REVIEW: Into the Fire by Suzanne BrockmannSaturday, August 9, 2008 1:00
I never thought I’d long for the good ol’ days, when the only part of a Brockmann novel that irritated me was the WWII flashback sequence. But I’ve got to admit, the hot mess that is Into the Fire had me wishing for something as simple as that to be disappointed in. Instead there were 4 different plot lines, one of which finally finished off a love triangle that probably has some fans howling with betrayal. Oh, and remember Sam’s ex-wife MaryAnne? She’s back, re-incarnated as Izzy’s new love interest. Kidding. Sorta.
There’s no use giving any sort of synopsis, there’s just waay too much going on. Ostensibly our main characters are Vinh Murphy and Hannah Whitfield. (He’s not a vampire, he’s half Vietnamese.) Vinh’s wife-who was also Hannah’s best friend-was murdered in a previous book. He is now suspected of killing the white supremacist who incited her murderer into action, but Vinh was so deep into drinking he doesn’t remember if he did it or not. He and Hannah are trying to figure out whether or not he’s guilty.
Hannah is a former police officer, injured in the line of duty. She is now deaf, and one of her legs is permanently disabled. After her injuries, she too took refuge in alcohol for a while. Despite this, she has no trouble lip-reading or speaking, or really communicating in any way. Unless the plot requires her to not hear something. She and Murphy realize they have always loved each other. Since she is a heroically injured ex-police officer with life altering permanent disabilities, it’s ok to not hate her for being alive. Every time they have sex, they cry, because Murphy’s wife-who was also Hannah’s best friend-is dead.
Next up, we have Tess and Jimmy/Nash/Diego. Things aren’t going well for these two; Jimmy is keeping secrets and Tess thinks he’s having an affair. Jimmy has been going off on all kinds of secret missions, and coming back with injuries that he shouldn’t have. Dave actually knows this as well, and thinks that maybe Jimmy is still working for the Agency, even though supposedly he and Decker quit the Agency years ago. Totally unnecessary side-story, and does anyone even really care about Tess and Jimmy?
Decker, Dave, and Sophia. Suz-o-philes have been waiting for about 5 books for the Decker/Sophia story to play out on the big stage. Sorry kids, it whimpers out in the background of this book. Decker’s been keeping a big, bad secret from everyone and it takes the psychiatrist/Agency spy that Tom Paoletti hires to help everyone finally deal with the death of Murphy’s wife-and Hannah’s best friend-to get that secret out of him.
Oh, wait. I almost forgot the SEALs! Can’t have a Brockmann book without a SEAL or three. Y’all remember Izzy? Izzy looks up one night, sees an underage girl in a bikini, and within the next few chapters is married to her. And she’s pregnant. Throw in internet porn, VD, and about 6 trips back and forth to Las Vegas. I found her more irritating than the infamous MaryAnne, and if Brockmann can redeem this girl I will bow to her.
I’ve got to say, I actually laughed towards the end of “Into the Fire”. Not only is there a large cast of active players, but the author name-checks almost every character who doesn’t have a participating role in this book. (It was nice to see Stan again, lol.) At the end of the climactic battle, all these characters are literally coming out of the woods, armed with fully automatic weapons, and it was so much that I had to giggle. I kept expecting to see the Team 10 guys.
Ultimately, Into the Fire suffers from Too Much. Too Much going on, Too Much drama. Too Many characters with Too Many problems. Makes me sad, because I have so many of her books on my keeper shelf.
Vinh Murphy-ex-Marine and onetime operative for the elite security firm Troubleshooters Incorporated-has been MIA ever since his wife, Angelina, was caught in a crossfire and killed during what should have been a routine bodyguard assignment. Overcome with grief, Murphy blames the neo-Nazi group known as the Freedom Network for her death. Now, years later, Freedom Network leader Tim Ebersole has been murdered-and the FBI suspects Murphy may have pulled the trigger. To prevent further bloodshed, Murphy’s friends at Troubleshooters scramble to find him and convince him to surrender peacefully.
Murphy himself can’t be sure what he did or didn’t do during the years he spent mourning and lost in an alcohol-induced fog. He does know he occasionally sought solace from Hannah Whitfield, a former police officer and the very friend who’d introduced him to his beloved late wife.
But Hannah, still grappling with the deafness that resulted from an injury sustained while on duty, was fighting her own battles. For years Hannah had feelings for Murphy, and one painful night their suffering brought them together in a way neither expected-and both regretted.
Murphy is ready to rejoin the living. As always, he finds himself knocking on Hannah’s door, and as always, his longtime friend welcomes him back into her home. Yet even as Murphy slowly rebuilds his splintered life, hecontinues to fight his growing feelings for Hannah.
Then he learns of Ebersole’s murder and comes to believe that the Freedom Network has targeted him-and Hannah-to avenge their leader’s death to violence. Now Murphy must face the terrifying prospect of losing another woman he loves.
As the Troubleshooters desperately search for him, Murphy races toward a deadly confrontation with the Freedom Network and ultimate choice: surrender his life in hopes that Hannah will be spared, or risk everything to salvage whatever future they may have together.
Read an excerpt.