The Admiral's Bride

Bodyguard

Body Language

The Defiant Hero

Everyday, Average Jones

Freedom's Price

Get Lucky

Harvard's Education

Heartthrob

Into the Night

It Came Upon a Midnight Clear

Letters to Kelly

Love With the Proper Stranger

Out of Control

Over the Edge

Undercover Princess

The Unsung Hero

 
Gone Too Far by Suzanne Brockmann
(Ballantine, $19.95, R) ISBN 0-345-46227-0
****
This is my first Suzanne Brockmann book. I say that up front so those who have been following this series of SEAL Team Sixteen understand that I have no reference point with other stories. Gone Too Far stands alone as a novel and is well worth the hardcover price. My only caveat is that there is a lot of background in the book about what apparently happened in previous books. I found it helpful, but if you have read those other books, it may be too much.

Lt. Sam (aka Ringo/Roger) Starrett, a Navy SEAL, left San Diego to head to Sarasota to find his soon to be ex-wife Mary Lou and daughter Haley. Mary Lou never sent the divorce papers back and he yearns to see Haley again. What he finds is a dead woman in the kitchen of the house Mary Lou shared with her sister and no sign of Haley. He calls his old friend in the FBI to help.

FBI Agent Alyssa Locke is smart and well respected on her team, having worked hard to prove herself as an African-American female. She and Sam have a history of two very hot passionate interludes and a few arguments in between. After their last earth-shattering night, Sam discovered that Mary Lou (who was a one night stand) was pregnant and he left to marry her. Alyssa was left ďevisceratedĒ. Now she is called upon to help Sam out.

Alyssa gets her team involved, including her current boss Max Bhagat, a man she wishes would let her love him. Max is attracted, but holding firm to his rule about not dating anyone with whom he works. Others on the case include Jules Cassidy, a gay man who has a great sense of humor and a reputation as a superior detective.

The problems are complex and things looks bad for Sam and his CO, Tom Paoletti. Several weeks ago, the SEAL team was involved in stopping a Presidential assassination by presumed terrorists. There are many questions about that operation, including how did the men get guns on the Navy base without detection? The spotlight shifts to Tom and his team.

Mary Louís fingerprint was recovered off of one of the weapons. She is either dead or missing. Sam is a suspect. Sam suspects Mary Lou may have been having an affair - could the man have been involved in the attack? Tom is suspected in being involved in either arms sales or a cover-up.

Once they realize the body is Mary Louís sister, the hunt is on. Mary Lou is on the run, scared to contact everyone because she knows she touched the gun and someone is now after her. She must protect Haley.

The tension mounts both in the suspense story and the romance. Sam and Alyssa rekindle their torrid romance, while realizing they are really in love. Alyssa realizes she never loved Max, just as Max discovers his love for a woman from his past. Tom has a little romance with Kelli, who is his long time girlfriend.

The story is centered on Sam and his past. His upbringing and his friendship with a young black man and his family showcase what appears to be the hidden message - we are all created equal.

Brockmann has written a page-turner, while interweaving a love story from the World War II era into the novel. While understanding Samís past did help define the man, these interludes were a bit distracting and lessened the urgency just when things were heating up. At the same time, I did find her method of tying the stories together innovative.

The love scenes are passionate and the language throughout is graphic, with street language common in many conversations. I assume the author intended this to add to the realism, but the use of these coarse terms seemed almost gratuitous at times.

Despite these distractions, I did enjoy this book and think those who enjoy tense dramatic thrillers and romances that sizzle will enjoy Gone Too Far. And I will have to go back and read some of the earlier books in the series.

--Shirley Lyons


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