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Mystery Book Review: Play Dirty by Sandra Brown

I love reading and writing. I came to writing late in life and discovered a world where I feel like a fish in the water.

Mystery Book

Mystery Book

Play Dirty is a suspenseful novel with erotic scenes. It was originally published in 2007.

Some critics consider this book part of the crime literature as it features tough characters, grim settings, and shady characters.

Stephen King —the American author of horror and supernatural fiction and crime— describes Play Dirty as a “romantic suspense that has teeth”.


The theme of this book is about obsession and deadly consequences. It is the triumph of love over obstacles.

The story hook is an indecent proposal to make someone’s wife pregnant for the sum of $100,000.

A wealthy paraplegic man wants a child, but he is unable to conceive with his wife. He is willing to go to great length to make sure he has an heir to his estate.

The story trigger is the physical and brutal assault of Marcia, the prostitution madam.

The plan is to find the whereabouts of a man who can shed light on who murdered one of the characters.

Main Characters

Griff Burkett is the main character. He is a former popular athlete who commits a felony and spends five years in jail. He can never go back to the life he was used to before going to jail. He hates the situation he finds himself in but can see no way out. In need of money, Griffs accepts an indecent proposal right after he gets out of jail.

Foster and Laura Speakman are a wealthy couple with no children. Their lives are turned upside down due to a car accident. Fate intervenes and denies Foster the one thing he wanted most, an heir.

Foster’s twisted mind and lack of self-worth renders him dangerous. He takes several decisions that make a risky situation even worse.

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Laura Speakman is a loving wife and successful businesswoman. She finds herself in an awkward situation between keeping her conscience clear and keeping her husband happy. Laura cannot stand Griffs who over the course of the story falls in love with her.

Stanley Rodarte is a shady character who is intent on making Griffs’ life very miserable.

Set Up

The chapters alternate mostly between Griffs and Laura.

A couple of chapters show them trying to become intimate. One scene can be put in the sexual category and is steamy.

What I Liked About Play Dirty

Brown skillfully uncovers how Foster really feels about his wife and his situation. I did not expect how this turned out.

The confrontation scene between Laura and her husband toward the end of the story is mesmerizing.

The sexual scenes were not offensive or blatantly carnal.

I loved the clever description, in the unfolding of the story, of how Laura came to care for a man other than her husband.

What I Did Not Enjoy

Exposing the killer took a long time. At times I felt lost between too many suspects.

How the colleagues and the subordinates of Rodarte never found him out is beyond me. The lesson here is that one must stay alert.

Would I Read Another Book by Sandra Brown?

Yes, I am a fan of Sandra Brown’s thrillers and enjoy reading her mystery novels. In fact, I own several paperbacks of her books.

I have yet to attempt reading The Silken Web, a classic love story she wrote in the early 1980s. Brown started as a writer in the romantic suspense genre.

Re-reading one of Brown’s books after a few months gives me pleasure as I take my time in reading the story rather than rush to know what happens.

Who Would I Recommend the Book To?

I recommend this book to mystery buffs and to people who want to spend a couple of evenings or a weekend reading a thriller and forgetting all else.

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