• Standoff / Sandra Brown.


Publication Info

  • New York, NY : Warner Books, c2000.


  • 0446527017; $27.99


  • 217 p. ;


  • Hardcover
  • Paperback
  • Large print
  • Compact disc
  • eBook
  • eAudiobook


  • Suspense/Romantic suspense


4Q; 5P

Reader’s Annotation

Reporter Tiel McCoy becomes the story when she is taken hostage by star-crossed teenage lovers.


Television reporter Tiel McCoy is on her way to an oft-postponed and much needed vacation when she hears on the radio that Sabra Dendy, the daughter of a prominent Dallas businessman, has allegedly been kidnapped by a fellow student. A phone call with the boss convinces Tiel to take a brief detour to a small Texas town to interview the young man’s father. Ambitious, hard-working Tiel can’t resist the opportunity to scoop the competition, but gets lost on the way. When she stops to call in, the boss reports that it was not a kidnapping, but that the young man is Sabra’s boyfriend, she is pregnant, and they are running from her angry father. Within minutes, the young couple bursts in to hold up the convenience store. Unfortunately, Sabra’s water breaks and everything goes downhill. Tiel is taken hostage along with the store clerk, an elderly couple on their honeymoon, a couple of suspicious-acting Mexican men, and a familiar-looking cowboy with a mysterious knowledge of medicine. Labor complications further complicate the situation, and Tiel must choose between her job and her humanity.


Standoff is a fast-paced novel, a page-turner that keeps the reader in suspense from beginning to end. The plot is complex, with several hostages having their own secrets that are gradually revealed and that affect the outcome in their own ways. The novel does have some cliches, like the doctor who is in hiding after having his confidence shaken by a failure, the gruff news editor, and the “criminals” who really don’t want to hurt anyone, but the plot is so good that most suspense fans won’t care.

Romance fans will be pleased with the slow burn between the main character and one of the other hostages which turns into a steamy love scene later in the book. Their relationship and that of the teen couple provide some nice moving moments as well.

Standoff is one of Brown’s shorter novels, but it is proof of why she remains so popular. If you’re looking for a fast but satisfying read, give this one a try.


Visit the author’s website.

Interview on Huffington Post

An article at TexasMonthly




Publishers Weekly

Appeal Factors

This novel will appeal to readers who enjoy a fast-paced suspense story with intricate plotting and to whom plot is more important than characters. A reader looking for a quick read would be satisfied with the book.


Undercover, by Danielle Steel. These novels share the genre romantic suspense and have complex plots. Both also deal with relationships between men and women.

Fast Track, by Julie Garwood. Both books are plot-driven and share the genre romantic suspense. They also feature steamy love scenes.

Hush, by Karen Robards.  Hush is also romantic suspense and is fast-paced and plot-driven.

Bootalk ideas

A booktalk could describe the lead-up to the hostage-taking, describing Tiel on the phone with her boss and noticing the details of the other people who enter the store up until the security camera is shot out. Perhaps end the talk with Tiel’s thought on page 18, Well, I might die, but at least I’ll get my story.

Discussion Questions

Was Tiel McCoy a likeable character? Why or why not?

Did you sympathize with the teenage lovers, or feel something else towards them? What did you think should happen to them?

Which character’s secret was the most surprising to you?

If this was your first Sandra Brown novel, would you read another one? Why or why not?

Why I chose this book

I needed a fast read, and I wanted to discover why so many readers like Sandra Brown. The plot description sounded interesting.

Memory Hooks

TV reporter, convenience store hold-up, Doc, star-crossed lovers


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