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From Publishers Weekly
Known for her adrenaline-laced Navy SEAL romances, Brockmann displays a new, more political side in this brisk but bumpy romantic thriller, which advocates gay rights. Though the book follows the exploits of sexy, silent Cosmo Richter, the man of mystery from Brockmann's earlier romances (Gone Too Far, etc.), Cosmo must share the limelight with Jules Cassidy, a gay FBI agent and also a recurring character in Brockmann's books. Both Cosmo and Jules are charged with safeguarding hot Hollywood producer Jane Chadwick, who has come under fire (literally) for making a movie dealing with two gay war heroes. A few contrived plot twists find Cosmo and Jane initially butting heads, then coming together as friends and finally burning up the sheets as lovers. More compelling is Jules's struggle to stay away from his egocentric ex, an actor who conveniently lands a starring role in Jane's film, and from Jane's brother Robin, who's so deep in the closet that he has turned to drink. At times, Brockmann goes too far in pushing her agenda—even Cosmo is a card-carrying member of PFLAG who, thanks to his gay father, "can name every Barbara Streisand album ever made"—and readers won't need second sight to foresee the story's twists. Still, Brockmann's uncanny ability to give each character an authentic voice and dialogue to match will pull readers through this shaky installment.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Jane Mercedes Chadwick has worked hard to cultivate her image, and having a bodyguard around would prove that her reputation as Hollywood's "Party Girl Producer" is more fiction than fact. But after she begins receiving death threats from a group of neo-Nazis who object to her latest project, Jane's studio ignores her protests and hires Troubleshooters, Inc. Babysitting a hot movie producer should have been an easy assignment. Then U.S. Navy SEAL Cosmo Richter meets Jane, and not only does he have to convince the sharp-tongued and sharp-witted Jane that she really is in danger but Cosmo has to convince himself that becoming romantically involved with a client really isn't a good idea. Several characters from previous books in Brockmann's Troubleshooters, Inc., series have roles to play in her latest riveting tale of danger and desire, including FBI agent Jules Cassidy, whose old romance with actor Adam Wyndham and whose present, somewhat confusing relationship with Jane's younger brother provide even more romantic complications for the plot. Brockmann's latest is funny, sexy, suspenseful, and superb. John Charles
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
Jane is a movie producer. Her current film is set in World War II and portrays the homosexuality of a real-life hero. Of course, extremist groups are sending her angry emails, phone calls, and more. Jane ignores them all. But when the death threats begin, some Hollywood associates call in T.I.
FBI agent Jules Cassidy is already on the scene. Jane becomes surrounded by body guards ... and she is NOT happy about it. Jules is gay. He is having trouble with an ex-lover, Adam, (who happens to be in Jane's movie) and has a growing attraction to Robin (Jane's brother who is not yet "out of the closet" and drinks too much).
**** The main characters are supposed to be stubborn Jane and testosterone filled Cosmo. However, Jules steals the show often. The author succeeds in giving each character their own personality. I was very impressed with them all. Yet I could not bring myself to actually believe that someone as level headed as Jules could be so attracted to Robin, who is constantly drinking, making out with every woman he can in an attempt to convince himself that he is "straight", and constantly vomiting and having a hang over.
As for Jane and Tarzan ... uh, Cosmo, they give the reader some very entertaining clashes at first. It is followed by some very hot bed scenes. All-in-all, this story is a winner. It is like having two books in one. ****
Reviewed by Detra Fitch of Huntress Reviews.
The ONLY reason why I gave this book four stars, is because I was rather disappointed with the not-so-steamy love scenes between Jane and Cosmo. I will, however, extend kudos for the levels of emotion and romance between the two.
On to the next one!
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
I did love the relationship between Jane and Cosmo. But...I have to say that I was slightly disappointed when Cosmo turned out to be not quite the "dangerous man with a mysterious past" character he had appeared to be in previous stories, but actually a very open-minded, generous-hearted and very understanding man. Don't get me wrong - I think these traits are absolutely necessary in a good hero. I just almost felt that Cosmo was too good to be true. There was no digging beneath the layers of toughness and mystery to find the tender jewel beneath his exterior - he pretty much laid it all on the table up front. And in the end, all of the dark mystery surrounding him was actually based on a bunch of gossip that had just gotten blown out of proportion. The truth of the story was very moving, and it made me fall in love with Cosmo. But I felt the "menace" of his character in past stories was missing in this one.
As for the heroine, Jane, at first I really didn't like her. What she did - using her bodyguards so expoitively to promote her own agenda - was really low. But she did redeem herself once she fully understood how what she had done affected those around her. And I was very touched by her reaction to the tragic events that occurred to others trying to protect her. It seemed to be a very realistic response.
I also loved that Brockmann has brought Jules Cassidy to the forefront as a leading character. I wanted to weep for him as he found himself on the verge of a wonderful relationship only to be thwarted by the hangups of his would-be-partner. Jules is such a wonderful man, and I want nothing more than for him to fall in love and settle down, since this is what he seems to want for himself. I'm hoping that perhaps, in a future novel, he'll meet Robin Chadwick again and Robin will be ready for him.
Which leads me to Robin Chadwick. Now this is a character I do hope Brockmann shows us more of. I felt so sorry for him - it was so obvious to me who and what he is, but that he feels he can't be that person is tragic. I prayed through the whole book that his feelings for Jules would be enough to allow him that freedom, and despite my sadness that things didn't work out the way I'd hoped, his actions seem very, very realistic given his history and his desires for the future.
