Sunday, June 08, 2008

Force of Nature and All Through the Night; Suzanne Brockmann

Part of the Troubleshooters Inc. series, both of these were published in 2007 by Ballantine. Click link in title above to go to Ms. Brockmann's webpage for FON. Force of Nature is a full length novel and All Through the Night is a Christmas novella. Suzanne Brockmann has given all the rights for ATTN to a gay rights group called MassEquality, just in case any readers out there would be interested to know that. For many reasons, it has been a long long time since I’d read any of Ms. Brockmann’s work, all of which had to do with my reader’s baggage, as it’s commonly called. I’ve looked forward to Jules’ book for years, though, and I eagerly snapped up both of these titles when I saw them on the new books cart at my tiny little neighborhood library.

Force of Nature is set in Florida and is supposed to be the story of Enrique Alvarado and Annie Dugan and how they get together. Ric was a cop until burnout pushes him into the private investigations career track. Annie is Ric’s high school best friend’s little sister. They have one of these push me pull you type relationships, which kinda got on my nerves a little. Together, Ric and Annie get entangled in an FBI investigation into a local businessman. This is where Jules comes in. One of his agents has disappeared while undercover at the businessman’s home.

Sort of by chance Jules meets Robin Chadwick, the guy Jules has had a serious jones for, but for various reasons never hooked up with. One of these reasons being Robin’s world class drinking problem and the fact that Robin wants to stay in the closet because of his budding movie career. Um, not to mention the fact that Jules and Robin had a lover in common. Then again, Jules has Ben. But Ben’s in Iraq. He’s a Marine Corps officer. Talk about being in the closet!

I was disappointed a little because Ric is supposed to be a second generation Cuban American, but this vibrant and colorful community gets scant coverage. Much of the time I thought Ric could’ve simply been any Joe American, not a Cuban American. OTOH, Robin’s drinking issues and the ripples it causes and Jules’ conflicted feelings about what he wants in a relationship are delved into pretty thoroughly. I enjoyed looking at Jules from another character’s perspective quite a bit, I must say.

All Through the Night is Ms. Brockmann’s Christmas gift to Jules’ fans. Jules and Robin have an East Coast commuter relationship. Jules is based in DC and, after finishing rehab, Robin is filming a tv series in Boston. Neither is happy with the situation, but the implication is that they’ll be based out of Boston because they want to get married, and Massachusetts is the only place they can do it. Add in nosy, ethically challenged reporters, former team members who are on the no fly list but whom Jules wants at the wedding, a disgruntled former lover, never ending home repairs and the jitters and bumps of any new relationship. Toss liberally with love and humor and spice and you have a heartwarming romance. Fittingly for someone just out rehab, Robin seems to be the vulnerable one while Jules provides steadiness. It’s an action packed little book, but one I found to be very satisfying.

For anyone who's interested, below are the lyrics to the Cole Porter song All Through the Night, best version, IMO, by Ella Fitzgerald:

The day is my enemy, the night my friend,
For I'm always so alone
Till the day draws to an end.
But when the sun goes down
And the moon comes through,
To the monotone of the evening's drone
I'm all alone with you.

All through the night,
I delight in your love,
All through the night, you're so close to me.
All through the night, from a height far above,
You and your love brings me ecstasy.

When dawn comes to waken me
You're never there at all.
I know you've forsaken me,
Till the shadows fall.
But then once again
I can dream,
I've the right
To be close to you
All through the night.

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