>> Tuesday, August 05, 2003
In his career as one of America’s elite warriors, Lt. Sam Starrett can do no wrong. In his private life, Sam–the king of one night stands–has done little right. Now, he’s waiting for a divorce and determined to stay active in his young daughter’s life. But when Sam shows up at the door of his ex-wife’s home in Sarasota, Florida, he makes a grisly discovery. His daughter is gone and the body of a woman lies brutally murdered on the floor.LOTS OF SPOILERS HERE!
FBI agent Alyssa Locke’s relationship with Sam has been overwhelmingly intense and nearly catastrophic, yet it refuses to end. The last time she saw Sam was six months earlier, when they worked together to stop terrorists from assassinating the U.S. President. Much to her dismay, Alyssa is assigned to lead the murder investigation and once again the two are face to face. When explosive information surfaces linking Sam to the still unsolved assassination plot, the stakes are raised. With her reputation hanging in the balance, and her loyalties in question, Alyssa is faced with an impossible dilemma:arrest a man she believes to be innocent, or risk her career.
While Alyssa tries to fight their intense attraction, Sam is determined to heat things up between them once again. And the complex case pushes them both to the wrong side of the law–and on the run to discover the truth. As more agents step into the chase, and with Sam’s daughter still unaccounted for, neither Alyssa nor Sam can predict just how deadly hot this situation is about to become. . . .
I enjoyed this very much, an A-. The Alyssa / Sam storyline, the storyline here, was wonderful. It more than made the book, IMO. I've never been a Sam-hater, and I've always liked Alyssa, so I was more than ready to enjoy seeing them finally together.
And I enjoyed the character development (at least, in Sam's case... there wasn't much for Alyssa). I found the flashback scenes to Sam's past fascinating, and they explained so much! I was never too comfortable with Sam's decision to marry Mary Lou just because she was pregnant, but seeing his relationship with Walt and what happened when Noah knocked up his girlfriend explained it.
In the present, I loved the way Sam was crazy in love with Alyssa from the first, and kept trying to get her to believe it. And Alyssa's resisting felt reasonable, not like in some books, where it's just a way to keep a conflict going. Even though these two have spent relatively little time together, I really believed their relationship.
The minute I finished the book I went back to the beginning and I read every page with S&A in them. I loved how Sam tried to fool himself into believing he was going to reject Alyssa if she didn't fully commit to him, only to find himself completely unable to resist. And that first love scene... ahh!!
Why not an A+, then? Basically, I thought the multiple storylines weren't as well done this time. I resented it as hell every time we left S&A and saw what was going on with the others. In the other books, I was actually more interested in the secondary storylines than in the main ones (David and Mallory in The Unsung Hero, S&A themselves in the rest), but here it was the other way around.
I've never been too interested in Tom and Kelly (will they or won't they get married? Who cares! was my answer), so the pages devoted to them only interested me in terms of what they were doing to uncover what had happened in the attempted assasination.
Max and Gina? Their relationship was a bit too repetitive and one-note, and I really don't see what Max's problem is, why he's so opposed to having a relationship with Gina. I understand that he'd want to keep away at first, because all those fears about Gina's feelings being transference were reasonable, but he's taking it much too far. Maybe it'll be better explained in their book, I don't know. I just know that those two didn't really capture my attention.
Then there was the WWII story, the worst so far. It was an interesting story, but it felt like it was edited out of all recognition. It might have been good with a few more letters or diary entries in the middle, showing the development of Walt and Dot's relationship a bit better. Anyway, there was enough about these two in the flashback scenes to make the rest unnecessary.
Finally, Mary Lou. I actually liked her, very much, in Into The Night, and I was looking forward to seeing her again, hopefully in some kind of relationship with Ibraham. What I got was a character that lost all the development that she'd gained in ITN. I hated her for creating all this trouble. The only thing she would have needed to get out of trouble was a phone call to her husband (like we see at the end of the book), because she obviously wasn't going to be able to hide forever. Plus, didn't she realize that Janine was going to be found at some point and that Sam was going to be worried as hell about his daughter? What an idiot!
The suspense subplot was basically the cleaning-up after what had happened in ITN. I mentioned when I wrote about that book that it had been left too open ended, which was something I hadn't liked about it. In GTF all those threads were tied up (though what was it with those 3 Fact: / Theory: pages near the end of the book? ), so that was good. It still felt like these 2 books could have been one long one, at least it terms of suspense subplot.
Still, the S&A story was good enough to compensate for all the other things that bothered me, and this one's one I'll probably reread quite a few times.