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Reading Group Guide SUMMARY: Elisa Laird is her husband's pride and joy. A trophy wife ten years his junior, she ably performs the societal duties that her husband's career dictates. Nothing is more important to Judge Laird than his station in the community. And his three passions are well known: his golf game, his bench, and his wife. So when homicide detectives Duncan Hatcher and his partner Dee Dee Bowen are summoned to the Laird's home in the middle of the night, they know that discretion and a quick, thorough investigation are the keys to keeping their jobs. Elise and the Judge claim that Elise fired her pistol at a man who was burglarizing her husband's study. It's an open and shut case, at first glance. But Elise is acting strange. Dee Dee doesn't fall for her "victim" act, instead seeing Elise as a beautiful manipulator whose actions just don't make sense. Despite himself and his partner's warnings, Duncan finds himself falling for the frightened woman, and jeopardizing his own life to find out whether the Judge has hidden reasons for his wife to "disappear." It's a deadly game filled with lies, seductions, and tragic pasts. Duncan and Elise may spend their lives looking over their shoulders, if they can survive each other's betrayals . . .
Water plays a large role in Ricochet. Find examples of the different forms of water found in the novel. Why does Ms. Brown choose to use water as such a prevalent image? What effect does it have on the story and for what might it be a metaphor? How does water help to build tension?
Ms. Brown sets the story in Savannah, Georgia. Does the story have a "southern feel"? What would be the effect on the tale if it were set, for instance, in the desert or in snowy upstate New York? What role does location play, and what other details does Ms. Brown use to create atmosphere?
There seems to be an underlying biblical meaning to the story. Duncan is the child of ministers and there are references made throughout the novel to such things as "redemption" and even to Elise rising from the dead. Discuss the novel as it relates to the bible. Who represents Satan, the snake, etc., and why? Who is "born again" and who gains redemption? Is there a Christ figure in the story?
Although Duncan is a handsome man he doesn't have a girlfriend. What do you think he is waiting for? Beside her physical attributes, why is Duncan attracted to Elise? What does she represent to him? Do they have any similarities that might explain why they fall in love?
Duncan plays the piano, yet he doesn't want anyone to know about his talent. Why is he so secretive about his passion? How does Ms. Brown use the piano to illuminate the development of Duncan's character?
Compare and contrast Dee Dee and Elise. Why doesn't Dee Dee trust Elise? Could they be friends under different circumstances?
Elise decides to marry Cato in order to get revenge for her brother's death. Why might her character do this? Are there any other ways she might have gotten information on Cato and Savich?
Why does Duncan risk his career in order to catch Savich? Does he do it out of love, or does he have a sense of obligation or duty? Is there anything in his background that explains his determination?
Many of the main characters in the novel are flawed, yet they could still be considered heroes. What makes a hero? Who do you think is the hero of Ricochet, and why? Who are the antagonists?
What does power signify in the world of the story? Does each character have his or her own unique power? If so, discuss what they are and their ramifications.
What is the message of the novel? Is revenge a good thing or a bad thing? Do you think Ms. Brown is saying that the end justifies the means? Give some examples of how this is illustrated in the story.
Sandra Brown is the author of sixty-seven New York Times bestsellers, including Mean Streak, Deadline, Low Pressure, and Smoke Screen. Brown began her writing career in 1981 and since then has published over seventy novels, most of which remain in print. Sandra and her husband, Michael Brown, live in Arlington, Texas.