My problems with this book - the reasons I didn't give it five stars - have been mentioned by others. Several characters where given voice when I didn't really see a need for it. For example, Lawrence Decker made a POV appearance on several occasions, but I'm not really sure why it was necessary. His story wasn't advanced in any way, nor was he integral to the two main romances at hand. Too, Max Baghat showed up in one scene only to fade right back into the woodwork. Sometimes I feel like Brockmann thinks she needs to remind us of her entire cast of characters so we'll remember them when they show up as the primary characters of future stories. A sort of name-dropping habit that really isn't necessary.
Also, I didn't much like the portrayal of the Adam character. He confused me. I wasn't sure if I was supposed to hate him or like him. Often he appeared to be a first class sleaze bag who used people shamelessly, only to do something mildly heroic. Instead of viewing these contrasting actions as making him three-dimensional, they seemed more out-of-character. I never understood what Jules had ever seen in the guy, so Jules heartbreak was hard for me to understand. Rather than throw the "lover from the past" into Jules' story, I would have loved more development of his relationship with Robin and how Robin's total denial of his homosexuality caused heartache.
Neither did I much like Patty, Jane's assistant. She was so incredibly naive, and Robin's treatment of her was horrid. I just felt sorry for her, but only in a pathetic way rather than in a sympathetic way.
These complaints aside, I did find myself unable to put the book down. Once again Brockmann has written a story that pulled me so completely into her world that I felt I was hanging out with old friends. And now, sadly, I'm back to waiting the long months until the next Brockmann release...
This is a story of a Hollywood director who is threatened by a fringe hate group because of the content of the movie she's filming. But the bad guys are never really fully described, and the threat never feels personal. (This is in stark contrast to another of her best books, "Over the Edge", where, with Gina's story, you feel the very real threat throughout the whole book.)
There is tension in this book, but it's mainly "please don't do anything dumb" tension as the main characters seem to make stupid decision after stupid decision, whether in their actions or their love decisions.
All of this being said, Suzanne Brockmann still writes a gripping story that I had a hard time putting down. I just hope she focuses more on action, on SEALs, and on her plot development in her next book.
Make no doubt about it; the book starts out as romance between Jane and Cosmo. But soon the more compelling triangle of Jules-Adam-Robin heats up the story, giving it heart and soul, particularly when Adam is cast as Robin's lover in the movie, much to Jules' chagrin. Brockmann portrays the triangle with such sensitivity and compassion, that the reader is swept away with her character development and their own imagination to the point that you really care about the characters, flaws and all, regardless of their sexual orientation. When it comes to fast-paced SEAL action, no romantic suspense writer surpasses Brockmann.
I was very pleasantly surprised. "Hot Target" is not a "light" book by any definition but the complete switch from a war-torn, savage country in "Flashpoint" to Hollywood for "Hot Target" made for a welcome change of pace while still maintaining Brockmann's usual combination of suspense, mystery and great pacing.
Brockmann did her usual deft job in pairing up the seemingly different Jane, a Hollywood movie producer who knows how to work the media, and Cosmo, the Navy SEAL who intimidates his tough-as-nails teammates, in a gradual, believable way.
But my favorite part was long-time supporting character Jules Cassidy and his problems with his old lover Adam returning (has Adam really changed?) and an attraction to Robin, Jane's actor brother who is so deep in denial about his sexuality that he's hurting other people, like Jane's naive intern, Patty. Gay characters in romance novels are usually relegated to being the supportive best friend or relative and heaven forbid they touch or kiss someone unless it's a joke, misunderstanding or show of support. Huge kudos to Brockmann for handling gay romantic entanglements with sensitivity and great reality. When Jules refused to be Robin's "experiment" or let Robin get away with the old "I was drunk" excuse, I was simultaneously proud of Jules and very sad that he can't seem to catch a break romantically.
I also loved the real Jack Shelton and the scene between him and his long-time partner, especially since it confirmed to Jules that he shouldn't settle for less than his heart's desire.
Technically I would give this book 4 1/2 stars but Amazon won't allow that. It's better than 4 stars but I don't think it's up to the level of her next book, "Breaking Point," which is definitely a 5 star book.
That said, the Sam & Alyssa short story bonus at the end of the book should get 5 stars all by itself. Brockmann did a wonderful role reversal on the typical "my spouse is half a world away in danger and all I can do is wait" situation. It was also far too timely and poignent with the current situation with our soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. It was also nice to see Meg, Joan and Savannah again, albeit briefly. I also loved Sam's phone call at the end to John.
Cosmo is a legend as being a machine. He is intense and tends to frighten people into giving him a wide berth. When his opera loving mother has an accident and breaks both arms, Cosmo drops everything to go to her. Well, she's not having him help with the indelicate care taking tasks, so while he's got time he takes a job with the troubleshooter inc., located near his mother. Former Seals commander, Lt. Paoletti has just the perfect "fluff" job for this tough Seal. Bodyguard to a party girl producer whose life has been threatened.
As you can imagine, not is all as it seems with this woman and love finds its way. (I'll avoid the spoiler by being vague).
Jules, someone that has been brought to life over the course of several trouble shooter books, quits being quite so easy going and flip in this story. You see his heart break, the soul of an optimist, and the courage of a realist. Brockmann has been successful in creating his storyline, and though I know it is fiction, I can't help but hope that Robin pulls his act together sometime soon!
If you have never read a Brockmann book, I'd recommend starting with another in this series. This is one of the few books of hers that doesn't stand alone, and works better if you know the history. (Most of her books in this series can be read without having to start at the beginning).
If you are a Brockmann reader, you'll enjoy this! It isn't her best, but it really is better than most of the books out there!
Last note: I was so touched by the eloquent dedication Suz wrote in this book. It exposes the pride and love of a great mother!