Into the Night - Suzanne Brockmann Into The Night is Suzanne Brockman’s latest entry in her on(and on and on)going SEALS saga. In this story yet another of her larger than life heroes falls prey to true love while battling a terrorist cell or two along the way. While I’ve been following this series since its beginning I do believe I may be done waiting with breathless anticipation for the next installment which promises to wrap up character Sam Starret’s love story. More on that later.

This time around Lieutenant Mike Muldoon finds love. He’s a twenty-five year old sweetie-pie of a man who prefers brainy, older, unconventional looking woman and wants to be loved for more than his drop-dead gorgeous looks. Awww. When the President sends his public relations assistant, 30-ish Joan DaCosta, to scope out his team and view their maneuvers Mike is assigned as her SEAL liaison. He’s instantly smitten by the smart, funny, sexy woman and pulls out all the stops to impress her. Unfortunately, Joan insists on thinking of Mike as her “younger brother by a different mother” and refuses to enter into any sort of relationship with him because she feels he’s way too young and sexy for an older lady like herself. Instead she tries to set him up with the President’s daughter which, of course, backfires in the worst way possible.

Though Joan is intelligent and has a wonderful sense of humor she doth protest too much when it comes to her relationship with Mike. And, as much as I enjoyed their love story I do wish more of the book had been committed to it. Sadly, Mike and Joan’s relationship seemed like just another subplot to the many others crowding the book and I didn’t experience the closeness to the characters that I have in the previous Brockmann SEAL books. Taking up a whole lot of space was the obligatory World War II flashbacks and the extended glimpses into Mary Lou and Sam Starret’s miserable marriage.

This brings me to the ongoing tale of doomed romance between fellow SEAL Sam Starret and Alyssa. Several books back I ached for the couple who were separated just when they’d found true love. Now I’m just sick and tired of them. In this entry Sam (who married Mary Lou when he discovered she was pregnant with his child a few books back) is transformed into a miserable husband and a neglectful father. He spends the bulk of the story doing nothing but pining away for his Alyssa instead of acting like a real man and asking Mary Lou for a divorce (which would be a blessing for her). A miraculous thing does happen here though. Mary Lou, who was previously an obnoxious, drunken lush, is now a recovering alcoholic and a loving mother who becomes a sympathetic but still quite needy character. She struggles to do the right thing and longs for love with a desperation that is almost heartbreaking. Mary Lou is friendless and out of a need for comfort and help battling her addiction of alcohol she forms a tentative friendship with a kind man of Arab descent despite her initial fear of his looks. Their friendship was genuine and interesting. Too bad I can’t say the same for Sam whose appearances were tedious and unsympathetic. At this point Sam is a creep in my book and I could care less if he gets together with Alyssa in a future book.

Also going on is (what seems at this point to be) the token look back in history. Joan’s grandmother Charlotte DaCosta looks back to the grief filled year she lost her husband and met a young soldier named Vince during World War II. These glimpses into the past were more of a distraction than anything and I felt jolted out of the story every time they appeared. Normally these flashbacks add richness to the current story but this time they didn’t work for me and they didn’t seem to mesh with the rest of the story at all.

Finally, unlike Brockman’s previous books, “Into The Night” contains a shockingly small of amount of action (I say this because her books are usually non-stop and are impossible to put down!). As a result, it took me over four weeks to get up the ambition to finish this one despite the great characterization of Mary Lou, the humor threaded throughout and the mostly enjoyable love story between Mike and Joan. In the end this book simply didn’t live up to my high expectations for a book written by Suzanne Brockman.