Monday, 9 September 2013

Over the Edge by Suzanne Brockmann

Over the Edge (2001) (Headline)
Suzanne Brockmann
Grade: B+
Genre: romantic suspense / adventure
Sex scenes: hot
Source: own
Troubleshooters: (1) The Unsung Hero, (2) The Defiant Hero, (3) Over the Edge, (4) Out of Control, (5) Into the Night, (6) Gone Too Far .... (15) Hot Pursuit

As Senior Chief of the SEAL Team Sixteen Troubleshooters Squad, Stan Wolchonok is used to solving everyone’s problems. This time, however, he’s faced with a bit of a problem of his own. Lieutenant Teri Howe is finding herself the unwelcome recipient of a fellow officer’s sexual advances, and she’s powerless to do anything about it. This should be easy enough for Stan to handle and deal with, but he finds himself uncomfortably attracted to Teri himself.

There’s little time to dwell as the SEAL team – including Teri – are sent off to Kazbekistan where an American flight is hijacked – with the daughter of an American Senator on board. What the terrorists don’t know is that Karen Crawford never made the flight: her ticket was stolen and she was refused passage without it. Having overheard this exchange at the airport and not wanting to endanger the lives of the passengers on board any further, a brave Gina Vitagliano offers herself up as Miss Crawford. She’s tasked with communicating the hijacker’s demands to the FBI negotiation team, headed up by Max Bhagat, the best in the business.

Out in the blistering heat of Kazbekistan, there’s nothing that the SEALs, FBI and other assorted military personnel can do but wait – and practice. Set up with a mock 747 and under the ruthless eye of Lieutenant Roger ‘Sam’ Starrett, their endless drills run through all possible scenarios for when the order is given for them to storm the plane and rescue its passengers. For such a tense and hostile situation, hormones are running high: both Stan and Teri are attracted to the other, yet are scared that the other doesn’t feel the same way; Sam had a mindblowing night of unbelievable sex six months earlier with Alyssa Locke of the FBI, yet she can’t stand the sight of him when sober and; Max is forming an unacceptable attachment to the young Gina as he uses his every skill to keep her and the rest of the flight alive. Will they be able to keep a lid on their hormones while keeping everyone on this mission alive?

I’ve heard a LOT about Suzanne Brockmann’s Navy SEALs and I have to admit that even after reading Over the Edge, I still don’t 100% know what they are. Google tells me that it stands for Sea, Air and Land and they are the US’s ‘principal special operations force’. The ranks are even more mind-boggling and if I had the time (and inclination) I would look them all up, but I don’t. It probably wasn’t the best idea to start the series three books in, but I’m up for the challenge.

I’m still not entirely clear what Stan’s role is. I get the impression it’s more administrative/advisory/supervisory than active, but I don’t know how accurate that is. His concern that he should only be a fatherly-figure to Teri is both misguided and hilarious. True, he’s almost old enough to be her father, but when has that ever stopped heroes and heroines in the history of romance? Based on this misconception, he repeatedly tries to set her up with a fellow officer, producing mixed results. Really funny amid the high-tension.

I would have liked to get inside Teri’s head a bit more. She’s not a character I could connect or empathise with very much, which is really the source of my problems with her. However, I did like her backstory. It was very clichéd at times, but it all weaves together nicely to explain why she has such a problem telling men to back off now.

This was like stepping into alpha-male central and I know that the entire series will follow suit – not that I’m complaining! The guys are uber-hot in their military roles, alpha-ness and general behaviour, and I love it. I haven’t read very many books with military heroes, and I have a feeling that this is a fantastic place to begin.

I love how full-on the book and plots are. Yes, it was also massively confusing and mind-boggling at times, especially when I first started and didn’t know what to expect, but in hindsight, I thrive on that. So many secondary characters have primary importance, and they all have stories of their own to be told; the foundations that are being laid are every bit as important as Stan and Teri’s story. Some people have major problems with multiple POVs, but to be honest, it’s not something that I’ve ever found problematic. I certainly didn’t find it annoying here.

As part of the multiple-plots element, we've also got the elderly character of Helga, who is a Danish Jew and survivor of the Second World War. She's a ambassador/diplomat type thing, but has had trouble with her memory in recent times. As only in fiction where worlds are so small, Stan is the son of her childhood best friend from Denmark. Every few chapters or so, we're treated to Helga's memories of the war and it's really sweet to watch this other love story unfold.

I was more excited about the electricity sizzling between Sam and Alyssa and Max and Gina, than the primary characters. Not that I didn’t want Stan and Teri to get together, but the other couples are, in my opinion, way more exciting. Even more exciting is the fact that it then takes a considerable number of books for them to get together. I’m practically squealing with excitement over here, no joke.

Despite being book number three, this was a promising start to a very big and exciting series. I might be more than a decade too late, but that hasn't diminished my excitement. I found this in my local The Works which always has a mixed rag-bag of books, authors and series. A search of their online shop indicates that this is the only Suzanne Brockmann title they're selling at the moment, but I hope this will change in the future. I need much, much more of the Troubleshooter SEALS.

Image courtesy of Book Depository


  1. I think reading the first book in the series would help you understand what SEALs are and the nature of their work. It would also help you get the absolute connection they have to each other and the training they receive to be a SEAL. Think of them as the Navy's Green Berets.

    This is an amazing series. Don't let the military titles daunt you as it just explains the roles on the team.

    Sam and Alyssa show up in the first book. The second book is really exciting and you get the first SEAL operation.

    Can't emphasize enough how important it is for you to go back and read the first two, especially based on what you've written. I think you'll have an "aha!" Moment.

  2. Thanks Jonetta! I've now read The Defiant Hero (book 2) and things are making a lot more sense. I keep finding books from the series at the library, but never in order!

  3. Oh, I'm really glad to hear that. It's such a great series and I hoped you'd have a good experience going forward.