Thursday, May 24, 2012

Book: Dark of Night by Suzanne Brockmann

I will confess to being out of reach of a library for a little over a year, so haven't read any of the last few Troubleshooters books. Thus, I have none of the complaints that many of the one-star reviewers have. Other than the already established couples growing relationship-wise, I'm not attached to "super-couples." Watching soaps in the 80s and 90s cured me of that. lol

I was a little confused at the beginning. When I started reading chapter one, it took me a minute to realize that the entire prologue was a dream/escape for Dave. I've been there - had a need to have some elaborate world to go to in order to keep from giving up, so I understood it once I realized that's what it was. However, the segue there was not as smooth as I would have expected.

There were several times while reading that I had to click back to the previous chapter or scene with certain characters to refresh my memory on what was happening when I "turned the page." I like the alternating scenes and multiple locations, I just thought some of the transitions were so long that I couldn't keep straight what was happening where. Maybe I'm getting old.

I felt the Robin-into-rehab story was a little too pat. Those Troubleshooters are smart enough to have come up with a better story than that to explain Robin's sudden disappearance from a movie shoot. Him needing to withdraw from the public eye happens often enough. Homicidal stalker, perhaps? Severe food poisoning?

There was more tell in this book than I thought was necessary, and I inferred that it was there for newcomers to the Troubleshooters series, but some of it could easily have been edited out. Several times, characters explained things to each other for the audience's benefit. I guess if this is the first book you're reading about SEALs or government operatives, you need it, but I thought much of that was also unnecessarily telly rather than showy.

On the other hand, I laughed out loud (in a good way) more than a few times while reading Dark of Night. There were at least half a dozen occasions where I wanted to highlight and share something from the book with friends, though I only ended up sharing one.

What I found in Dark of Night were characters who took some good, hard looks at themselves and came to some difficult realizations about their personal quirks and their interactions with others. In that respect, this book was a joy to read. Characters I've grown to love begin to behave in ways that are not in keeping with the mask they've presented to others, even to others very close to them, even the mask they presented to themselves. Sometimes one learns things about oneself that are extremely uncomfortable and hard to integrate. I empathized with Decker's struggle. I did feel that his acceptance of it, after all that, was a bit rushed, but I guess there's only so much room in a book.

I loved that nearly everybody had a chance to step up to the plate and show some wisdom or strength of character. Oddball things from the past would create opportunities to showcase smarts that aren't necessarily visible on the surface. Tracy and Sophia, in particular, have obviously been heavily underestimated by both their teammates and by long-time Troubleshooters readers. Neither is as fragile as others have made her out to be.

Near as I can tell, everybody on the two teams has a Happily Ever After now, though I personally would quite gladly read more about these characters ongoing struggles and growth, even without the main romantic couple thing that has been Brockmann's stock in trade. I'm planning to reread the entire series in one go at some point, and this one will most definitely be included.  (And there's another story about Jules and Robin coming out this summer!)