My Suzanne Brockmann binge is over for the moment with Force of Nature, the most recent hardcover in her Troubleshooters series and the reason I went on this binge in the first place. (Well, okay, one of the reasons. The other is the sequel, which will be out at the end of the month.) More specifically, I wanted to read Force of Nature because it moves forward the romantic arc of one of my favorite characters, FBI agent Jules Cassidy. Who is gay, making this not exactly standard fare in the romantic suspense subgenre.
That arc is braided into two others: a suspense plot involving a mobster who may have terrorist ties, and a romance between characters who unwillingly get involved with the mobster. These are basically fine, though I have nitpicks about both. (A suspense subplot is dropped rather abruptly, and one of the romance conflicts drops out of the sky, instead of being present in the character’s point-of-view throughout as it should.) Oh, and the whole “resolving romantic conflicts upon thinking you are going to die/the other person is dead” thing, while a natural fit for romantic suspense, is getting a bit repetitive.
I was pleasantly surprised that this book didn’t have any show-stopping speeches about tolerance or other such Important Messages; it’s not shy about taking positions on such matters, but seems to integrate them somewhat better into the flow of the story. And despite my quibbles, the book has good forward momentum and is a fun read. But in the end, I have to admit that I might very well read about Jules doing his laundry or reading the paper, so I’m not really objective.