Wednesday, August 5

Dark of Night – Suzanne Brockmann

James Nash has been a black ops agent for the Agency but is ready to leave – a move his bosses aren’t happy with. When an assignation attempt is made, Troubleshooters boss Lawrence Decker decides the only way to make Nash safe is to pretend the attempt was successful, even to the rest of the team. Believing Decker has long been interested in and is now comforting Jimmy’s fiancée Tess, Sophia Ghaffari abandons her long-held crush and turns to Troubleshooter Dave Malkoff, who has been in love with her for years. The only team member who suspects that all is not as it seems is bubble-headed secretary Tracy Shapiro, who lives in the flat below Jimmy and Tess. When Decker realises Tracy knows Jimmy is alive, in danger and in hiding, he takes her to the safe house, too, learning along the way that Tracy’s considerably smarter, and braver, than he’d realised.
The latest in the Seal Team/Troubleshooters series, Dark of Night picks up where Into the Fire left off. Though accessible as a stand-alone, with critical previous events unobtrusively inserted into the text, part of the joy of this series is picking up on the lives of the other couples and characters. So newlyweds Jules and his partner/Hollywood star Robin are providing the safe house, which is guarded by Alyssa and Sam. At the same time, Brockmann lays groundwork for the next book, which will in turn be seamlessly integrated in to the series as a whole.
I’ve enjoyed every book in this now fourteen book series – the blend of romance, sex, and action are not only beautifully balanced with each other but harmonise with the great writing, strong characterisation, and deft interweaving of several parallel plots. In some cases seeds for relationships in this novel were sown five or more books ago, which adds an extra element of satisfaction for the long-term series reader. The star romance in the series for most readers is the final union of Sam Starrett and Alyssa in Gone Too Far, six books into the series, though Into the Fire’s gay relationship is my favourite, for a number of reasons. Brockmann certainly broke mainstream ground there, and while the domination/submission theme in Dark of Night is a little less groundbreaking, her approach is sympathetic, coherent, hot, and well integrated into the characters; it’s this kind of character depth that sets Brockmann’s writing apart from the majority. And with that kind of writing, one has to try to be patient for the next book, knowing that the wait will be rewarded with a fast-paced plot, exquisitely crafted characters, and great writing from the prologue to the last page. - Alex

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