Friday, January 8, 2010

Hot Pursuit by Suzanne Brockmann *****

I've been a Troubleshooter (TSS) fan since I picked up a book (not the first in the series) on the used book table, and have read them all - last 2 or maybe 3 on audio. I love the way the audio is done for the series: a woman reads all the sections written from a female point of view, and a man reads all the male pov. Brockmann uses several characters' pov to illustrate the story, including, like Linda Howard, the unknown perp's. The narrators are great, too - at the top of my list of great narrators.

If you don't know Brockmann or the TSSeries, you need to know she bases the books around a loosely knit group of men who started out as a SEAL team, and the women (who can't be SEALS) and as the series grew, added a couple of FBI agents, a local law enforcement officer or 2, and various other military and law-enforcement men and women. Each book generally focuses on one couple, with at least 1 other secondary romance, but the plot itself is not about the relationship as much as it is about solving a crime or facing a war/battle and how the characters react to it and to each other. At the beginning of the series, some of the secondary romances involved older couples - from and/or during World War II as flashbacks, and how they were faring now.

It's so layered - characters situations changing, characters being added, that while it might be possible to read as a stand-alone and not know all the characters, I like much more that it's more like an extended family. When she brings up inviting Rick Alvarez and his wife Annie, you remember them from Florida where Rick was local law involved in finding Sam's first wife and daughter. Many of the characters are now involved in a personal security firm called Troubleshooters, while others are still SEALS and FBI agents. They marry, they have kids, they live dangerous lives, they have great friendships - yeah, that would be my life in my dreams!!

In Hot Pursuit, an old nemesis from an earlier story reappears - The Dentist, known for viciously butchering his victims to death and taking their teeth. He's got a thing for Alyssa Locke, and he has a brilliant plan to seduce her to him by revealing himself for the first time in 2 years, knowing she'll be on the case, so he can kill her. Alyssa gets called by Savannah to come help a friend, a local politician who has received some threats. Alyssa takes Sam and baby Ash on site, and Jules joins them, bringing Robin. A number of other familiar characters are there - Dan Gillman, Izzy - yeah, child bride Eden gone, but Izzy still loves her, and some others. Dan takes the secondary romance this time - seducing the politician's best friend and office manager Jen. Everybody figures it's a good 2-week vacation, giving a politician some defense lessons and installing some security.

Lots of clues and characters and incidences are thrown in to keep you on the edge of your seat, and maybe someone else figured out the identity of The Dentist early on, but I sure didn't - in fact, that final scene even had me wondering if I was wrong, even though it was pretty clear who it was. Alyssa's Spidey senses were all out of whack - I guess having a baby will do that even to SuperWoman. Alyssa's the most kickass Troubleshooter female character there is, so when even she is fooled... yeah, her ol' cowboy Sam has to do a little CaveMan near the end (his favorite role, I think - especially since he's being such a good daddy). We got a little bit of the old Sam-and-Alyssa chemistry in bed too. Whew - nuff said. When they hated each other, though, there was a lot more tension.

Brockmann lets Dan be a complete asshole to Jen - he's so manipulative I was rolling my eyes. Was he always that way? I have a plan to go back and re-read the whole series some day anyway, so I'll find out then. He works Jen into letting him be her 2-week boyfriend, no strings attached, while everyone is still in the "this security job is going to be a vacation" mode, before anyone realizes there's a serial murderer involved. She lets herself fall, hook - line - and sinker - even while her brain is saying "don't go into the basement alone!!" (wait, that's a horror movie)

Then the adrenaline starts pumping - and, well it's another great one in the series! It was great to catch up on all the characters, even just the brief mentions (I wondered if the mentions got paid less than the main characters...) Except for the identity of The Dentist and locating all his victims, nothing is resolved in the story. Jen rejects Dan; we don't hear about Ken Carmody's health; Savannah wasn't brought up again; Alyssa and Sam are still together and we don't learn if she'll go on the President's team to Afghanistan; ditto Jules and Robin (with Jules tagged for the same team). Ok, just wait for the next book!

5 stars - audio book

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