The Admiral's Bride

Bodyguard

Body Language

The Defiant Hero

Everyday, Average Jones

Forbidden

Freedom's Price

Get Lucky

Harvard's Education

Heartthrob

It Came Upon a Midnight Clear

Kiss and Tell

Love With the Proper Stranger

Over the Edge

Time Enough for Love

Undercover Princess

The Unsung Hero

 
Out of Control
by Suzanne Brockmann
(Ballantine, $6.99, PG-13) ISBN 0-8041-1971-6
****
Out of Control, the fourth installment in the Troubleshooters series, features Ken "Wildcard" Karmody, the computer genius of SEAL team sixteen. I have to admit, I was a bit worried about this one because I wasnít particularly impressed by what little Iíve seen of Ken in previous books in the series. But I should have known better, author Suzanne Brockmann has penned a just-about-perfect hero.

Heiress Savannah von Hopf has traveled to San Diego to track Ken down. An acquaintance of Kenís ex-fiancťe Adele, Savannah hopes to convince Ken to accompany her to Indonesia to deliver a $250,000 ransom for the release of her Uncle Alex, whoís been kidnapped. Having a well-trained Navy SEAL as company would make Savannah feel a lot better, particularly since the SEAL in question is one Savannah has had a crush on since she met him six years earlier.

When a flat tire strands Savannah near Kenís house, itís no surprise Ken comes to her rescue. Too wrapped up six years earlier in his old girlfriend Adele, Ken doesnít remember Savannah. But he likes what he sees now and the two wind up spending the night togetherÖwithout Savannah telling Ken that sheís really there to ask for his help.

When Ken discovers he and Savannah did not meet by chance and that Savannah has tracked him down for his SEAL expertise, he hits the roof. But he still feels compelled to help Savannah when he realizes sheíll blunder her way through Jakarta whether he accompanies her or not.

The pair is barely on the ground in Jakarta when they are kidnapped by Russian black-marketeers. Ken orchestrates a quick escape and theyíre forced to flee through the jungle, with the Russians not far behind.

While Ken impressed me from the start, it took me a while to warm up to Savannah. Iím always uncomfortable when a heroine is less than honest, as she is with Ken. But she really grew on me as she struggled, frightened and injured, through the Indonesian jungles without a complaint. She proved herself to be a much better person than I.

As in all the books in this series, there are two additional romances woven around the main plot. My favorite subplot features Molly Anderson, a no-nonsense forty-year-old aid worker who feels less than enticing since sheís a grandmother and a mysterious black-marketeer who goes simply by the name of Jones. Their relationship clearly stole the show for me and I hope to see more of this pair in the future.

The obligatory World War II subplot features Savannahís grandmother Rose, a double agent who falls in love with Nazi officer Heinrich von Hopf. Their relationship is revealed through a book Rose has written which is read by several different characters as Out of Control progresses. While I wasnít wild about how Rose handles her relationship with Heinrich, the reading of her book does tie the diverse sub-plots together nicely.

If I have one tiny complaint, itís how much jumping from subplot to subplot occurs in this series. As soon as Iím fully engrossed in one story...BAMÖweíre off to a different one. While Brockmann handles the complicated plot like a pro, the jumping back and forth drives me crazy. But I suppose thatís really a testimony to how effective a writer Brockmann really is. Iím so involved in her charactersí lives that itís a jolt every time Iím pulled from one to another.

Now, youíve probably have noticed Iíve yet to mention Sam and Alyssa. Thatís because things are pretty much at a standstill for this long-suffering couple. Hopefully, Brockmann will wrap up their story soon and put me out of my misery.

For those of you whoíve been anxiously awaiting this latest book in the Troubleshooters series, you wonít be disappointed. Out of Control is as good as, if not better than its predecessors.

--Karen Lynch


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