on 7 October 2002
This is one of the Navy Seals series. This story is about Alan Francisco a navy seal who is injured when an op goes wrong. He is left with serious injuies to his knee. He is embittered & determined to get back to active duty. While he is recuperating he comes into contact albeit reluctantly with his neighbour, a teacher. He also has the responsibilty of looking after his neice thrust upon him. The story appealed to me as I have also sustained serious injury to my knee so I could empathise with the difficulties experienced by Frisco. The story charts Friscos coming to terms with the changes in his life & the romance between him & the teacher next door!
Alan Frisco has a dodgy knee, wounded in battle, though we are not given any details. He is at a cross road with some vital decisions to be made. Thrown into the mix we have an impossibly attractive neighbour's and a cute niece who is thrust into his care. I liked the male character but felt more could have been made from his background as a seal. He teaches his niece to swim which I felt was a missed opportunity for the author to touch base with how good he would still be at this. For me, the story was fine, the characters were fine, but it just didn't give me that "must reach for" excitement of other books, where I read them at any chance eg boil potatoes for tea. I have ordered another brockmann book for my kindle so this one has not put me off her stories. I think it possibly was the fact that much of the action was based in or very near the apartment block of the main characters which made it a bit claustrophobic.
If I ever wanted to be a writer when I grow up, I'd look to Suzanne Brockmann for tips. I'd sit down and read her books, chart graphs of her story arcs and note how she keeps the reader involved. I'd want to copy her characterisations, where every single character, no matter how marginal is important. I'd need to try and get the rapport between men of a certain age (mid thirties), of a certain mindset (Navy, US Seals), with a major dollop of pop culture references both past and present that prevents the situations from getting too 'heavy', and wonder if I too could borrow shades of Louis L'amour for that curt, tension filled writing when the action scenes are needed.
Because I don't want to be a writer when I grow up, I can only glory in the fact that Brockmann writes for women like me, and I spent money on her books because I know that I'm going to enjoy them.
So, here's the plot.
After five years of intensive therapy on a bum knee, Alan 'Frisco' Francisco has been given his walking papers to leave the Navy. See yah, wouldn't want to be yah. Of course, Frisco takes the news hard, and retreats to his condo in California, and is torn between accepting his fate, and getting stinking drunk.
But before he can do that, Sharon, his sister gives her daughter (Natasha) to Frisco for safe keeping, because she has to serve a DUI (if it weren't for bad luck, eh Frisco?). Mia, his winsome next door neighbour is a peacenik (and all that implies) and the thought of sharing her complex with a soldier (she doesn't really understand what a Navy SEAL is, bless), but her heart goes out to his niece and she tries to help Frisco to adjust to his situation in the best way that she can.
Of course, because Ms Brockmann seems to like her action, there's a subplot of money laundering, alcoholism, a local hood making trouble and the SEALS lending a helping hand that really works.
Although this book was written over a decade ago, it's still fresh, almost crisp. You can see Ms Brockmann straining to be away from the limitations of the romance genre into gen fic.
Not many writers can make that transition, so y'all wanna be romance writers better read, and make note.
For us who actually like men in uniform (not lust, but really like 'em), Brockmann is tops.