Out of Control, the fourth installment in the Troubleshooters series, features Ken "Wildcard" Karmody, the computer genius of SEAL team sixteen. I have to admit, I was a bit worried about this one because I wasn’t particularly impressed by what little I’ve seen of Ken in previous books in the series. But I should have known better, author Suzanne Brockmann has penned a just-about-perfect hero.
Heiress Savannah von Hopf has traveled to San Diego to track Ken down. An acquaintance of Ken’s ex-fiancée Adele, Savannah hopes to convince Ken to accompany her to Indonesia to deliver a $250,000 ransom for the release of her Uncle Alex, who’s been kidnapped. Having a well-trained Navy SEAL as company would make Savannah feel a lot better, particularly since the SEAL in question is one Savannah has had a crush on since she met him six years earlier.
When a flat tire strands Savannah near Ken’s house, it’s no surprise Ken comes to her rescue. Too wrapped up six years earlier in his old girlfriend Adele, Ken doesn’t remember Savannah. But he likes what he sees now and the two wind up spending the night together…without Savannah telling Ken that she’s really there to ask for his help.
When Ken discovers he and Savannah did not meet by chance and that Savannah has tracked him down for his SEAL expertise, he hits the roof. But he still feels compelled to help Savannah when he realizes she’ll blunder her way through Jakarta whether he accompanies her or not.
The pair is barely on the ground in Jakarta when they are kidnapped by Russian black-marketeers. Ken orchestrates a quick escape and they’re forced to flee through the jungle, with the Russians not far behind.
While Ken impressed me from the start, it took me a while to warm up to Savannah. I’m always uncomfortable when a heroine is less than honest, as she is with Ken. But she really grew on me as she struggled, frightened and injured, through the Indonesian jungles without a complaint. She proved herself to be a much better person than I.
As in all the books in this series, there are two additional romances woven around the main plot. My favorite subplot features Molly Anderson, a no-nonsense forty-year-old aid worker who feels less than enticing since she’s a grandmother and a mysterious black-marketeer who goes simply by the name of Jones. Their relationship clearly stole the show for me and I hope to see more of this pair in the future.
The obligatory World War II subplot features Savannah’s grandmother Rose, a double agent who falls in love with Nazi officer Heinrich von Hopf. Their relationship is revealed through a book Rose has written which is read by several different characters as Out of Control progresses. While I wasn’t wild about how Rose handles her relationship with Heinrich, the reading of her book does tie the diverse sub-plots together nicely.
If I have one tiny complaint, it’s how much jumping from subplot to subplot occurs in this series. As soon as I’m fully engrossed in one story...BAM…we’re off to a different one. While Brockmann handles the complicated plot like a pro, the jumping back and forth drives me crazy. But I suppose that’s really a testimony to how effective a writer Brockmann really is. I’m so involved in her characters’ lives that it’s a jolt every time I’m pulled from one to another.
Now, you’ve probably have noticed I’ve yet to mention Sam and Alyssa. That’s because things are pretty much at a standstill for this long-suffering couple. Hopefully, Brockmann will wrap up their story soon and put me out of my misery.
For those of you who’ve been anxiously awaiting this latest book in the Troubleshooters series, you won’t be disappointed. Out of Control is as good as, if not better than its predecessors.