oracne - Victoria Janssen (oracne) wrote,
oracne - Victoria Janssen
oracne

Brockmann, INTO THE STORM and others

I finally read Suzanne Brockmann's romance/suspense novel Into the Storm over the weekend. It's part of Brockmann's current series, featuring the operatives of Troubleshooters, Inc., which bends the contemporary Romance/suspense mold by overlapping romantic storylines over several books; usually, one major romance is resolved by the end, but in subsequent books, future problems might arise for that pairing.

Brockmann became popular first for her series romances involving a linked group of Navy S.E.A.L.s. That first series is notable for being the only time I can remember a white author writing a standalone romance featuring a black couple (Harvard's Education, and also the only time I recall seeing a series romance about a black character in the Silhouette imprint (please give other examples if you have them, as I'm interested in knowing). In the Troubleshooters series, she continues to have characters of color, such as Alyssa Locke, who is biracial, and the heroine of Into the Storm, Lindsey Fontaine, whose biological grandparents were Japanese. Lindsey is a former LAPD officer now working for Troubleshooters, who becomes romantically involved with Mark Jenkins, a Navy S.E.A.L..

Lindsey suffers from several types of racism in Into the Storm. A drunken Marine refers to her using the acronym "LYFM," which apparently is crude military slang for "little yellow f***ing machine." Later, she describes to Mark the forms of racism she especially hates: being expected to have skills, knowledge, or preferences based on her ethnicity ("I hate sushi."); being referred to as having "ninja" skills (she is expert at hiding and tracking); and being misidentified as of Chinese descent. Jenkins tries to understand her feelings by equating his lack of interest in the bagpipes with her dislike of sushi. Racism is shown as a part of her everyday life, which she copes with constantly. However, the major conflicts in her life are related to her mother's death and her father's reaction to it; she is not defined by racism directed against her.

Except for the introductory section, Into the Storm takes place entirely in the U.S., as the Troubleshooters and a team of Navy S.E.A.L.s engage in training exercises. A training exercise becomes real when the woman playing hostage in their scenario is abducted by a serial killer, and the teams must find her before it's too late. Lindsey is a far more active a character in this portion of the book than Mark, also a nice change from romantic suspense in which the woman exists to be protected and/or rescued. Ultimately, it Lindsey's skill and quick thinking save lives.

I'm looking forward to seeing Lindsey in future books of the series, mainly for her sense of humor, and Mark for his Star Wars geekishness.
Tags: brockmann, ibarw, romance
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