Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Review: Over the Edge

Title: Over the Edge
Author: Suzanne Brockmann
Genre: Contemporary Romantic Suspense
Series: Troubleshooters/Book 3
Published: September 2001
Nath's Re-read Challenge (sorry it's late!)

Voted # 1 on the Romance Writers of America's Top Ten List of Favorite Books of the Year 2001

Her passion is flying. As one of the best helicopter pilots in the naval reserves, Lieutenant Teri Howe is tough, dedicated, and highly-skilled--until a past mistake surfaces, jeopardizing everything she's worked for.

Rock steady Senior Chief Stan Wolchonok has made a career of solving problems. He willingly comes to Teri's aid, knowing that his personal code of honor--and perhaps his heart--will be at risk. But when a jet carrying an American senator's daughter is hijacked, Stan's unflinching determination and Teri's steadfast courage are put to the ultimate test. The rescue mission will be daring and dangerous. But somewhere between peril and resolution, the line between friends and lovers begins to blur, pushing both their lives over the edge...

I've read all of the books in Suzanne Brockmann's Troubleshooters series and Stan is one of my favorite heroes. He's right up there with Jimmy Nash. Which, if you're familiar with the two characters they are very different, at least in looks. But in loyalty, integrity and attitude they are quite similar. While I find something in each of Brockmann's books that I enjoy there are some minor problems that I have with the plot, characters or flow of the story. One of my least favorite are the World War II subplots. Over the Edge had one and while I found it somewhat interesting I'd rather have two separate stories instead of the way Brockmann does it with the WW II subplots.

Stan Wolchonok went into the Navy straight out of high school. He's a career Navy man and has no intention of getting married and settling down. This mind-set comes from watching his parents and how hard being married to a Navy man was on his mother. So Stan focuses on his career and the men in the teams. He's the go to guy when problems need to be solved. His teammates can always count on the Senior Chief to do the impossible. His love life is not a string of one night stands nor is he in a long term relationship. And he certainly doesn't see himself as a ladies man.

He was a scary looking man, not terribly tall but muscular-completely ripped, in fact~with a face that looked as if he'd spent a few years in a boxing ring. His broad cheekbones, big forehead, and heavy brow seemed made for the permanent glower he'd perfected. His jawline and chin were pugnacious and his nose listed very slightly to the left -broken one too many time, no doubt. His eyes were dark and capable of being cuttingly intense or soullessly flat and dead. His hair had lately outgrown his usual no frills crew cut and was thick and wavy and surprisingly blond. His skin was fair ~too-fair ~and he was nearly always sun or wind-burned, with ruddy cheeks and a peeling nose. page 20

So he's not exactly GQ material but that doesn't matter to Lieutenant Teri Howe. She's worked with Stan and seen how his men treat him with respect and admiration. She also finds herself attracted to him. Teri has had some problems in the past with sexual harassment in the work place and she is currently on the receiving end of unwanted advances from another officer. So she decides to keep things strictly platonic with Stan. She also doesn't want to act on her attraction because she thinks Stan doesn't see her as potential date material. He sees her as someone who needs his help fixing a problem.

Stan tries to fix Teri's problem by getting her away from the jerk who is coming on to her. Stan arranges for Teri to go on a training mission with the team. The training mission becomes a real mission when an airplane is taken over by terrorists and the SEALs are needed to take out the terrorists. The terrorists land the plane in Kazbekistan, known as the Pit. Not a place anyone wants to be and Stan is so very sorry he's the reason Teri is there.

Teri isn't sorry, she's excited to be involved in a real mission. All she's ever wanted was to fly. And flying with the SEALs, doing something so important is like a dream come true for her. She is aware of the security risks, Stan is always reminding her to wear her flack jacket, but she still finds the whole experience exciting.

Stan spends his down time in Kazbekistan trying to fix Teri up with Mike Muldoon. An adorable, young attractive SEAL who is also an officer. Teri finds Stan's matchmaking annoying at best. She finally has enough of it and decides to let Stan know exactly how she feels. She does this by getting naked. Sometimes when dealing with men you just have to hit them over the head with a brick.

There are two secondary stories, not including the World War II subplot. The first is with Sam and Alyssa, one of Brockmann fans all time favorite couples. While I like Sam and Alyssa their story seems like such a mess of misunderstandings, miscommunication and negative attitude. They do eventually get their own book, Gone Too Far, and finally get their HEA. In Over the Edge, they are put through the ringer and you can't help but feel sorry for them and the way things have turned out by the end of the book.

The second subplot is about Gina Vitagliano, a hostage on the plane, and Max Bhagat, the head of the FBI's counter terrorism unit and Gina's connection lifeline during the standoff with the terrorists. I really enjoy Max and Gina and how their relationship began and what the potential future of it is. There is a 20 year age difference but I think Gina's experiences on the plane certainly aged her and Max, while trying to deny any amorous feelings towards Gina still has very strong feelings about her that he can't ignore.

Stan and Teri go through many ups and downs during their time in Kazbekistan. With Stan trying to play matchmaker and Teri getting mixed signals from Stan. Then you add the stress of where they are and the mission and you get two people who seem to have very little chance of at any kind of relationship. Brockmann does a wonderful job portraying Stan's feelings of being too ugly and old for someone as beautiful as Teri, there is an eleven year age difference. And Teri was trying to get over her fear of aggressive men with Stan teaching her how to stand up for herself. In the end you can't help but feel like they belong together. That everything they went through brought them to that point.

So this time through Over the Edge proved once again a truly enjoyable read and one of my favorites of the Troubleshooters series. If you haven't read Suzanne Brockmann and you like romantic suspense you should give her a try. I wouldn't consider all of her books keepers or re-reads but I have found something in all of them that I enjoyed.

Rating: A-


  1. After reading your review, I would have run to the bookstore to get it... if it was written by someone else than Suzanne Brockmann ^_^; I just can't read her...

    Glad that you enjoyed it though :) Sounds pretty good.

  2. Oh no - you don't like Brockmann? ^-^ There are times in her more recent books when IMO she gets a bit too preachy.

    I've had that happen with authors that everyone else loves, I read them and I'm like - meh. So I totally understand.

  3. This is an author that I have been hesitant to try. I think it's because the same people who raved so much about Twilight (which I did not like) raves about this series, so now I am put off on reading it.