Reviews

Brown, Sandra: Friction (2015)

Since it looks like I’ll have to spend the next couple of days at a nearby lake in order to avoid melting into a puddle in front of my desk, I’ll present you a book today that I’d bring with me if I hadn’t read it already.

Friction is a light and entertaining read, perfect for hot, brain paralysing days like these. The novel starts out as a court room thriller – until the proceedings are rudely interrupted by a masked shooter storming the court room.

The shooter interrupts a custody hearing in which newly appointed judge Holly Spencer has to decide whether five-year-old Georgia should stay with her grandparents, who’ve been taking care of her since her mother’s death, or whether her father, Crawford Hunt, a Texas Ranger who proved himself inadequate for the task of taking care of his child in the past, should be allowed to take his daughter home with him.

What follows is an investigation into the shooting that threatens to prove fatal for Crawford’s chances of winning the custody case, as his actions can be interpreted as recklessness, and his involvement with judge Spencer becomes more personal than would be proper under the circumstances, forcing her to recuse herself from the case.

Even though Friction is a thriller, suspense is not what makes this an enjoyable book in my opinion. Most of Brown’s attempts at building suspense where just that: attempts. Meaning that while it was obvious that suspense was the desired effect, I often found myself thinking ‘Huh, this is supposed to be suspenseful’ rather than ‘OMG, what’s going to happen next?’.

That may sound like a death sentence for a thriller, but it didn’t bother me as much as it could have. There were other aspects to focus my attention on so that the lack of real suspense didn’t matter as much. I liked the characters and the relationships between them, and in the end these elements of the novel made up for the fact that I didn’t read it perched on the edge of my seat.

The way in which Crawford cares and fights for his daughter is adorable and heart wrenching at the same time, and his blossoming relationship to Holly Spencer added some – relatively graphic – sex scenes to the novel that were refreshing in that they didn’t make me want to jump off a cliff. That may not sound like high praise, but trust me it is.

The only thing about this novel that still poses a riddle to me is the title: Friction. Sure, we could take Friction to mean ‘disagreement’, but that would be oddly unspecific, considering that the story starts in a court room  – a place usually sought out by disagreeing parties. The alternative would be to apply the title to the relationship between Crawford and Holly, which – although fitting – would be slightly disturbing.

I honestly don’t know which explanation I’d be less happy with:  the incredibly boring first interpretation or the slightly disturbing second possibility. Whatever the title’s supposed to refer to – I don’t like it, it’s too vacant. Why not ‘Entanglement’? Or ‘Tension’?

…since I’m clearly nitpicking at this point – and/or suffering from fried brain syndrome – it is probably time to end this post. 😉


How’s the weather in your corner of the world? Over here it’s hot, hot, hot! I thought summer was over. I was wrong. So wrong.

What do you like to read in this weather? 

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2 thoughts on “Brown, Sandra: Friction (2015)

    1. It’s really just a small part of the novel. If you want more courtroom drama, I can recommend two other novels I read and reviewed recently: ‘Rogue Lawyer’ and ‘The Concrete Blonde’ (although that’s part 3 of a series).
      You can find the reviews here:
      https://whatdoesonedowiththat.wordpress.com/2016/08/12/grisham-john-rogue-lawyer-2015/
      and here:
      https://whatdoesonedowiththat.wordpress.com/2016/07/27/connelly-michael-the-concrete-blonde-1994-harry-bosch-3/

      Liked by 1 person

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