Monday, November 1, 2010

Infamous by Suzanne Brockmann

I've finally found some time to do this review - which I have been promising myself would be done this month (which I only did if I'm using US time, but still...)

Why I read it:  Are you kidding me?  Dude - Suzanne Brockmann!

What it's about:  (Here's the blurb from the author's website.) When history professor Alison Carter became a consultant to the film version of the Wild West legend she’d dedicated her career to researching, she couldn’t possibly know that she would not only get a front row seat to a full-blown Hollywood circus, but that she would innocently witness something that would put her life in danger. Nor did she expect that a tall stranger in a cowboy hat would turn the movie -- and her world -- completely upside down…
AJ Gallagher didn’t crash the set in dusty Arizona to rub elbows with Hollywood’s elite. Unable to ignore ghosts from the past that refuse to stay buried, AJ came to put an end to the false legend that has tarnished the reputation of his family. But when he confronts Alison, sparks fly.   And when she becomes targeted by ruthless criminals, suddenly she and AJ must face the  intense attraction that threatens to consume them, in order to survive the danger that threatens their very lives. 

What worked for me: I "discovered" Suzanne Brockmann's books a few years back when I was starting to get back into reading romance and her Troubleshooters series was recommended to my by the kind ladies at Temptation, The Romance Bookstore.  Since then, I've devoured everything she's written.  My favourite of all of her books so far is Hearthrob, so I have a soft spot for her stand alone novels.  Ms. Brockmann writes engaging characters and she's especially good at writing men (IMO) - there's an obvious difference between the female POV and the male POV
That was the word she's used to describe herself - fit. AJ would've used other words. Like holy shit and sweet baby Jesus.
Case in point.
Jamie (the ghost) could have almost had his own book.  What a hero!! He was a true white knight, even though he wore a black hat and the way he loved his Mel and his children - all of them.  There is something VERY sexy about a man who loves his children and isn't afraid to show it.  I was touched by the legacy he left behind - all his family adored and respected him.  (It made it necessary to suspend my disbelief a little that, having such devoted and numerous descendants, how the false story about Jamie Gallagher had survived as long as it had...) 
I liked how Alison didn't get all snotty about someone challenging her previously held beliefs about Jamie Gallagher. She just wanted the truth and didn't let her ego get in the way. 
As much as I enjoyed Alison, what made the book for me, was AJ.  I loved reading about this hurting, lonely, flawed man, who was trying to do the best he could.  I was glad that he stopped accepting isolation and embraced being with Alison. He put himself out there for her a number of times and oh, there's just something special about a vulnerable manly man. 
Suzanne Brockmann writes great characters, witty banter and sexy love scenes but every now and then, there are little gems which pop up.  When I was going through a particularly difficult time in my life, a good friend gave me the best advice evah and it was quite similar to this:
This was all he had to do, right here, right now.  In this moment.  He had to breathe. Just breathe. One heartbeat at a time.
Eventually, that crisis led me to my own question which AJ also asked Jamie a while later in the book:
"But how do you know," AJ whispered, "when it's finally time to surrender?..."
I guess because I related very well to those sentiments, I found AJ particularly appealing and I was even more committed to him getting his HEA (which probably explains why I was occasionally annoyed by Alison!).
This book has a number of romantic threads - there's AJ and Alison, Jamie and Mel (told in flashback from Jamie's 1st person POV) and even a little romance between 2 FBI agents who are undercover on the movie set - although, sadly Jules, my very favourite FBI agent in the Brockmann stable didn't make a cameo... :(  I didn't feel it was too much - there was a very satisfying amount of each story.

