Saturday, July 20, 2019

Suzanne Brockmann - Some Kind of Hero

Navy men don’t come tougher than Lieutenant Peter Greene. Every day he whips hotshot SEAL wannabes into elite fighters. So why can’t he handle one fifteen-year-old girl? His ex’s death left him a single dad overnight, and very unprepared. Though he can’t relate to an angsty teen, he can at least keep Maddie safe—until the day she disappears. Though Pete’s lacking in fatherly intuition, his instinct for detecting danger is razor sharp. Maddie’s in trouble. Now he needs the Troubleshooters team at his back, along with an unconventional ally.
Romance writer Shayla Whitman never expected to be drawn into a real-world thriller—or to meet a hero who makes her pulse pound. Action on the page is one thing. Actually living it is another story. Shay’s not as bold as her heroines, but she’s a mother. She sees the panic in her new neighbor’s usually fearless blue eyes—and knows there’s no greater terror for a parent than having a child at risk. It’s an ordeal Shay won’t let Pete face alone. She’s no highly trained operative, but she’s smart, resourceful, and knows what makes teenagers tick.
Still, working alongside Pete has its own perils—like letting the heat between them rise out of control. Intimate emotions could mean dangerous, even deadly, consequences for their mission. No matter what, they must be on top of their game, and playing for keeps . . . or else Pete’s daughter may be gone for good.

Comment: Since 2011 that I haven't read a full length story of the Troubleshooters series by Suzanne Brockmann, featuring a team of current and former navy seals. The first reason is that not many full length stories have been published recently (there are novellas, though) and also because the series was much more hyped years ago. Having read the majority of the books years ago, now it feels as if time dilutes the «greatness». Or are the recent books just not in the same page as the others? Food for thought.

In this 17th installment, we have Grunge's story, a.k.a. Peter Greene. 
Grunge has always been a good guy but he is a bit reserved so when this story begins and he can't find his 15 year old daughter, who has recently come to live with him after her mother Lisa, died, not many of his closer friends knew she existed before that happened. Of course, some of those who can are quick to help Peter locating his daughter.
Peter also has the help of his neighbor Shayla Whitman, a writer who gives him a ride when Peter decides to follow a car where he saw his daughter Maddie get into. Using technology, some clues and Maddie's somewhat boyfriend's care for her safety, the group unites efforts to help the girl before something bad happens to her.

Each book is different and I can't remember that well what made the previous books in the series so amazing to me. Yes, I liked some more than others and if I recall, only one wasn't good enough for me, mostly because the heroine was annoying.
Anyway, even thinking about the time passing and the easy distraction that is to focus on other books between reads, I have to say this story didn't move me as much as others have. I think part of it was the story itself, that was centered around a subject I don't particularly like, but perhaps the writing has changed a bit too.

I remember previous books being addictive, usually fast paced but with some slower moments for the couple to connect and such. I don't know if the characterization of the characters here just wasn't the way I remember but I failed to really empathize with them so although the story had its interesting scenes, overall it was just average and I can't tell for certain if the problem for me was on the writing style, which I thought great in some installments, or these characters in specific.

Another issue I found annoying was Maddie. So, basically we have a story about a concerned father ans his helpful neighbor looking for a teenager who, after some heartbreak over the death of her mother and the idea of living with an apparently impersonal father, has skipped classes and found a friend who wasn't really so and even got her into trouble. Now Maddie is running from a man who used to have a business deal with the "friend". This girl stole money and told the bad guy Maddie would give it back, framing her. Now Maddie needs to find the money or the bad guy will hurt or kill her even.
That a teenager with issues decides to do something on her own and her father wants to find her is not such a big surprise but that a whole book is centered on that? I found the plot to be very basic, especially because Maddie annoyed me a lot. I get that is angry and all that but how recklessly she behaved! How good it is to see her father wanting to connect with her, respect her, help her, bond with her emotionally but to go to the extend of allowing her to do this even after what she does made me really irritated.
I think this plot could have worked a little bit different but just as well, had Maddie been a bit more understandable of her situation. It can be examples like these that make me think twice about reading YA.

The romance was quite bland. I got the idea Shayla is just a couple years older or something ( I can't remember how old Peter is) but apart from the fact she is an amazing mother and very helpful in complicated situations, I don't think the couple really matched. We know they work as a team but I didn't feel they really were falling in love. The situation they were in was not conductive to domestic understandings: I mean, people react one way in stressful situations but they might not when nothing happens. This was something the other books exploited well but here I just don't think it worked.
We have an epilogue with them together, a little bit of what happened to all the characters we've seen on the page but the romantic aspect of their relationship felt like mostly physical and hypothetical.

All in all, this book felt like it missed the mark a bit. There are many interesting details, scenes, I liked the cameo appearances of previous characters... but the romance, the way we are supposed to connect with the main couple, their lives... I think this was a miss. Along with the main teenager-behavior, this just didn't sound as good as I hoped for.
Grade: 6/10

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