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Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Gone Too Far by Suzanne Brockmann

Hero: Sam Starrett
Heroine: Alyssa Locke
Grade: A

Tough-talking Navy SEAL Sam Starrett and FBI sharpshooter Alyssa Locke, who played supporting roles in Brockmann's four previous romances (Into the Night, etc.), finally claim center stage in the author's suspenseful hardcover debut. Unfortunately, the oft star-crossed lovers must share the limelight with a plethora of characters from Brockmann's earlier SEAL Team 16 tales, which makes for an overstuffed and somewhat disjointed read. The book's primary and most compelling thread focuses on Sam and Alyssa's search for his daughter and almost ex-wife, who may have been kidnapped by terrorists. As the pair scour Florida, they slowly learn to trust each other. At the same time, Alyssa's boss, renowned FBI negotiator Max Bhagat, must deal with his attraction to a much younger woman, and Sam's former SEAL commander, Tom Paoletti, is all but accused of aiding terrorists. To top everything off, Brockmann throws in snippets of Sam's childhood friendship with Noah Gaines, a black boy he rescued from bullies, and includes her trademark-a WWII love story relayed through letters. Although Brockmann has effectively juggled several story lines in her previous romances, here she simply has too many balls in the air, and inevitably she loses track of a few. Still, the author's fans will find plenty of enjoyment in watching passion-and tempers-flare between Sam and Alyssa. New readers, meanwhile, will find that Brockmann has gone to great lengths to get them up to speed, and those who aren't discouraged by the book's slow start will find themselves drawn in by the characters' snappy dialogue and jam-packed lives. -Publishers Weekly 2003.

I finished this book for like the thirtieth time since the book came out. It's really good, I promise. I know that there are others out there that didn't like this book (not even a little bit) but that's okay because I know there are some people out there that share my enthusiasm for these characters, I love Sam Starrett, he's #1 in my book, up there right alongside Dageus MacKeltar as my Ultimate Hero. He's just one of those men that I can't seem to get enough of. If SB wrote lots of second and third and fourth and fifth epilogues about Sam and Alyssa, I would happily read each and every single one of them because I love Sam that much. There's just something about the realness of Sam that I find appealing. He's real. I like that. A song that I hear all the time that totally reminds me of Sam, is Tim McGraw's A Real Good Man. I love all of his imperfections and though he's made some major disappointing choices in his life, none of that matters to me, because I love his character.

He's got one helluva foul mouth, he never loved his wife not even a little bit, he hid from his marriage and he lusted after a former lover, one that he very much loves with all that he is. He throws up after every target that he eliminates, he was a macho, trash talking red neck who had little respect for women in the Military or gays in the FBI, what's to love, right?

One of the reasons I love Sam so much is you can see the great wealth of growth that Sam did throughout the entire Troubleshooters series. In the beginning, yeah he was hateable (is that a word?) because he slept around, he got rip roaring drunk all the time and he mouthed off all the time but you see the change in him with each book, you see the change him from the fun loving, care free Sam to the duty over love Sam in the following books and then the miserable husband in the last books and then finally, we get his book and you can see the real man beneath the man he shows to everyone else.

We get to see the real Sam, his roots, where he came from, how he became the man we knew and how he turned into the man I know and love now. It's just effing great, if you ask me.

In Gone Too Far, we finally get to read Sam and Alyssa's happy ending. It was a long time coming because Suz built their characters up in the previous books and if you didn't read the other books in the series, you can't truly appreciate the uniqueness of Sam and Alyssa's relationship. Their whole relationship was complicated from the very beginning so it didn't come as much of a surprise to me that their book was filled to the brim with complications.

I was very happy with Sam's happy ending in GTF because he finally got what he always wanted, a shot at a real relationship with the love of his life, Alyssa Locke. Alyssa Locke wasn't called the ice queen for nothing, she was a real power to be reckoned with. Stubborn as a bull, annoying as all get out, but that's who Sam loved, he couldn't help it anymore than she could.

I understood a lot of why Alyssa acted the way she did and though it bothered me sometimes, like when she was always yelling at Sam about coming on to her in the car and how she always just assumed the worst in Sam, all of that bothered me but not enough to hate the book though. Oh heck no, I loved these characters too much.

My only problem about this book is after all this time, you would think that we knew a little more about Alyssa but we never really got that. We got the general background information about her but nothing really concrete, like we hear a lot about all of her sisters and what not but they didn't play a big part or even a small part in Alyssa's story, it would have been nice to get to know Alyssa, see Alyssa back in the day the way we got to see young Sam.

Not that I'm complaining about all of the Sam we got in the book, oh no, I loved reading about Sam's old life back when he was Roger Starrett, I loved reading about how he met and befriended Noah and then how he developed a strong and loving relationship with Noah's grandfather, Walt. I also loved the secondary story between Walt and Dot. I loved reading about Walt and Dot's letters from the war and I loved watching true love prevail in their case. Their story was a great addition to the story and it didn't overpower Sam and Alyssa's story in the least, like some of the other stories have in the past.

Another thing I couldn't stand about this book was Tom and Kelly's wedding. I hate Kelly's reasons for wanting to finally marry Tom. Someone as big and as important to the men of the series should have gotten a better wedding than the one that SB gave him. I hated that it took Tom getting sent to jail, possibly prison for her to wake up and realize that she had to marry Tom, because they wouldn't let her in to visit him. After all the time that Tom has spent trying to convince Kelly to marry him, for her to finally want to marry him because he was in jail is kinda bittersweet for Tom. He deserved more and I was pissed to high heaven at Kelly for this. Although I do have to say that I laughed at the wedding scene, you gotta admit it was funny, I just thought that Tom deserved better.

This book is filled with all the oohs and ahhs of good scenes and the OMG of the action scenes, there's plenty of a swoonworthy quotes in this book and heart warming scenes that will leave all of us chicky lala's happy, you gotta love these SEALs. It's a very good book and a great ending to Sam and Alyssa's story.

I totally recommend this book.

*edited to add* You must read this series in order to really enjoy this book...

The Reading Order:

  • The Unsung Hero
  • The Defiant Hero
  • Over the Edge
  • Out of Control
  • Into the Night
  • Flashpoint
  • Gone Too Far
  • Hot Target
  • Boiling Point
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