Brockmann, Suzanne: (05-06) Into the Night; Gone Too Far

After reading Into the Storm, I discovered that Suzanne Brockmann’s current and forthcoming books feature one of my favorite characters. This gave me the motivation to start catching up on the rest of the series.

Actually I’d read Into the Night, the next un-logged book, some months ago. However, it seemed to be closely linked to the following book, Gone Too Far, and so I thought I’d wait to log them together. Except that I wasn’t impressed by Into the Night, or looking forward to Gone Too Far, so they languished, neglected.

I wasn’t impressed by Into the Night for a couple of reasons. First, the book felt over-stuffed: it had a principal relationship thread, a WWII thread, a secondary thread involving several relationships, and a terrorist plot that extended into the next book. Second, the characters in the principal relationship thread didn’t click for me. Instead of finding Mike Muldoon multi-faceted and sympathic, I felt as though he were a character designed to prove a point: look, men can dislike being treated as sexual objects, too! And Joan DaCosta’s humor came across in text as brittle instead of self-deprecating. It’s possible that they would have read differently to me on a re-read, but the idea felt like homework, and I did enough of that this summer thanks to Worldcon.

Instead, I went to Gone Too Far, which I had been reluctant to read. Not only was it was another thick book which I expected to be overstuffed, but it focused on Sam Starrett and Alyssa Locke. I disliked Sam upon his introduction in the first Troubleshooters book, and hadn’t really warmed up to him in the intervening books. And I was tired of Sam and Alyssa’s angst-puppets status.

This turned out to be more enjoyable than I expected. The WWII material is pushed far to the background; in its place is Sam’s backstory. While I thought making him an abused child was a cheap way to give him depth and make him sympathetic, his present-day growth means that he no longer grates on my nerves. Further, I’d expected the development of Sam and Alyssa’s relationship to be rather perfunctory, since it had stalled for external reasons only; but there was a satisfactory progression between the two of them as well. And I liked the material than spans the two books, the terrorist plot and the redemption of Mary Lou. It’s still quite a long book, but I didn’t feel it dragged as its predecessor did.

The next book focuses on new characters, which would be good except I’m pretty sure they include yet another set of angst puppets who featured heavily in Into the Storm. Oh well, at least it’s shorter.

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