Hot Pursuit: A Novel Hardcover – Jul 28 2009
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“Brockmann is a master of adventure, drama, passion, and suspense.”—The Tampa Tribune
“Brockmann strikes the perfect balance between white-knuckle suspense and richly emotional romance.”—Chicago Tribune
From the Paperback edition.
About the Author
Since her explosion onto the publishing scene more than ten years ago, Suzanne Brockmann has written more than forty books, and is now widely recognized as one of the leading voices in romantic suspense. Her work has earned her repeated appearances on the USA Today and New York Times bestseller lists, as well as numerous awards, including Romance Writers of America’s #1 Favorite Book of the Year (three years running), two RITA Awards, and many Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Awards. Suzanne Brockmann lives west of Boston with her husband, author Ed Gaffney.See all Product Description
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Basic plot is that Alyssa takes (yet another "easy") assignment to coach a public figure in self defense while bringing along Sam and some Navy SEALS to decorate the office for a while and thus convince the heckler(s) to back off. But one heckler is close. And far from backing off, amps it up to 11. The easy assignment becomes intense and the pressure mounts. Alyssa and Sam, then Jules and Robin, work on coping with the fact that their chosen mate works in the line of fire as a matter of course, and how to leave their non-pro family members out of the action. Alyssa is also a nursing mom. Having spent last Saturday hiking with a nursing mom who left baby with grandma, the problems Alyssa encountered rang hilariously true.
The subplot with Dan Gillman I found amusing. For everyone who has ever complained that Suz's guys are too idealistic approaching relationships? Meet Dan. Here's a good looking guy looking to get some action on vacation with minimum hassle, while trying to follow the campsite rule of leave 'em better off than you found 'em. He's hot and successful and it's campy good fun until his typical vacation relationship gets thrown a few curve balls. He's got issues, yes, and he starts to work through them and has to do it with annoying BIL Izzy hanging around. (Izzy also gets a few POV scenes, but Eden is not around.)
The character Jenn adds a useful point of view - I'm so used to Jules and Robin, I forget that Robin is supposed to famous. So when Jenn muses that "the award winning actor has come to babysit, will Susan Sarandon be dropping in to do the laundry?" it reminded me again to pay attention. Plus, I think I lived in her apartment for several years. 400 sq foot studio that averaged 90F in the winter with the windows open? Check. Also had her wardrobe - not quite a 16, but really not a 14 either. Check. Lots of uber-beauties in this story, so it was nice to have a sensible, average looking, average sized, average budgeted character I related to more easily.
While the serial killer aspect is creepy, it's was not as creepy for me as the Into the Storm subplot. There was a distance to the gruesome that allowed me not to dwell on the details. For the whodunit, I guessed the killer early on. Go me. There were red herrings. I don't know if I wasn't thrown because I'm so familiar with SB's writing or because it was easy or because I'm just that good. I still enjoyed finding out if I was right and "knowing" didn't affect my ability to enjoy how the story was laid out. I only had a couple quibbles which I won't mention in case they aren't your quibbles as they were easily overlooked. (If you noticed one word being used a LOT, mention it in the comments and see if it's the one I always notice or if I just have special radar for that word.)
I had a great plan to only read a couple chapters at a time and stretch the book out all week to spend more time lingering in the story. So much for that plan; I tore through the book. The book sucked me in, pacing was excellent, I found all the subplots very balanced and I was never tempted to skip one (only a big problem for me previously in Into the Fire). The book focuses heavily on characters trying to do the right thing for themselves, their friends, their colleagues, and their families which I found refreshing and entertaining. Highly recommended, even for people who haven't followed the series.
The fifteenth installment of the Troubleshooters series brings back fan favorites, Sam and Alyssa. Alyssa brings her family along on an "easy" assignment to teach Assemblywoman Maria Bonavida and her staff about personal safety and give a little added protection for someone threatening the Assemblywoman. She also brings along "big bad SEALs" Dan Gillman, Jay Lopez, and Izzy Zanella to do a little scaring off by being themselves. It is supposed to be a boondoggle trip for the SEALs who are on liberty and not getting paid for the trip except for airfare and housing. The assignment stops being fun when the threats become more serious. FBI agent Jules Cassidy arrives with his husband, Robin, in tow to add to the investigation.
