We had so much fun buddy reviewing Dark of Night that we decided to do it again when Hot Pursuit came out. Last time Jen started us off. This time it was Lori. Please note that there are spoilers here.
Lori: In DoN, I thought Dan was a total prick. Although he improved a little, he didn't develop a whole lot. Still pretty immature and not doing much to improve my image of him as an adolescent (and not in the good way we usually like our Brockmann heroes). I'm very glad that Brockmann didn't have Jenn wimp out and wind their story up in this book. He has some learning to do. Even after all this time, and after Eden left, he's still hating in Izzy. Get over that. He acknowledged that she was immature. So what's up with the hating? Still, there were glimpses of a great guy under all of the assholishness. So what is it? Don't blame me? Blame my upbringing? Or is he just a dick? I realize I'm being too hard on Dan. I did grow to like him, and liked Dan and Jenn together, and then Brockmann pulled the rug out from under me at the end. Damn her.
JB: I was totally on-the-fence here. On the one side, it felt off. Wasn't sure if that stemmed from my general dislike of weight issues for the heroine or from his childish martyrdom. Had it not been for their intelligence and humor, both would have gotten on my nerves after awhile. On the other side, Dan proved Brockmann-worthy vulnerable and heroic. Honestly, if it hadn't been for that one scene--his talk with Izzy, overheard by Jenn--I would have landed softly (not solidly, but softly) on the good side of the fence. That scene either proved him an ass or Brockmann a poor writer (tossing him out of character). I'm guessing we'd all agree it ain't the latter. Unfortunately, it may be awhile--potentially never--before Brockmann grows him up.
Lori: Izzy, Izzy, Izzy. When will you learn? Eden is SO not the girl for you. Find yourself a nice girl. One who gets you. Having said that, I would bet anything that Brockmann will stir the pot tremendously and pair him up with Eden. You thought Dave/Sophia/Decker/Tracy caused a hulabaloo? Just wait. I wanted to see him say what the fuck and go for it with Maria.
JB: Uhhh, LOL. Izzy is my boy and I did NOT want him anywhere near Maria. We didn't really get to know her, and what little we did see I did not like. At all. Crying over Eden? Yeah, I didn't like that so much either--although I'm pretty sure I liked Eden more than you did last go round. We'll see. And hope against hope that Brockmann gives him his in the next (last one for awhile) installment. He matured a bit more here though, don't ya think?
Lori: Yes, in some respects he seems more mature. Recognizing he's a married man and not taking what Maria offers. But in others, I'm not so sure. Truly believing himself in love with Eden after she took off like that? I suppose it's possible. And he handled himself with aplomb when Dan had his nightmare. He does remain one of my favorites.
Lori: The Dentist. A better villain than the last one, who was so poor that I can't even recall. It's a different line for her to take than in other books where we usually have some sort of terrorist villain.
JB: Strong villain, yes. I prefer the non-civilian type, so to speak. But this guy was good and creepy.
Lori: Jules and Robin. I do like seeing them. It's been suggested that they've simply become Brockmann's mouthpiece for her political views. While I agree that she certainly uses them for this purpose, I think they still have a love story to tell. Although I think that Robin was pretty damn dull in this one. Relegated to babysitter for most of the book, although he did serve as an occasional sounding board for Sam and Jules.
JB: Their love continues to amaze me. I think you're right--they still have a love story to tell. Between them and between them and friends Sam and Alyssa. Natural, genuine affection here and it still grabs. I completely disagree with the mouthpiece-for-political-views thing. She covers ground there, sure, but it is in the same adlib, hip speak her characters wield everywhere else. Feels more like it-is-what-it-is than preaching.
Lori: Sam and Alyssa. I loved seeing them again. Love how time has mellowed their relationship. Yet they still love each other passionately. Loved the references to sex in the first year following baby - the quickies, the frustrations. Anyone with kids can relate. Loved seeing Alyssa's struggle between hardass professional, nursing mother, and loving wife. And watching Sam give up control to her as the team leader - he's come a long way, baby.
JB: I think I enjoyed Sam and Alyssa more in the last one, LOL. Here, Alyssa is shouldering more and it's harder to watch. Particularly so because we do it from Sam's viewpoint so often. Brockmann certainly underscored the vulnerability they share. Powerful, emotional stuff. Balanced of course with humor, respect and that remaining bit of the knuckle-dragger in him. She kept me on the edge of my seat, but made me laugh a few times too.
Lori: I liked seeing more of Sam's POV in this one, although I will say that he really has done almost a 180 in character, don't you think? While I like his development as a father and husband, he's lost quite a bit of the "Sam-ness" that made so many out there love him. With, yes, a little bit of the knuckle-dragger remaining.
JB: Overall, I enjoyed the multiple threads and time spent in the general company of many. Still find myself longing for the old days though--more centric storylines, maybe offset by flashbacks or a mirror somewhere else in time. I'm not much of a re-reader, but I'm tempted to go back and experience those early days. Maybe even catch a glimpse of some these SEALS when they were but babes, LOL.
Lori: I agree - and I think I'm starting to sound like a broken record. I miss them out in the field, being proactive rather than reacting to a situation happening to one of their team. Make sense? And I miss the WW2 storylines. (Even moreso after reading Ames' re-read review of Over the Edge). Lord how I miss those. More and more as these books go forward. I think all the characters seem to have lost some of their edge and... SEALness?... in favor of forwarding continuing story arcs. And yes, I realize that the majority of the characters aren't SEALs anymore, or aren't acting in official SEAL capacity, but you can't take the SEAL out of the man, IMO.
What about you? What did you think of this one? And what do you think of Brockmann's note at the end that there will only be one more Troubleshooters book? Happy about that? Sad? Relieved? (and no Holly, you may NOT answer that question.)