Saturday, April 4, 2009

Harvard's Education by Suzanne Brockmann ****

This is the next in the Tall, Dark and Dangerous series (maybe #5?) - this one features Senior Chief Daryl "Harvard" Becker of the SEALs Team Ten Alpha Squad. The SEALs are still messing around with the FInCOM group who is attempting to get some of their agents trained to work with the SEALs. This sorta pisses the SEALs off - after all, they did their BUD/S training and Hell Week and all to get where they are - why should some other agents come in with a rule book saying they can only train 10 hours a day for a few weeks and be the equals??

Then they send 4 agents who don't even get along (and team is a very important concept to SEALs), including a woman. OK, this woman, while only 5'1", is their best marksman, but still!! Women in combat? No f-ing way!

Except this woman, P. J. Richards - who is not only a woman but also African American - carries a tiny chip on her shoulder about her treatment, not just from the SEALs but from her own co-workers, the "finks". She's out to prove she's their equal in every way. And that no way is she at all attracted to the hunky, the gorgeous, the smart Harvard. No way in hell.

OK, yeah, she's attracted. And so is he. But, hey, they can keep it buttoned down and just be friends, right? (after a lot of circling and growling, that is.)

First, Harvard needs to re-assess his own opinions of women in general, and women in combat situations in particular. Maybe the SEALs won't let them join - for potentially valid reasons - but FInCOM does, so she's got every right to have this training op!

But P. J. needs to do some re-assessing of her own abilities, limits and attitude (in my opinion). Yeah, ya gotta be "out there" to get noticed when you're a short, AA woman in a big man's field. But there's "out there" and there's "Out There". For one thing, she hasn't been true to herself - she orders beer when she wants iced tea, because the men would drink beer (and Harvard drinks iced tea...) OK yeah, he can get away with it, she thinks. Personally, if she were a real person and asked my advice, I'd say be true to yourself and do what you want. But that's just me.

It takes a training-op-turned-true-life-suspense for the two of them to reconcile their conflicting emotions and opinions. I still think, superior marksmanship or not, short women without special SEAL-type training are nutz to insist on going in to help in dangerous terrorist situations, but hey, it's fiction and it's only up to the author who lives and who dies - and in a romance, the heroine doesn't die, ok?

I'm enjoying the series - I like continuing series like these that let you keep up with all the characters. I also think Brockmann is a superb storyteller - her situations and their resolutions ring true enough for me to feel the suspense. 4 stars, Serial Reader's Challenge.

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