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Book CoverC2 (C-Squared)‘s review of Dark of Night (Troubleshooters, Book 14) by Suzanne Brockmann
Romantic suspense hardcover released by Ballantine 27 Jan 09

Anyone who has ever visited my personal blog knows I’m a Suzanne Brockmann fan. I’m not a crazy stalker fan grrl or anything – *innocent look* – I’m just enthusiastic. I like all the interwoven stories and the whole deep point of view thing. And I say it’s impressive that all the characters are so real and clearly drawn that it is often easy for the reader to know, without her telling us, who is speaking. No cookie-cutter characters to be found here! 

So, of course, I was anxiously awaiting the release of Dark of Night, the newest Troubleshooters book. Now, before I go any further, I will warn you that this post will be filled with spoilers. Did you catch that, gentle readers? **FILLED WITH SPOILERS** I don’t know how else to do it. I admire and appreciate those reviewers who managed to write up their thoughts without spoiling it for the rest of us – especially since it took my book 3 days to get to me. Grrr. I mean, honestly, they get Harry Potter books to those who pre-order on the day of release. Can’t they do that for all hard covers? *Deep breath* Sorry! That’s a topic for another day. Back to the matter at hand – and remember HERE BE SPOILERS!!


Dark of Night picks up almost exactly where the previous book, Into the Fire, left off. So we have the Troubleshooters trying to deal with the loss of one of their own. However, Jimmy Nash isn’t dead. He’s badly injured, yes, but quite alive. Jules Cassidy, everybody’s favorite FBI guy, knows that the key to keeping Nash alive long-term is to keep him “dead” until the people targeting him can be found and stopped.

So, a plan is set in motion. A select few know the truth about Nash and are guarding him at a safe house in the desert. Sam and Alyssa (and their new baby), Tess, Jules and Robin are there. The only other person who knows the truth is Decker – until Tracy figures it out, too. Yup, Suz takes the ditzy blonde secretary stereotype and turns it on its ear. And throws Decker and Tracy together in a major way.

At the same time Sophia and Dave are dealing with their grief over Nash, their relationship takes a romantic turn. Yes, Dave has loved Sophia forever but she is, finally, returning his interest. Like, really really returning it. But, poor Dave, right when it looks like he’s going to be happy, the bad guys grab him. Thinking they can get info out of him about Nash – or trade him for Nash, if he’s alive like they suspect. The torture scenes were uncomfortable to read, I must say. Yikes. Thankfully, they were brief. And we are shown some new facets of Dave’s character. He has a lot more in common with the rest of the Troubleshooters men than I had realized. He isn’t just a brain, after all.

And the race is on – find Dave, catch the bad guys, get Nash out of the line of fire, couple up the couples. With most of the SEALs out of the country, there is only a small group of Troubleshooters available to help. Still is there any doubt of the outcome?

The bad guys are dispatched. Dave is found – he dispatched some of the bad guys all by his tortured, infected self. And we get two new happily ever afters, one hinted at and one brand new, plus a bit of closure for an existing couple.

Closure for Nash and Tess – finally, the things that have kept them from moving forward (Nash’s secrets) are out of the way. In my opinion, I think that was the main purpose of the bad guys and Nash’s death. Since Nash was “dead” (and truly injured), he had to sit by and wait for the his team to take care of the bad guys. He had plenty of time to think about things – and get some advice from Love Doctors Sam and Kenny “Wild Card” Carmody. Talk about good times! 😀

Our hinted coupling – when Dave is kidnapped, Sophia has a chance to realize she had only fooled herself into thinking she was settling for Dave. She figures out that he really is the guy she wants.

Our brand new couple — Decker and Tracy’s — whole romance happens in Dark of Night. They see in each other things they didn’t realize they wanted or needed. Deck needs someone who isn’t in awe of him. Someone who sees the real person behind the awesome Chief Decker, Navy SEAL. Tracy needs someone who sees beyond the packaging to the real person and brain underneath. And appreciates her chattiness. I totally believed their romance, even with all the other stuff happening in the book.

What? Is that screaming I hear?? Something about Decker and Sophia being meant for each other? Puh-leeze, people. What, exactly, are you basing that assumption on? I have never been a fan of that pairing – chemistry, they lacked it – so to see Suz moving those characters in a different direction made me happy. I understand that isn’t true for all readers. Whatever. You have to trust the author to take her characters where they need to go.

Yes, there were some small issues with the book — the bad guys were a bit too all-knowing, and some of the violent acts were a bit gruesome (not gory just icky). But acts of violence are like that, I suppose. To make an impact, they have to be uncomfortable for those who witness them. And yes, it was almost too fast-paced. Another 50-75 pages would have been welcome… not that I’m greedy.

Where does that leave us, gentle reader? With the story arc that began in Flashpoint all wrapped up and waiting impatiently for Hot Pursuit — coming this summer — of course! Let me take a moment to say how very glad I am that Suz has moved to two releases a year. Yay!

Reviewer's IconGrade: A-


Badly shaken after the loss of one of their own, the men and women of Troubleshooters Inc. go up against their most deadly opponents yet – the clandestine organization called The Agency. Blackmail, extortion, murder: The Agency’s black-ops sector will apparently stop at nothing to achieve their objective. But this time they’ve gone too far and hit too close to home.

Led by former Navy SEAL Lawrence Decker, a team of investigators – from FBI agent Jules Cassidy and former CIA operative Dave Malkoff, to Troubleshooters Sophia Ghaffari, Tess Bailey, and even receptionist Tracy Shapiro – band together to uncover the truth, and bring the killers to justice.
But the stakes are raised even higher when Decker barely escapes an attempt on his life. It soon becomes clear that the hunters have become the hunted – and the Troubleshooters are no longer just solving a crime – they’re fighting for survival.

Read an excerpt HERE.

Other books in the series (mass market paperback referenced where available):

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and Book 15, HOT PURSUIT, Ballantine, Summer 2009