ‘In the middle of something. Can I catch up with you later? No, it’s not that important, we don’t need to renew it just yet. Yeah, I’ll come and find you. Yeah me too.’ She giggled. ‘Here? No!’ She giggled again. ‘Ok, I love you too.’ Gavin nearly splutted his coffee on the table, had she really just said what he thought she had?

            She noticed his reaction and smiled, fluttering her eyelashes at him.

            ‘Look Sammy, where’s this going?’ She sat back on her chair, flicked her head back, and laughed heartily.

            ‘Well, well. This is a revelation. The great Gavin asking little old me where this is going! I though we were just here on business?

            ‘We are. You know that. But I know you and I know you did that on purpose. You want to make me jealous don’t you? Well it’s not going to work. I’m happy with Janie and the baby. There all I want. I don’t need you coming here, trying to win me back. I don’t need it.’ He stood up and started packing his papers away. He’d just realised the contract with her company wasn’t worth going through this for. If they want to go somewhere else, fine, at least it would get her out of his hair once and for all.

            Sammy stood up, knocking her chair over in the process.

            ‘You know the disgusting thing? Men like you! You think you can just pick me up and put me down whenever you want.’ Gavin looked round embarrassed. Sam had raised her voice and people were staring.

            ‘Sammy, keep your voice down,’ he whispered at her.

            ‘No. I won’t. You don’t care.’ She looked round the room. ‘None of you care. We’re over Gavin. Over. NEVER contact me again. Not for business, and certainly not for pleasure. You’re dead to me.’ She grabbed her bag and marched out the room.

            Gavin sunk back into his seat at the other customers turned back to their coffees and cake. He felt like a massive weight had been lifted and life could now go on.

 My ten lines of dialogue were:

  • It’s an objective
  • We’re gonna do some work on it next week
  • I haven’t had lunch or breakfast today
  • Where’s this going?
  • That’s the tiredness
  • It’s a revelation
  • I’ll come and find you
  • Been treating yourself?
  • You know the disgusting thing?
  • We don’t need to renew it just yet.

I actually chose to do my earwigging at work – I split my time between reception and sat in the post/print room so there’s always people coming in and out.  I actually wrote 13 snippets, and as I was writing tried to fit them in. It was fun – and totally not what I thought it would be (originally it was going to be a couple breaking up).

Please let me know what you think. Oh, and remember as always it’s unedited.