Thursday, February 23, 2017

Review: Hot Target by Suzanne Brockmann

Title: Hot Target
Series: Troubleshooters
Author: Suzanne Brockmann
Read copy: eBook
Published: December 28, 2004
Publisher: Ballantine Books
ISBN: 0345480775
ISBN-13: 9780345480774

Like most men of action, Navy SEAL Chief Cosmo Richter never learned how to take a vacation. So when he finds himself facing a month’s leave, he offers his services to Troubleshooters Incorporated. Founded by a former SEAL, the private-sector security firm is a major player in the ongoing war against terrorism, known for carrying out covert missions too volatile for official U.S. military action. But the first case Richter takes on is anything but under the radar.

High-profile maverick movie producer Jane Mercedes Chadwick hasn’t quite completed her newest film, but she’s already courting controversy. The World War II epic frankly portrays the homosexuality of a real-life hero—and the storm of advance media buzz surrounding it has drawn the fury of extremist groups. But despite a relentless campaign of angry E-mails, phone calls, and smear tactics, Chadwick won’t be pressured into abandoning the project. Then the harassment turns to death threats.

While the FBI appears on the scene, nervous Hollywood associates call in Troubleshooters, and now Chadwick has an army of round-the-clock bodyguards, whether she likes it or not. And she definitely doesn’t. But her stubbornness doesn’t make FBI agent Jules Cassidy’s job any easier. The fiercely independent filmmaker presents yet another emotional obstacle that Cassidy doesn’t need—he’s already in the midst of a personal tug-of-war with his ex-lover, while fighting a growing attraction to Chadwick’s brother.

Determined to succeed–and survive–on her own terms, Chadwick will face off with enemies and allies alike. But she doesn’t count on the bond she forms with the quiet, capable Cosmo Richter. Yet even as their feelings bring them closer, the noose of deadly terror all around them draws tighter. And when all hell erupts, desire and desperate choices will collide on a killing ground that may trap them both in the crossfire.

My rating:

Someone is sending a Hollywood produced death threats because she's making a movie they don't want to be made, and her studio hires Troubleshooters Inc. to protect her. Since he's on leave, Chief Cosmo Richter offers his expertise to his former CO, Tom Paoletti, and nothing will ever be the same.

Once again, the story was good, and the plot, especially the suspense/mystery part, was tight, though the pacing was once more hampered by flashbacks and (too) many side plots and secondary characters, and the mystery/suspense conclusion left much to be desired in terms of actually making any sort of sense in concern with the villain and his motives. But maybe that's just me.

And once again, the characters almost ruined the whole thing. Jane was a publicity-seeking, emotionally-handicapped, sometimes TSTL idiot. Her brother was also an emotional cripple with image issues, and a huge drinking problem that stemmed from repression of his true nature and feelings. I loved the message Ms. Brockmann inserted into this story about self-acceptance being necessary to have a normal life (Robin) and the importance of knowing one's self-worth and not allowing oneself to be anyone's doormat (Jules).
But these two annoying creatures were counterbalanced nicely by the two leading men of this book. Cosmo with his taciturn nature that was finally given a worthy story (if not a worthy heroine), and through it the reader was offered a rare insight into his psyche and life. I love the men Ms. Brockmann has created in this series. They're "real" men, strong, courageous, resilient, capable, and despite having seen and done things that would give lesser mortals nightmares or worse, they don't let those things rule them, and they're not afraid of accepting or showing their feelings or even tears.

And now we come to the second leading man of this story, one of my favorite characters in this series, Jules Cassidy. I loved watching his growth throughout the stories, from sidekick, best friend, confidant, and sometimes comic relief, to the leading man we got to meet at the end of this book. He got his heart-broken, mended it, and gotten it broken again (much more this second time around, because he knew it was the real deal), yet he stood up, dusted himself off, and went forward, stronger, more mature, more confident, and finally knowing what he deserved. And yes, Jules deserves the best. His story (not the repeated fling with Adam or the budding went-nowhere thing with Robin, but the story of Jules as an individual) in this book, stole the spotlights from the main "romance" between Cosmo and Jane (which didn't push any of my buttons and left me completely cold). Jules being Jules was more interesting, and more intense than everything else that happened and I'm looking forward to reading what happens next. ;)


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