Into the Night, by Suzanne Brockmann

>> Monday, December 23, 2002

My Saturday read was probably the the book I most looked forward to this year: Into the Night, by Suzanne Brockmann.

Plot summary:

"It was supposed to be a "dog and pony show" -- an elaborate demonstration of SEAL rescue techniques -- to celebrate a presidential visit to a California naval base. Professional, no-nonsense White House staffer Joan DaCosta arrives early to scope out the area. Assigned to be her SEAL liaison is Lt. (jg) Mike Muldoon, a born leader -- strong, decisive, tough and fearless.

Against her better judgment, Joan finds herself drawn to the handsome young officer. Skilled at being "one of the guys" in the mostly male world of politics, she is dismayed when Muldoon breaks through her defenses. While tension mounts between them, fueling their growing attraction, a far more sinister danger is lurking, as terrorists plot a daring attack against the president. To protect their commander in chief, Joan and Muldoon must not only risk their hearts -- but their very lives..."

I'd heard horrible things about this, so my expectations were low with this one. I didn't expect to LOVE it, but I was sure I'd like it more than most because I like older woman / younger man romances (first criticism I'd heard: there are many readers who don't), I was prepared to forgive Sam for not giving his all to his marriage to Mary Lou (second criticism: so many people hated Sam! I didn't, maybe because I'm not a big fan of marriage, and I think marrying only for the sake of a child is never a good idea) and I don't hate Mary Lou (third criticism: I can't get over how worked up people get about this. They really hate her!).

Anyway, I was right. This isn't her best, but I did enjoy it, even if I had to fly through the last 50 pages because I had a wedding to go to. As it was, I had to go from slob to showered, dressed and make-up on (and I looked pretty damn good, too!) in under 30 minutes. I'd give this one a B+.

As I said, I was prepared to like the main story. I like the premise, and I was probably the only person in the world anxious to read Muldoon's story (I fell in love with the guy in Over The Edge!). I fell in love more in this one. I've heard people say on message boards that they thought he was immature, but I didn't think so. Maybe it's because I'm the same age (25) he's supposed to be, but to me he was endearing and generous, and lovely. Total dream man. However, I am a fan of beta heroes, so if alphas are your poison, you probably shouldn't expect to love Mike as much as I did.

Joan was ok too. A smart, modern career woman, who was never depicted as evil because she was a career woman. I can't adequately express how refreshing that was. However, she did go on too much about the age difference, and how she was a cow, and how Mike couldn't possibly love her. A bit of this would have been understandable, but she went on, and on, and on... until it became tiresome.

Oh, and I mustn't forget about their love scene! I loved the love scene in which Mike declares his love. I was a puddle by the time I was done with it! ;-) Brockmann is GOOD!

Moving on, Mary Lou (ML) and Sam. Very interesting, what Brockmann is doing. Yep, that marriage is falling apart, but both are clearly to blame. Sam never really made the effort to be a good husband and ML never made the effort to go past the SEAL image and get to know the real Sam. I started to like ML, probably because with her, we see real growth.

My biggest problem here was how this subplot was left even more open-ended than usual. Before this, in Over the Edge, the Sam / Alyssa storyline was left hanging, yes, but for each of them, we more or less knew how their lives would go on from that moment on. We might have not liked it, but it was a kind of ending, and if we had decided to stop reading right there we would have thought "ok, Sam will be unhappy with ML, Alyssa will be alone". Here we don't know if Ibraham will completely recover, what ML will do about him, and we don't know how the suspense subplot was resolved.

It's one thing to leave the fate of a couple of characters uncertain, but this is the first time the author leaves the story's suspense subplot unresolved, and I didn't like this. I did like the fact that this was less of an adventure romance than previous books. The suspense part is in the background (very much so) for most of the book and flares to life for just a couple of pages. The rest of the book concentrates on the characters, which is the way I prefer it.

Another think I didn't like was how obvious it was who the villain was. The moment Bob appeared, I knew who he was. It was obvious Brockmann wouldn't make Ibraham, the only Arab character, a villain. She's too even-handed for that. Oh, and I didn't get why Bob had those bikers beat up Ibraham. WTF was that about? BTW, I loved Ibraham, and I hope to see him and ML end up together in the next book.

And speaking of the next book... OMG that excerpt! I really hope it's not ML who's dead. That would mean Gone Too Far would be like a remake of Forever Blue, with Sam and Alyssa running around Florida trying to prove Sam's innocence, a premise I don't much like. I'm still reading it no matter what, but I'm really hoping for another kind of plot.

Finally, the WWII story was nice, but not even remotely my favourite, though I do like virginal heroes!

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