Title: The Unsung Hero
Author: Suzanne Brockman
Review number: 52
Genre: Romance / Contemporary
Stand Alone/ Series: Series, Troubleshooters book 1
Summary: After a near-fatal head injury, U.S. Navy SEAL Lieutenant Tom Paoletti catches a terrifying glimpse of an international terrorist in his New England hometown. When he calls for help, the Navy dismisses the danger as injury-induced imaginings. In a desperate last-ditch effort to prevent disaster, Tom creates his own makeshift counterterrorist team, assembling his most loyal officers, two elderly veterans of the Second World War, a couple of misfit teenagers, and Dr. Kelly Ashton — the sweet “girl next door” who has grown into a remarkable woman. Once known as the town’s infamous bad boy, Tom has always longed for Kelly. Now he has one final chance for happiness, one last chance to win her heart, and one desperate chance to save the day….
Why did I read the book: It is this month’s book for Shannon’s Book Club.
He is on his way to his New England hometown to spend some time with his great-uncle Joe when he sees at the airport, a man whom everyone thinks dead: the international terrorist known as The Merchant. Should he add paranoia to his list of problems? Or is the Merchant really well and alive and preparing a new terrorist attack?
Kelly Ashton is Tom’s childhood next door neighbour – her father Charles is his uncle Joe’s employer cum best friend, a friendship that goes all the way back to Second World War. Kelly and Tom had a crush on each other when teenagers but because she was a few years younger than Tom he never allowed himself to make a move, except for a few kisses– even if back then he was the town’s bad boy. They haven’t seen each other in years and were never able to forget their heated yet short-lived encounter and as now Kelly is back into town to care for her father, who is dying of cancer, they may get a second chance. But only if they can get pass their old misconceptions about the other – Kelly starts off wanting to have a passing sexual fling with the bad boy whilst Tom was halfway in love with the good girl next door whom he had put on a pedestal– both needing to find out who the other truly is.
There are quite a few storylines happening at the same, with the story being told from different points of view: there is the Tom and Kelly relationship; Tom’s pursuit of the terrorist; Joe and Charles friendship with flashbacks to their time in France during second world war II and to top it up there is even Tom’s niece Mallory storyline, which takes up a lot of pages with her relationship with David, a geek she meets at the beginning of the book.
I was impressed at how Suzanne Brockman was able to keep up with so many sub-plots but was at the same time, disappointed. Because even though most of the secondary storylines were interesting and well done, I though they detracted our attention from the main couple. Both Kelly and Tom were great, interesting characters and I saw what I thought was great potential to their storyline, with their very real fears of falling in love with someone who wouldn’t be there in times of need, with Tom’s fears for his career and Kelly’s dealings with her shortcomings with her father. But too little was spent on them. I truly thought that the pages and pages of Joe and Charles’ flashbacks could have been put to better use to further deal with Tom and Kelly or even the terrorist plot, which was intriguing – at least the little we see. The climax of this particular storyline was full of action and griping although if I may say so, the way it ended, with some heroics by one of the characters, was way too Hollywood-like for me.
Overall, not as good as I was expecting it to be. But having said that, one of the very same secondary plots I am whining about was what redeemed the book for me, in the end. The youngsters David and Mallory falling in love with each other, was sweet, sexy and very gratifying. They were everything I wanted for the main couple’s story.