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Into the Storm    by Suzanne Brockmann order for
Into the Storm
by Suzanne Brockmann
Order:  USA  Can
Ballantine, 2006 (2006)
Hardcover, e-Book

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*   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

When former LA homicide detective, Lindsey Fontaine, is summoned to her boss's office for a special meeting, she doesn't know what to expect. A recent addition to Troubleshooters Incorporated, she's ready for anything that Tom Paoletti might throw at her. What she isn't prepared for is Petty Officer Mark Jenkins and the immediate attraction she feels for the intriguing and handsome Navy SEAL. When Tom announces that she and Jenk will be part of a winter raid-and-rescue training exercise in New Hampshire, she's thrilled. Things between the pair heat up when they give in to a wild night of passion. Lindsey and Mark agree that neither wants a serious relationship - not at this point in their careers. Even so, Lindsey has a feeling that she and Mark share a special spark - one that could smolder out of control if she allows their relationship to continue. But Mark's blatant interest in office assistant (and former high school crush) Tracy Shapiro does a fine job of dousing Lindsey's hopes that she and Mark might have any kind of a future.

Once in New Hampshire the pair agree to stick to the business of besting their respective opponents at their war games training exercises. But when terrorist victim Tracy goes missing, both teams band together, using their varied and elite expertise to find her. Biting New England cold and a fast approaching blizzard make their new mission even riskier. The horrifying discovery of a brutally murdered young woman wearing Tracy's jacket bodes ill that the young woman has survived the night. Further evidence uncovered by the FBI reveals that Tracy may have fallen into the hands of a serial killer, one whose trail authorities have been following for years, but whose true identity remains maddeningly elusive. Now as they enter the playing field of a cunning and murderous opponent, Lindsey and Mark must risk everything to save one of their own.

Brockmann continues displaying her knack for insightful and emotional characterizations, gripping dialogue and high adventure, while reinforcing her skill at juggling intersecting sub-plots. This time though, her cast of characters is simply too top heavy. Trying to keep track of them all was like standing at the front of a revolving door and watching characters fly in and out of scenes in their rush to get to the next chapter. Many of these new characters also had their share of emotional baggage to track, which made it difficult to focus on and buy into Lindsey and Mark's relationship and hurried love story. Indeed, I felt more comfortable with previous characters like Tom Paoletti, former CIA operative Dave Malkoff and most of all, Larry Decker and Sophia Ghaffari, whose own troubled attraction seems destined to remain a sub-plot in another few books before it's finally resolved. Additionally, the sub-plot involving a serial killer seemed forced and rather trite and once again, Brockmann drags in more characters, including FBI agent Jules Cassidy.

While not one of Brockmann's best efforts, Into the Storm does add new layers to the Troubleshooters Inc. story arc, ones that show that the author is looking ahead and guaranteeing that her fans won't be running out of heroes or romantic adventure any time soon.

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