by Sandra Brown is an intriguing story about redemption and
second chances intertwined within a “who done it”
mystery. The complexity of the plot originates with the lies
The saying that fate plays a role in everyday life where someone
can be at the wrong place at the wrong time is the starting
point for this novel. Twenty-five years ago a bombing at the
Dallas Hotel, the Pegasus, leaves 98 dead and 197 wounded.
An iconic photo was taken of Major Franklin Trapper rescuing
a little five-year-old girl from the building’s ruins.
Although he was never the reluctant hero and has played off
his fame, the last few years he has gone into seclusion. Fast-forward
to twenty-five years later, where that girl, Kerra Bailey,
now a Dallas reporter, is trying to get an interview with
the Major. She is hoping to gain national fame during the
exclusive as she tells the world that she is the girl in the
Brown commented, "the iconic photo of the fireman carrying
the child out was blazed into my mind. That iconic photo made
an impact on everyone in the world who saw it. It was horrible
and heartbreaking. It really resonated with me. And I got
to thinking about other iconic photos of history. There was
the raising-of-the-flag at Iwo Jima, the sailor kissing the
nurse in Times Square on V-E Day, the Vietnamese girl running
naked down the road, covered in napalm. Each of these photographs
tells a story that affects people in a profound way. I thought
about how the photos impact the people who are actually in
the photographs? In the Major's case, he has made a whole
career out of that photo and the fame that ensued. It defines
him for the remainder of his life. What must that be like?
And what must it be like for someone to live in his shadow,
such as his son Trapper?"
roadblocks she contacts the Major’s son John Trapper,
a former ATF agent, to help her get the exclusive. Persuaded
to do the interview, the Major and Kerra re-live those horrific
moments. But more chaos ensues afterward when two gunmen shoot
him, with Kerra barely escaping. Looking to protect his father
and Kerra, Trapper renews his interest in the case and hooks
up with her literally and figuratively. There are some hot
romantic scenes as they are joined at the hip trying to find
out who is behind the original bombing and the shootings.
The strength of the story lies with the characters. Kerra
is not a typical journalist, putting her conscience ahead
of her ambition. She is not insensitive and does not act "like
vultures circling a wounded animal, waiting for it to die."
She is poised, smart, personable, and tenacious. She plays
off well with Trapper who is at times rude, aggressive, intelligent,
and proud. He is still haunted by the regrettable choice of
his father who put fame over family. The Major is a very complex
character who is at times likable and at other times dislikeable.
He cares about his family but will sacrifice them to bask
in the sun, becoming corrupted by fate and fame. The regrettable
choice ruins any chance of a relationship with his son Trapper.
Brown believes "The Major was ego-driven with his family
becoming secondary. He stepped into the hero role easily and
embraced it. Being former military he became a Patriot to
admire and a champion that society needed. He had the courage
to take the time to go back and get Kerra instead of just
running out of the building. Kerra is a character I admire.
She didn't let her profession overcome her humanity She knew
where the line should not be crossed. I describe the media
in the book, but it does not apply to her: They act ‘like
vultures circling a wounded animal, waiting for it to die.'
She is ambitious, goal-driven, and a hard worker. Trapper
is a flawed hero. His life was one long game of catch-up.
A game he could not possibly win since the expectations for
him were so high and unrealistic. He did have a defining moment
even if it was the worst thing he could fear. He self-sacrificed."
Red bleeds with tension. It is action-packed, suspenseful,
and riveting involving secrets, murder, and conspiracies.
of other titles by Sandra Brown