What didn't work for me:  There was a bit of soap-boxing in this book.   Gay rights and anti-smoking.  While both of those things are worthy of a campaign, there was something a little heavy-handed about how they were handled in the book and, the best way I can describe it is that it felt like it was coming from the author rather than the character and for that reason, those bits threw me out of the story.  Fortunately, they were mostly in the first half of the book and by the time I'd finished it, all was forgiven.
I would have liked to have a little more information about the paranormal aspects of the story.  There really wasn't very much in the book at all about it - Jamie was a ghost who could appear to only one person because of "the rules" but I didn't know if he was with his beloved Mel when he was wherever he was when he wasn't on Earth.  I'd like to think he was :)
Even though I understood Alison's fears about being with an alcoholic, having grown up with her alcoholic mother, I thought she will still too slow to board the AJ train (which I boarded pretty much straight away...).  He'd been sober for years after all.  But then, it might be I trusted him more because I knew what was going on in his head...

What else:  This is vintage Brockmann.  Those who like her earlier stand-alones will lap this one up.  I know I did.

Grade: A-

8 comments:

TSTBren said...

Great review, loved this book for the same reasons you mention and had the same "didn't work for me" issues.

Have you tried the audio version yet? It's done from perspective point of view instead of male for male or female for female. Took a bit to get used to for me but I enjoyed it very much. Patrick Lawlor is good and Angela Dawe is awesome with her portrayals.

Kaetrin said...

Hi Brenda! *waves*. It's on my list for audio but I have such a wide choice (how did that happen *grins*), it's hard to decide which one to listen to next - I do plan to listen but I might leave it a little bit so that I'm not too jaded by the story, having read the book so recently. The 2 people/POV point of view sounds a bit strange but I understand that many of her later books are like that on audio. I'll let you know what I think once I listen!

Anonymous said...

"Waving" back! I'm notorious for super speed reading to get the gist, then listening right away if the narration is as good or better than I hear in my head, "laughs" at self! Yes, I am one of those people that peeks at the end of a book too!

Speaking of selection, I picked up Indulgence In Death at Audible today, I know your an Eve and Roarke fan too.

TSTBren said...

Going to try this again, how could I have forgotten from last night to this morning how I logged in and got my name to appear?

And there was a "grin" after my Eve and Roarke comment! LOL

Kaetrin said...

I picked up Indulgence in Death too! I was starting to get nervous about building up too many credits and I know I'll like it. I've decided to listen to the series in order - next up is Conspiracy in Death - but whether I break it for IinD...who knows!

I did read The Search and then listened to it quite quickly after - I really enjoyed both the book and the audio, Tanya Eby narrated and I thought she got the snark, humour and tone of the characters just right - have you read/listened to that one?

TSTBren said...

The Search was an excellent read and an even better listen. Your exactly right, Tanya Eby captured the snark, humor etc perfectly. Loved it! And that is the extent of my review ability! Yes, I envy you and your articulation in really reviewing a book.

I'm now doing a slow re-listen of The Search with my husband (just when we are in the car together for a significant amount of time, which really narrows listening time down)and he is enjoying it too. I knew he'd like all the dog training/search and rescue parts but he's also getting a kick out of the relationship angle and especially the humor.

Kaetrin said...

I don't think I could convince my hubby to listen - to much "relationship" stuff way not enough explosions and guns! That's why they make headphones I guess!

TSTBren said...

With what my husband watches on TV I would think the "way not enough explosions and guns" would apply to him too. LOL He's basically being nice to me with this one but enjoying it enough to want to finish.

I've gotten him to listen to the first two Mercy Thompson books too. I figured he'd think me nuts for enjoying them so much, but he got sucked right in.

The funniest part of that was when a discussion about Twilight came up while we were having dinner at our sons house with he and his wife and another young couple. They all being in their early 30's. The subject of Twilight came up and there was lots of eye rolling and snorting and DH pops in with "well your mom has me listening to a book about werewolves etc and it's really good, tell them the name of that Mercy book hon." The look of incredulity on my sons face was absolutely priceless. LOL You'd have to really know my husband to understand the shock on his face, but it was priceless. If he knew his dad was now listening to a book classified as "romance" I think he'd pass straight out!