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Into the Night    by Suzanne Brockmann order for
Into the Night
by Suzanne Brockmann
Order:  USA  Can
Ballantine, 2002 (2002)
Hardcover, Paperback, Audio, CD
* * *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

This time around Seal Team Sixteen, also known as the Troubleshooters, averts a potential disaster on home soil rather than in some far flung hot spot on the other side of the globe. Mike Muldoon, the shy, and often 'too-polite' SEAL lieutenant junior grade, is assigned as official liaison for White House public relations assistant Joan LaCosta. She's in California at the SEALs home base of Coronado to assure that an upcoming visit by the president's daughter (and later, the president himself) runs without a hitch. From the moment the two meet, sparks fly. Mike makes his feelings known almost immediately. However, Joan can't seem to get past the fact that she's incredibly attracted to a man seven years her junior. 'Junior' is in fact, what she calls Mike during their first few encounters. But it soon becomes evident that the handsome and persistent young officer is one of the most mature and dynamic men she's ever met.

While Joan and Mike try to keep their blistering affair a secret, at least until the President's visit is over, there are murmurings of terrorist activity around the base. No one knows that the villains' ultimate goal is to assassinate the president, but the SEALs are put on highest alert and pull double duty on training exercises. When an FBI Counter terrorist unit is involved in a firefight with a small faction of these same terrorists, the SEAL commander wants to call off the visit. But the President's publicity machine is rolling full steam ahead and it's far too late to pull the plug. Will SEAL Team Sixteen prevail or will the terrorists succeed in once again striking on American soil?

As in her previous Troubleshooter books, powerhouse author Brockmann juggles a huge cast of characters (many recurring and some new) and multiple plots with a deft hand, seamlessly tying up everything by the book's end - at least those plot threads that don't lead directly to the sequel. Joan LaCosta isn't one of Brockmann's more sympathetic female leads - she spends far too much time worrying about appearances and age differences and is often downright caustic, not only with Mike but also with her own family. Her grandparents on the other hand, come very, very close to stealing the show in this installment as they tell the poignant story about how they met and fell in love after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Mary Lou Starrett is also featured in another involved sub-plot showing her not as the character everybody loved to hate in Out of Control, but rather as a young woman who's battling alcoholism, and her conscience over the way she trapped Sam Starrett into marriage. She also struggles to control her growing feelings toward the kind and gentle gardener, of Arab descent, who seems to understand her like no one else. And while all this is going on she's being unknowingly used by bad guys determined to murder the President.

Readers who love action packed romantic adventure have come to rely on Suzanne Brockmann to deliver the goods and deliver she does once more. No one can weave together character, plot, slam-bang action, humour and of course, smouldering romance that flames off the pages quite as well as Ms. Brockmann. Into the Night is another fine edition to an already exemplary series that shows no signs of coming to an end any time soon.

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