I'm a bit disappointed in this book. I'm a Sam/Alyssa fan and their story worked of fairly well...though I think Sam was a bit over-the-top in places. Jules and Robin bothered me the most. I loved Robin in Force of Nature because he was fun and smart and in this one he seems to have lost a lot that...he is treated like a small child...a lot. I found it to be a bit demeaning. He was the just "the spouse," who needed a lot of hand holding.
As far as the suspense/mystery goes, Brockmann puts in plenty of red herrings, but I figured the killer out long before it was revealed. A good mystery, but not great.
This is an "in-between" book. Brockmann has put in story arcs with both Gillman and Zanella leaving me a little confused and missing something. There was definitely not enough resolution in this one. I'm thinking this is one of those books you could actually skip in a series and not feel like you missed out on much.
I'm looking forward to the 16th installment (Izzy's story) for more resolution. I also love Izzy. I understand it is the last book for a while. The books will return, but it may be a while.
For Sam & Alyssa fans, you'll love it. If you are an Izzy fan, you'll love this one, too. He was my favorite part of this story.
Well fast forward to 2009 and we get Hot Pursuit. A full on suspense thriller/mystery story that focuses on Alyssa's - Hot Pursuit -- of The Dentist.
For those not in the know, this book stars Sam Starrett and Alyssa Locke, arguably Suzanne Brockmann's most popular couple from her long running Troubleshooters series. They first meet as very minor characters in book #1 The Unsung Hero (Troubleshooters, Book 1) and it is disdain at first sight. Throughout the next four books in the series, they begin a secondary character romance arc that is both wonderful and agonizing to watch. Until finally they get their own book with Gone Too Far (Troubleshooters, Book 6) and all the angst of the previous books culminates (in true Sam and Alyssa fashion) in a dramatic and final ending where they get married and begin to settle in married and professional life. We get more glimpses of the happy couple throughout the following 8 troubleshooter books, including three mini-short stories.
As an unabashed Sam & Alyssa fan, I was always happy to get those small glimpses of them in the other books but with them being front and center again in a book I am over the moon.
This book starts out with us learning pretty early on that The Dentist has developed something of an obsession with Alyssa. In the typical crazy way that books have with dealing with serial killers we learn that he has a need to kill and now a lot of what he is doing is completely because of and focused on Alyssa. So much so that, through a byzantine series of machinations, he manages to lure Alyssa to NYC. Alyssa, for her part, doesn't know that she's on the trail of The Dentist at first. She thinks she is doing her friend Savannah a favor by helping out a newly elected Assemblywoman, Maria Bonavita who has received some vague threats, with security set up and self defense. To that end, Alyssa brings along Sam, Ash (their 10 month old son) and a group of Navy SEALs as visible muscle. It is supposed to be a quick two week easy assignment, a vacation of sorts for all involved.
But from almost the moment they arrive things start to go downhill. They are thrust right into the middle of a murder mystery with a slew of suspects and lots of questions. Added to that two of the SEALs, Dan Gilman and Izzy Zanella (old foes from previous books) continue on with their dislike of each other. Zanella is also dealing with the aftermath of his break-up with his wife and Dan is dealing with possible PTSD from a recent stint in Afghanistan. Dan also embarks on a brief romance with Jenn, Maria's Chief of Staff. And although it seems like containing the threat to Maria is one of simply trying to figure out the who and the why, for Sam something doesn't quite fit right. Slowly the threads of all the various stories (red herrings abound) come together and the group is stunned to realize that they are in fact chasing the serial killer known as The Dentist and that Maria may not be his real target at all.
