Gone Too Far (2003)
Genre: adventure / romantic suspense
Sex scenes: hot
Troubleshooters: (1) The Unsung Hero, (2) The Defiant Hero, (3) Over the Edge, (4) Out of Control, (5) Into the Night
Lieutenant Roger ‘Sam’ Starrett is a Navy SEAL in the elite Team Sixteen, and is very good at his job. But, while his career is soaring, his personal life sucks. He’s taken leave to visit his soon-to-be-ex-wife, Mary Lou to see why she still hasn’t signed the divorce papers, only to find her dead on her kitchen floor. His two-year-old daughter Haley is nowhere to be found.
On his case is FBI agent Alyssa Locke, with whom Stan has a turbulent history. They have shared two nights of no-holds-barred sex, 6 months apart, with the last marathon shortly before Sam learned that Mary Lou was pregnant. When clothed and sober, Alyssa can barely stand to be around Sam, and he acts the same way to wind her up – but truth be told, he’s crazy about her. As might be expected, Sam is the prime suspect in the murder, but he’s on the run, looking for any sign whether Haley is still alive. Alyssa’s got a choice between hauling him in for questioning, or helping Sam to find his daughter, as probabilities that she’s still alive decrease every day.
Meanwhile, Commanding Officer of Team Sixteen, Tom Paoletti is in deep, career-rocking trouble. He’s been riding a desk for six months as top brass decide whether they want to applaud him for saving the President’s life, or arrest him on suspicion of aiding terrorist activity. Right now, it’s looking like the latter, and Tom’s girlfriend Kelly is determined to do all she can to help prove Tom’s innocence. Over in Sarasota, Max Bhagat has been called in to help in the search for Haley; Mary Lou’s prints were found in an investigation related to the very same charges on which Tom Paoletti is being held in what is becoming a very twisted Unfortunately for Max, Sarasota is much too close to Tampa, where Gina lives and he’s fighting the temptation to see the girl who (however much he denies it) holds his heart.
Alongside Sam’s main plot, we’ve also got the added bonus of seeing his childhood unravel in what is the sweetest story. His mother is an alcoholic who often forgets to feed him, and his father works away from home, but beats his only son whenever he’s back; not a particularly happy childhood. One day, Sam saves the class geek Noah from being beaten up, and they quickly become the best of friends. Noah’s grandfather Walt becomes a father-figure to him and through Sam’s young eyes, we see how Walt, a black man, falls into unexpected and dangerous love with Dot, a white woman in 1950s America.
I read this straight after Over the Edge and despite missing the two books inbetween, they flow together beautifully. We return to the stories of my two favourite couples so far, Sam and Alyssa and Max and Gina, though the latter have their own book in Breaking Point (book 9).
Sam makes it onto my list of favourite heroes; it’s a damn long list, but he’s on there. It was wonderful to see him and Alyssa finally get together after the two years since Over the Edge. He’s got a gutter-mouth and is terribly remiss in his duties as a father, but he loves Alyssa and Haley to oblivion, so what more could you ask for? What I love about their relationship is that Sam is the one who has been pining after Alyssa, and not the other way around. Too often, it’s the heroine who has been in unrequited love with the hero for ten years until he realises and so this was fantastic.
I love how many stories Suzanne Brockmann can spin at once, yet still keep the reader on track. Tom Paoletti’s story was fantastic. His and Kelly’s book is The Unsung Hero, the first in the series and although I’ve yet to read it, I don’t feel like I’ve missed anything at all. This is a really shit-hitting-the-fan moment of his career and I love how loyal and convinced of his innocence all the other members of his team are.
I'm addicted to the Troubleshooters already. At the time of writing this review, I've already read book two, am a couple of chapters into book four, and have book fifteen from the library. This is normally a series that I would insist on reading in order, but now that I've started, I just can't (and won't!) stop myself! After what has happened between Max and Gina in this book, to say that I'm excited to read Breaking Point is putting it lightly. Also, after Tom's part in the story and all the rumours being spread in the book about his new career, I'm intrigued as to how Suzanne Brockmann has tackled it. Can't wait.
Image courtesy of Book Depository.