For many women, there comes a choice: the Bad Boy or Mr. Nice Guy? Who is the best in the long term, who in the short term (hint: it’s probably not the same person)? Is the taste of either something that every woman craves in order to learn what she needs, wants or absolutely hates? For Tess Bailey, the two men within her immediate circle – Jimmy Nash and Lawrence Decker – represent the dark and the light, the adventurous and the steady, the passionate and the sweet. So, tapping into stereotypes, whom does she choose: the man on the motorcycle who roars off into the night or the man waiting at home with a nice dinner and a glass of wine?
Plot Overview: Partners, Appearances and Romance
Tess Bailey doesn’t look the part of a computer-savvy geek. Her plump face and ruddy cheeks are a testament to her Midwest upbringing, as is her openness, friendliness and overall warm demeanor. As the girl next door, she’s typical; as an operative working undercover for Troubleshooters, Inc., she’s perfect – the last person anyone would ever suspect.
Jimmy Nash and Lawrence Decker are also the last to ever suspect they would run into her. Both men, former spies with a hush-hush government black ops unit, have feelings for the farm girl, though on the “like or like like” scale, they’re poles apart. Nash had a desperate one-night stand with Tess months before. Deck, on the other hand, views her as honest-to-goodness relationship material. So when the three, all now working for the aforementioned Troubleshooters, Inc., are sent to earthquake-ravaged Kazbekistan, their love triangle ignites.
The trio’s mission, as they have accepted it, is to retrieve the missing laptop computer of Ma’awiya Talal Sayid, a known terrorist. Authorities believe the computer could contain vital information about upcoming attacks. Armed and ready, Tess, Nash and Deck assume their new identities to begin the search, facing tragedy and danger – and each other’s roiling, intense emotions in the high-pressure terror zone.
Criticisms and Compliments
Although Flashpoint doesn’t quite live up to Brockmann’s established steamy, action-filled military adventures, it does play an important role in her overall collection. Unlike previous books that focused almost exclusively on Navy Seal Team Sixteen, Flashpoint works as a transition novel, moving the reader away from Team Sixteen to Troubleshooters, Inc. Brockmann carries over many of her characters, including original Tom Paoletti, but Flashpoint also introduces readers to a host of new characters: Nash, Deck, Tess and the damaged and beautiful Sophia Ghaffari. Some readers might balk at Brockmann’s retiring some of her more beloved characters, but it’s always refreshing to see a writer recognize that certain personalities and situations can get stale, so it’s necessary to introduce something or someone new and exciting.
Despite Flashpoint’s pivotal role in Brockmann’s series, it’s not one of her best novels. Kazbekistan, which appears to be loosely based on Afghanistan, could certainly fuel some anti-Arab sentiment in readers, and the romance is somewhat lacking, perhaps because of the way Brockmann seems to sensitively treat her more fragile characters (i.e. Sophia). Flashpoint is a good, decent read; it just doesn’t have the bite and smoldering intensity of Brockmann’s earlier work. Still, check it out. It’s important to get to know the new characters in order to enjoy Brockmann’s later (better) books.
- Brockmann, Suzanne. Flashpoint. Ballantine Books, 2004 ISBN 9780345456946