I enjoyed this book immensely. Like I said above, whenever I can get a Sam & Alyssa fix, I am happy (and as an added bonus we also get plenty of face time with Robin and Jules). But I do believe I would not categorize this story as true romance novel. I think Brockmann has moved firmly into the Suspense category with this and in fact this almost reads like a whodunnit is places. While the reader knows exactly what is going on (except for the actual true identity of The Dentist), Alyssa and her team are completely in the dark until almost the end of the book. What romance there is (aside from the gushingly happy couples Sam/Alyssa and Robin/Jules) is not within a normal romance framework. Dan and Jenn are ostensibly the main romance couple here. However, their ending isn't what regular romance readers would consider a typical HEA. First, Dan's pursuit of Jenn is ,imo, somewhat manipulative with some less than wonderful motivation. He does redeem himself to the reader because through his inner dialogue we understand that he truly is emotionally involved with her, but he damages her trust in him through some hurtful comments she overhears. And while she accepts his apology, she doesn't let him off the hook easily. These two don't ride into the sunset HEA in the end. Don't get me wrong, they are in love and we have every right to assume that they will be ok, but I think the ending will leave some romance readers who like a written in stone HEA, a bit put off.
Which brings me to Izzy. The interesting thing about this story is that while the suspense plot is resolved, it is the romance elements that end in cliffhanger. In addition to Dan and Jenn, there is Izzy. For anyone who has followed the series, Izzy is married to Dan's sister Eden. As far as marriages go, it has a very rocky foundation. Eden isn't in this book at all, but Izzy's thoughts are on her a lot. However, another woman has her eye on Izzy. The reader is left with the suggestion that if things don't work out with Eden this woman may be the one in the wings for Izzy? I am sure Brockmann left that suggestion out there intentionally. For myself, I wouldn't mind. I couldn't stand the Izzy/Eden pairing and would find this new Izzy pairing quite intriguing.
And finally, there is a lot of inner dialogue of The Dentist himself. Sometimes this works and sometimes it doesn't. I actually found his inner dialogue a little tedious. I think my love of the suspense novel works against me here because I've been in the head of a lot of fictional psychos. LOL! Rather than being scary, it was more been-there-done-that.
But even with that little quibble, this book was a very, very good read. I enjoyed it immensely and the ending was really awesome. No wonder Sam Starret is in my top three favorite fictional heroes of all time.
Serial killer 'the Dentist' has had a weird crush on Alyssa since she began investigating his case. He's set the stage and he intends to end it here, in New York, on his home turf. He'll manipulate the team, kill the husband, capture Alyssa, and maybe he'll even kidnap their child and raise him as his own.
Navy Seal Dan Gillman knows he's about to be sent to Afghanistan...again. But two weeks in New York should give him the loving he needs to keep going. Not for him, though, are one-night stands. Two week stands are more like it and the assembly-woman's chunky but smart assistant seems like just the woman to take away his cares. Gillman likes his women, but with his job, he knows he isn't boyfriend material. He'll show her a good time and then move on. Except when Jenn is kidnapped (twice), Gillman discovers a feeling he's never had before. Could he really be falling?
In her Troubleshooter series, author Suzanne Brockmann interweaves the lives of the men and women of Troubleshooters and their Navy Seal allies. HOT PURSUIT gives us an update on many of them (Sam and Alyssa are doing fine except for the serial killer thing, Jules and Robin are also doing well and happy to be living in Massachusetts where gay marriage is legal). Not doing so well is Izzy, who is pining for Gillman's sister, Eden...who won't even talk to him. The assemblywoman likes Izzy and it would be easy to fall into bed with her, but Izzy is married...even though his wife is in Germany avoiding him. For me, all the time spent on updates got in the way of enjoying the current romance (Gillman and Jenn) and the suspense (will they figure out who the 'dentist' is before it's too late?) Too, the mystery was a bit too easy, although Brockmann gave us readers clues she didn't give to Alyssa and company so I guess we can't blame her for being slow.
Brockmann is a highly skilled writer and HOT PURSUIT is an easy book to read. If she'd focused a bit more on this story, it could have been great. As it was, it's just an acceptable read.