While definitely written in the typical Troubleshooters's format of interleaved subplots told by specific characters' points of view, this novel is a bit different. This one is more suspense plot driven and the subplots stay closer to the main plot throughout the whole story. Not to worry romance devotees. Because most of the romantic relationships are already established and the one that's new moves pretty fast, there are a lot of people getting it on in this book. If you've thought some of the recent books didn't have as much feel-good romance action going on as you'd prefer, this book rather makes up for lost time. There is still character and relationship growth and development but the whodunit is the primary payoff.
Basic plot is that Alyssa takes (yet another "easy") assignment to coach a public figure in self defense while bringing along Sam and some Navy SEALS to decorate the office for a while and thus convince the heckler(s) to back off. But one heckler is close. And far from backing off, amps it up to 11. The easy assignment becomes intense and the pressure mounts. Alyssa and Sam, then Jules and Robin, work on coping with the fact that their chosen mate works in the line of fire as a matter of course, and how to leave their non-pro family members out of the action. Alyssa is also a nursing mom. Having spent last Saturday hiking with a nursing mom who left baby with grandma, the problems Alyssa encountered rang hilariously true.
The subplot with Dan Gillman I found amusing. For everyone who has ever complained that Suz's guys are too idealistic approaching relationships? Meet Dan. Here's a good looking guy looking to get some action on vacation with minimum hassle, while trying to follow the campsite rule of leave 'em better off than you found 'em. He's hot and successful and it's campy good fun until his typical vacation relationship gets thrown a few curve balls. He's got issues, yes, and he starts to work through them and has to do it with annoying BIL Izzy hanging around. (Izzy also gets a few POV scenes, but Eden is not around.)
The character Jenn adds a useful point of view - I'm so used to Jules and Robin, I forget that Robin is supposed to famous. So when Jenn muses that "the award winning actor has come to babysit, will Susan Sarandon be dropping in to do the laundry?" it reminded me again to pay attention. Plus, I think I lived in her apartment for several years. 400 sq foot studio that averaged 90F in the winter with the windows open? Check. Also had her wardrobe - not quite a 16, but really not a 14 either. Check. Lots of uber-beauties in this story, so it was nice to have a sensible, average looking, average sized, average budgeted character I related to more easily.
While the serial killer aspect is creepy, it's was not as creepy for me as the Into the Storm subplot. There was a distance to the gruesome that allowed me not to dwell on the details. For the whodunit, I guessed the killer early on. Go me. There were red herrings. I don't know if I wasn't thrown because I'm so familiar with SB's writing or because it was easy or because I'm just that good. I still enjoyed finding out if I was right and "knowing" didn't affect my ability to enjoy how the story was laid out. I only had a couple quibbles which I won't mention in case they aren't your quibbles as they were easily overlooked. (If you noticed one word being used a LOT, mention it in the comments and see if it's the one I always notice or if I just have special radar for that word.)
I had a great plan to only read a couple chapters at a time and stretch the book out all week to spend more time lingering in the story. So much for that plan; I tore through the book. The book sucked me in, pacing was excellent, I found all the subplots very balanced and I was never tempted to skip one (only a big problem for me previously in Into the Fire). The book focuses heavily on characters trying to do the right thing for themselves, their friends, their colleagues, and their families which I found refreshing and entertaining. Highly recommended, even for people who haven't followed the series.
Wow! Loved it. Fast paced and action packed. I was pleased that Brockmann decided to continue on with the Sam and Alyssa arc. She has been moving this arc along through the serie and it seems to work for me that there is one couple that is continuous throughout the series. Personally I think that is a great twist. I hope we will see more of them, but alas, I've been told that if we do it won't be for some time. Ms Brockmann is going to take a break. All in all, this book rocked!