This month’s TBR Challenge is “scary reads” – paranormal or suspense – perfect for October, right? I’m not big on reading (or watching or doing) anything that’s going to keep me up at night. I don’t watch horror movies, just the idea of The Walking Dead and American Horror Story gives me chills, and if I’m going to be up all night, I’d rather spend it reading a book that’s not going to keep me up for the next three nights.
The only author I make an exception for is Nora Roberts, because I read absolutely everything she publishes, no matter what sub-genre she’s dipping her toe into. Her Sign of Seven Trilogy, Carnal Innocence, Divine Evil, and Carolina Moon scared me so bad, I’ve never been able to read them again.
Obviously, I don’t do scary.
I do like both paranormal and romantic suspense, provided they aren’t going to give me nightmares. I’ve read plenty in each category and had a number to select from when picking this month’s book. Out of Control by Suzanne Brockmann is the 4th book in the Troubleshooters series, which is set amidst a group of Navy SEALs and FBI agents who focus on bringing down terrorists. It’s a long series (16 books right now) and I have no intentions of reading the entire series because a) that’s just too much action for me, and b) I’ve heard they stop being as compelling past the 6th or 7th book.
Back when I was attempting to read all 100 of AAR’s Top 100 Romances, two in this series appeared on the list. I picked up one, got super confused so I backtracked and read the other, which made things much more clear. At the time I didn’t intend to read any more, despite enjoying them, but then I found the first in the series at the used bookstore, and well, here we are.
I will say up front that while I suppose you can read these independently, I highly recommend you don’t. Brockmann head-hops (a lot) and if you’re not familiar with all the players in the game, you’re probably going to wonder why you’re supposed to care so much about couples who aren’t the hero and heroine. Not only does Brockmann head-hop between characters and situations in the present, each book in the series features an additional World War II story line. Luckily, those are all written in a different font so it’s easy to follow, but it can be distracting, especially in moments of intense action.
Of the 5 Troubleshooter books I’ve read, Out of Control was my least favorite. The other books are focused more on terrorism and preventing the bad people from blowing things up, killing the president, highjacking planes, etc, but Out of Control was different. The heroine, Savannah, is bringing ransom money to Indonesia to save her kidnapped uncle, and picks up Ken (aka Wildcard), a member of SEAL team 16 (aka the Troubleshooters), to help her. They spend a lot of time running around in the jungle, trying to keep from getting killed by the hostile Indonesian rebels and the angry Russians who want the money. It’s a good story, engaging and entertaining, but I just didn’t feel the connection to the characters or the situation as much as I have with the other books.
There is a secondary romance between an older female missionary and an ex-pat pilot with a shady past; I enjoyed the characters immensely but felt like they were cheated out of a truly satisfying ending. The third romance is in the WWII storyline that is connected to the heroine. I was really disappointed by it; the premise was great and I’ve liked all the other flashback stories, but this one fell flat for me.
However, Brockmann still writes a hell of a book. It was fast paced, action packed, and very entertaining. It’s just a mark of how good the other books are to say that this one was only okay. Had I not read other books in the series, I’m not sure I would have liked this one at all. But it did succeed on one front: I’m going to start reading the 5th book ASAP.
Final grade: B-