Friday, September 19, 2008

Into The Fire by Suzanne Brockmann

Title: Into The Fire
Author: Suzanne Brockmann

Type: Romantic Suspense/Military
Published: 2008

Blurb (long one): Vinh Murphy–ex-Marine and onetime operative for the elite security firm Troubleshooters Incorporated–has been MIA ever since his wife, Angelina, was caught in a crossfire and killed during what should have been a routine bodyguard assignment. Overcome with grief, Murphy blames the neo-Nazi group known as the Freedom Network for her death. Now, years later, Freedom Network leader Tim Ebersole has been murdered–and the FBI suspects Murphy may have pulled the trigger. To prevent further bloodshed, Murphy’s friends at Troubleshooters scramble to find him and convince him to surrender peacefully.

Murphy himself can’t be sure what he did or didn’t do during the years he spent mourning and lost in an alcohol-induced fog. He does know he occasionally sought solace from Hannah Whitfield, a former police officer and the very friend who’d introduced him to his beloved late wife.

But Hannah, still grappling with the deafness that resulted from an injury sustained while on duty, was fighting her own battles. For years Hannah had feelings for Murphy, and one painful night their suffering brought them together in a way neither expected–and both regretted.

Murphy is ready to rejoin the living. As always, he finds himself knocking on Hannah’s door, and as always, his longtime friend welcomes him back into her home. Yet even as Murphy slowly rebuilds his splintered life, he continues to fight his growing feelings for Hannah. Then he learns of Ebersole’s murder and comes to believe that the Freedom Network has targeted him–and Hannah–to avenge their leader’s death to violence. Now Murphy must face the terrifying prospect of losing another woman he loves.

As the Troubleshooters desperately search for him, Murphy races toward a deadly confrontation with the Freedom Network and ultimate choice: surrender his life in hopes that Hannah will be spared, or risk everything to salvage whatever future they may have together.

Why: Suzanne Brockmann is an auto-read for me. Has been ever since I stumbled into one of her series midstream.

Thoughts on the busy: Loved every minute of it. Lori is right though, this one is less cohesive than Brockmann’s earlier books. Not that it is random or lacks context, just that its storylines do not all tie together. This was more serial, than episode. And I loved that, in the same way I love spending time with J.D. Robb’s In Death characters. It’s like hooking up with a group of folks I really dig. Catching up with them.

Izzy: Yup, this guy deserves his own heading, LOL. I’m with Lori on this too. I just love him. There is real depth there amidst all the adolescent humor and acting out. A character I want to protect, even while he is making me laugh out loud. Often. Tears, I laugh so hard. As for his girl, I don’t know. Again, with Lori on this, Eden did not appear to have the moral fiber or genuine vulnerability we find in Izzy. Or in her brother for that matter. We’ll see.

Decker: Another who deserves his own heading. I do remember him as the tortured hero of Nash and Tessa’s book. And watching his undoing in this one was heartbreaking. Beautifully done—devastating even in some moments—and expertly punctuated with a scene near the end where he leans down and kisses Nash on the forehead, placing his hand over his eyes to close them. What a turn of events—so heart-stopping I had to get up, after going to bed for the night, and read through to the end. Couldn’t wait one more day to learn the outcome. Also testament to Brockmann’s ability to give us a cast of characters we’re more than happy to grow with, relapse and grow some more with. Again, allowing us to spend time with these folks as opposed to pulling readers forward via newly introduced characters. Know what I mean?

Hannah & Vinh: Their story unfolded perfectly IMO. Of all that is happening in this book, their thread seemed the most disconnected. But that worked. They both live and have lived in a world of their own, on the outside, deliberately removed from friends and family. Both feel like throwbacks, completely out of touch with the real world, and Brockmann’s decision to keep them isolated for the better part of the book made sense. Together, they have much to work out and they do, in an emotional and believable way.

Dave & Sophia: Going with Lori again. Dave really came into his own in Into The Fire. He commanded attention here, with the same traits and demeanor we’ve seen all along. But this time, he was just more…powerful. Don’t know how best to put it into words. Sophia gets it. Decker gets it. I was captivated.

Overall: There is a comment or sliver of a review sticking in my head right now. Can’t recall who (sorry), but they pointed out a single mention of Dylan and Skeeter in Janzen’s latest Steele Street book and highlighted the fact that it added nothing to the present story. While I haven’t read that one yet, I understand the criticism. Thankfully, I find none of that in Brockmann’s series installments. Building on my comments a few paragraphs back, Brockmann’s characters evolve and she lets her readers in on the changes and new challenges. The end result? We know them better, we know them well. Jules. Perfect example. His role in this book, while pivotal, was minimal. And without back story or character background, Brockmann slides him in here without bump or pause. I recognized his wit, his tone and his intent easily. And was happy to see him.

Not to be a total gush, I’ll admit to one thing I disliked. The shrink. Her role felt a bit tangent or she was too guru for me or something. While key to some of Decker’s unraveling, her cookie-cutter shadowy background and missing POV gave her little substance. I thought her a great tool to give context to all the emotional upheaval of the Troubleshooters team, but Brockmann’s execution seemed off.

Have to say overall though, Brockmann is one auto-buy author that has not disappointed. But Lori? I miss the SEAL action too. LOL


  1. Nodding. Agree on the shrink. It was almost like Brockmann toyed with the idea of making her a love interest for Decker and then said, Nah, forget it. Although, knowing Brockmann, she could very well come back, given the shadowy past, etc. Still, yeah, he's already done his crying with her. That relationship has tooted its horn, I think.

  2. Yes, I totally agree...and I'm glad to find someone else who didn't like the shrink. I do not like her and I do not want her to be Dekker's girl.

    Great review, I found myself nodding along to a lot of what you were saying.

    Gosh, maybe I should get a reread in soon of this entire series, I loved it that much!

  3. You know, I never really worried that Brockmann considered the shrink as a Decker love interest. Even in that kissing scene. Seemed plausible. I was happy though when he took command of that situation, stepping away from her and getting down to business at hand. She just had an ewww factor for me. Dunno.

    And I didn't touch on it, but you guys are right--Danny was a loser. Lopez saved most of those scenes, IMO. Isn't there always one level-headed guy in a sea of overgrown adolescents? LOL


Have you read it? What do you think?

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