The Admiral's Bride

Bodyguard

Body Language

The Defiant Hero

Everyday, Average Jones

Freedom's Price

Get Lucky

Harvard's Education

Heartthrob

Into the Night

It Came Upon a Midnight Clear

Letters to Kelly

Love With the Proper Stranger

Out of Control

Over the Edge

Undercover Princess

The Unsung Hero

 
Night Watch
by Suzanne Brockmann
(SIM #1243, $4.75, PG-13) ISBN 0-373-27313-4
***
According to Suzanne Brockmannís website, Night Watch is the eleventh book in her Tall, Dark, and Dangerous series. (This is in addition to her longer-length Troubleshooters SEAL series.) For those who havenít read any of the series, it features sexy members of a SEAL unit and the women lucky enough to land one. Iíve read some but not all of the books. Only one, however, really sticks in my memory: Prince Joe, the first in the series, which I think is terrific not for the romance or the suspense subplot but for the humor. Night Watch is a pleasant enough story, but thereís nothing particularly memorable or special about it.

Wes Skelly has long carried a torch for Lana Quinn, the wife of a fellow SEAL. His unrequited love is even more poignant because he knows that Lanaís husband has cheated on her multiple times. Recognizing that he ought to be looking elsewhere, he agrees to being fixed up with Brittany Evans, the sister-in-law of another SEAL, a nurse, and the mother of an adopted teenaged son Andy. While sparks donít fly at first sight, a friendship between them develops quickly.

Wes is in Los Angeles on Lanaís behalf. Her sister Amber Tierney, a high profile television actress, seems to be the target of a stalker. The longer Wes is in LA, the more he comes to appreciate Brittany. She has a depth and a level of sensuality he cannot resist.

When Lanaís husband is killed in a freak accident, Wes has to decide which woman holds his future.

The main reason Iím not overly enthusiastic about Night Watch is that Iím not overly enthusiastic about Wes Skelly, who is the central character in the story. His long-term fixation on the unavailable Lana suggests a commitment issue. Thereís one scene where Lana reveals that sheís known heís attracted to her and always believed theyíd eventually end up together. Learning that sheís been willing to keep Wes along as a back-up didnít endear her to me and made me wonder why Wes has been so obsessed with her all these years.

Wes also has a problem with his height Ė or lack thereof. Itís frequently mentioned that heís short Ė 5' 8". The average American male is 5' 9" tall so Wes is only slightly shorter than average. Meanwhile, legendary WWII flying ace Jimmy Doolittle was only 5' 4". Wes has got four inches over him plus heís a SEAL with all the physical prowess that implies. For a character whoís supposed to be the hero, Wes spends a lot of time feeling sorry for himself.

Brittany is a solid heroine, caring and responsible Ė the kind I like seeing end up with the hero. The story behind her adopting her Andy must have been told in a previous book because there are hints of a fuller explanation.

The stalker subplot doesnít play a major part in the book, but in a shorter length novel there isnít much time to develop subplots. Thereís also a minor subplot about Andy and his girlfriend. Fortunately, neither one overpowers the romance which is the main focus of the book.

Night Watch doesnít stand perfectly well on its own because lots of characters from earlier books make cameo appearances, but it isnít essential to have read all the previous books in the series. If youíve enjoyed others in the series, youíll probably want to read this one, too. If you havenít, it still could be a good choice.

--Lesley Dunlap


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