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Book CoverC2’s review of Hot Pursuit (Troubleshooters, Book 15) by Suzanne Brockmann
Romantic suspense released by Ballantine 28 Jul 09

In Suzanne Brockmann’s latest Troubleshooters book, we become reacquainted with The Dentist, a serial killer who likes to claim the teeth of his victims – sometimes before he kills them. We first heard about The Dentist in a bonus short story featuring Sam and Alyssa that was included at the end of Flashpoint. In Hot Pursuit we learn that Alyssa is part of a task force trying to track down elusive Dentist. What Alyssa doesn’t know is that The Dentist has developed a fixation on her and has started making plans.

The events bringing Sam and Alyssa back into contact with The Dentist start out innocently enough – or do they? A New York assemblywoman has been receiving threats and needs her security beefed up. Since she happens to be a good friend of Savannah van Hopf Karmody (heroine of Out of Control, for those not familiar with the whole series), the Troubleshooters team takes the job. It seems like a nice easy assignment that will let Sam and Alyssa and the rest of the gang help out a friend of a friend while spending some time in New York City. But when do things ever run so smoothly for the TS Inc., faithful reader? As always, in the Troubleshooters world, there is a lot going on.

First things first – the team assigned to assist Assemblywoman Maria Bonavita with her security issues: Sam Starrett and Alyssa Locke (along with baby Ashton), Izzy Zanella, his not-so-loving brother-in-law Danny Gillman, Jay Lopez, and Tony Vlachic. Gillman is recovering from an injury that has left him with nightmares and blackouts. Stress from a potentially career-ending injury plus the usual Zanella-induced stress does not make Danny a happy boy.

To distract himself and, perhaps, get some happy (or something), Gillman decides Jenn, the assemblywoman’s chief of staff, is a prime candidate for an assignment-long fling. Jennilyn LeMay is not a dainty, delicate flower. She is what some would call real-sized (“statuesque”, thinks Dan). She isn’t focused on her appearance, she doesn’t date much, she’s the pal in the background of her friends’ lives. Needless to say, when the gorgeous Danny starts flirting, Jenn is suspicious of his motives. But our Dan is a smooth talker and good with the rationalizing so she agrees soon enough.

There are those (you know who you are) who would say Gillman is an ass and a player and only out for what he can get with the least effort expended. I choose to think he has issues stemming from his childhood and more recent traumas and just needs a bit of therapy to help him deal in a more constructive way so he can recognize the good thing right in front of him (which he almost does, without the therapy). Yeah, yeah…yell at me in the comments.

In the meantime, the security threat to Assemblywoman Bonavita has taken a gruesome turn and the team springs into action to catch the person responsible. The FBI is called in on the case and you know what that means, don’t you? Jules! Ah, faithful reader, he is my very favorite person in the Troubleshooters world. A TS Inc. book without Jules is like a day without sunshine. Plus Robin is along for the ride – and to provide babysitting services – since things in NYC have become dangerous and Sam and Alyssa will be busier than they anticipated.

We find out what has been going on elsewhere in the Troubleshooters world…new babies, weddings, promotions, etc. We also get an update in the Izzy/Eden saga. Izzy, we learn, has made several trips to Germany to try to talk to Eden; so far, no luck there. Oh, Izzy…he just breaks my heart. He’s still the same in Hot Pursuit – always with the jokes and smart comments and impromptu songs – but his sadness shows around the edges. I don’t think it’s a spoiler (since it’s all over the interwebs, by now) that his book is next in the series. Let me take a moment to say YAY and Snoopy dance with joy!

As we race toward the end of the book, there is police brutality, bodies are found, and people are being stalked. Characters are kidnapped and their would-be rescuers seem to be off on a wild goose chase, as the Dentist’s evil plan comes to its climax. Will the good guys win? Will everyone survive?? What are you looking at me for? Go read the book!

csquareds-icon.jpgGrade: A

PS: The blurb for this book makes it sound as if Alyssa is the main focus of Hot Pursuit but I didn’t find that to be true. Yes, she is a main character and at the center of a good bit of the action but I think this was Danny Gillman’s book. After you read it, come back and tell me what you think.

Alyssa Locke is no stranger to dealing with danger. As team leader of the nation’s number one personal security company, Troubleshooters Inc., she’s seen more than her share of action, survived plenty of close calls, and holds her own with the best of them–and against the worst of them. Guarding lives is her game, and no one plays it better. But her toughest challenge will be protecting herself from a serial killer she’s been after for years–known only as “The Dentist”–who is determined to make her his ultimate trophy.
The assignment was supposed to be an easy one: teach self-defense techniques to a newly elected assemblywoman and her chief of staff after a political controversy generates a blizzard of hate mail–including death threats–from hotheads and cranks. But as soon as she mobilizes her squad of moonlighting Navy SEALs in New York City, Alyssa begins butting heads with the hard-case cop who thinks that the Troubleshooters are chasing shadows.
Until they discover a dead body. And then another. Now Alyssa really has her hands full bodyguarding two independent, busy women, managing a murder investigation, and trying to find time for her husband, Troubleshooters operative Sam Starrett, and their infant son. Meanwhile, it wouldn’t be a Troubleshooters operation without romantic sparks and heated rivalries–and any time the SEALs of Team Sixteen are involved, there are plenty of both.
But then, while investigating a suspect, Alyssa is ambushed and suddenly finds herself imprisoned by The Dentist. Cut off from everyone she loves and relies on, Alyssa must call upon all of her strength and skill to survive this final confrontation with the sadistic monster, meanwhile trusting that her Troubleshooter teammates, led by her beloved Sam, will reach her before it’s too late.
Read an excerpt HERE!

Other books in the series:

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