Body Language

Everyday, Average Jones

Forbidden

Freedom's Price

Harvard's Education

Heartthrob

It Came Upon a Midnight Clear

Kiss and Tell

Love With the Proper Stranger

Time Enough for Love

Undercover Princess

 
The Admiral’s Bride
by Suzanne Brockmann
(Silh. Int. Mom. #962, $4.25, PG-13) ISBN 0-373-07962-1
****
The Admiral’s Bride is a standout in a commendable series. From the brief prologue depicting a 1969 rescue of wounded soldiers in Vietnam, Brockmann’s story moves quickly to the present, proving some old heroes never die and some do not even fade away. Certainly not fifty-something Jake Robinson.

In the late sixties, Lieutenant Jake “Admiral” Robinson and his legendary band of Navy SEALs specialized in daring rescues. Matt Lange was one of those who had been left for dead. Acting on the motto: “We do not leave our wounded or dying behind,” Jake led a rescue mission, saving Matt.

Fast forward to present-day Washington, DC. Now in his early fifties, Jake has achieved the rank of Admiral and is a widower. Three years after the death of his wife, Daisy Owen, an artist of national renown, Jake continues to wear his wedding band and mourns the one great love of his life.

Dr. Zoe Lange, an “Agency” operative specializing in weapons of mass destruction, is the daughter Matt Lange thought he would never have as he lay wounded and forgotten on that battlefield. Although they have never met, Zoe reveres the heroic figure who saved her father’s life.

Now closeted in the basement of the Pentagon, Jake and Zoe are planning the recovery of six canisters of Triple X, an innocuous appearing combination of chemicals with the potential to decimate a city. Jake knows the stolen chemical weapons are held by a group of right-wing fanatics with a stronghold in Montana. The plan: infiltrate. The problem: Jake and Zoe need to get inside the compound. The solution: a fake marriage.

But there’s a problem with the solution: well, consider a twenty-something age difference, a grieving widower, a brilliant scientist who thrives on adventure, a great support team who look at Jake as (egad) OLD! The only one who looks at Jake realistically is Zoe. She is not blinded by hero-worship. The best aspect of this book is Zoe’s knowledge and respect for Jake and his former life, which includes his former wife.

Can Jake imagine happiness with a woman from his own profession? Can he imagine more than one great love in his life? Can he trust his own instincts? From the first day she appears to explain to Jake’s team the nature of Triple X until the final showdown, the team, including Admiral Robinson, struggle to accord her the respect she is due Brockmann deals with this issue more realistically and sympathetically than authors who have dealt with it in much longer works.

In It Came Upon a Midnight Clear, the sixth book in this series, Jake and Daisy Owen were secondary characters, but well developed. The most fascinating aspect of The Admiral’s Bride is Brockmann’s ability to play off that great love of Jake’s life, without demeaning it in any way, and using it to show how he can find himself once again in a developing relationship that has real heart.

Ironically, unlike my favorite installments in this series, The Admiral’s Bride seems to lack multi-dimensional secondary characters. Various heroes from former books make cameo appearances, and the hero of the next book in this series also has his brief minutes of fame here before playing a role in the cover operation that removes him from the stage early on.

This seventh book in Suzanne Brockmann’s “Tall, Dark and Dangerous” series, is a keeper for me. But I would recommend reading It Came Upon a Midnight Clear first. Did I mention the action and adventure is as good as ever?! Did I mention you should run not walk to get this book?!

--Sue Klock


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