Vinh Murphy–ex-Marine and onetime operative for the elite security firm Troubleshooters Incorporated–has been MIA ever since his wife, Angelina, was caught in a crossfire and killed during what should have been a routine bodyguard assignment. Overcome with grief, Murphy blames the neo-Nazi group known as the Freedom Network for her death. Now, years later, Freedom Network leader Tim Ebersole has been murdered–and the FBI suspects Murphy may have pulled the trigger. To prevent further bloodshed, Murphy’s friends at Troubleshooters scramble to find him and convince him to surrender peacefully.
Murphy himself can’t be sure what he did or didn’t do during the years he spent mourning and lost in an alcohol-induced fog. He does know he occasionally sought solace from Hannah Whitfield, a former police officer and the very friend who’d introduced him to his beloved late wife.
But Hannah, still grappling with the deafness that resulted from an injury sustained while on duty, was fighting her own battles. For years Hannah had feelings for Murphy, and one painful night their suffering brought them together in a way neither expected–and both regretted.
Murphy is ready to rejoin the living. As always, he finds himself knocking on Hannah’s door, and as always, his longtime friend welcomes him back into her home. Yet even as Murphy slowly rebuilds his splintered life, he continues to fight his growing feelings for Hannah.
Then he learns of Ebersole’s murder and comes to believe that the Freedom Network has targeted him–and Hannah–to avenge their leader’s death to violence. Now Murphy must face the terrifying prospect of losing another woman he loves.
As the Troubleshooters desperately search for him, Murphy races toward a deadly confrontation with the Freedom Network and ultimate choice: surrender his life in hopes that Hannah will be spared, or risk everything to salvage whatever future they may have together.
This is a tricky review to write (and long) b/c there are so many different storylines going on at the same time. What I love about Suzanne Brockmann is her ability to have so many storylines going on, yet have it all tied together nice and neat at the end. I’m going to review it by storyline/couple. That will be the easiest way to do it.
There may be spoilers ahead and you may not want to read if you haven’t read the book yet. So be warned.
Murph/Hannah: Talk about tortured characters. It’s not just a tortured hero here…Hannah is plenty tortured herself. Murph’s wife, Angelina, died in Hot Target. It’s been years, yet Murph has never recovered. Not that I blame him, especially considering that Angelina died in his arms. Since her death, Murph has flitted in and out of Hannah’s life. He’ll show up, drunk and depressed, stay for awhile and then leave.
Hannah is not only Murph’s best friend, she was Angelina’s best friend as well. Shortly after Angelina’s death, Hannah was injured in a car accident. The accident left her unable to perform her job as a police officer. It also left her deaf. So Hannah is pretty messed up herself. It’s only after the last time that Murph shows up and the leaves that Hannah realizes how far she has fallen and that she needs to pick herself up sooner rather than later.
When Murph shows up six months later, both Hannah and Murph are changed people. They’ve both started putting themselves back together. That’s all threatened when Tim Ebersole turns up murdered. Ebersole is the man that basically ordered Angelina’s death. Murph has plenty of reasons to want to kill him. He can’t remember where he was at the time of Ebersole’s death, though, which is troublesome.
So Hannah and Murph have to work backward to figure out where Murph was. They both know that it is entirely possible that Murph killed him. Hannah is also fighting her feelings for Murph, knowing that he may never be able to return them. Hannah has loved Murph for years. She loved him before she introduced him to Angelina, she loved him when he married Angelina.
I’ve always enjoyed the best friends to lovers plot. As I was reading, I understood that Murph may not have been ready for Hannah before Angelina. While I can appreciate that, I didn’t like how Murph and Angelina came about. Yes, the woman is dead and gone. But really, what kind of person goes after a guy that her best friend loves? And I don’t buy that Angelina didn’t know. Maybe she didn’t admit it, but she knew. So I really didn’t like how Angelina seemed to be sainted.
Izzy/Eden: Izzy Zanella is a SEAL on Team Sixteen. Eden is the sister of Danny Gillman, one of Izzy’s teammates. When Eden gets pregnant, she fingers Izzy as the father. Even though they spent the night together six months before, there was no way Izzy could have been the father. Izzy has to do something, figuring that Eden wouldn’t have named him if she didn’t need his help. So it’s Izzy to the rescue.
Eden is an eighteen year old that has little common sense. She’s an annoying character, yet when you keep in mind that she just turned eighteen that makes it a little better. While she appreciates Izzy trying to help, she wants to be wanted for herself.
This storyline was the sweetest, probably b/c of how Izzy and Eden tip-toe around each other and their feelings. I think the reason it works even with the age difference is that Eden is an old soul while Izzy seems to be younger than he really is. The only thing I didn’t like was Danny Gillman, Eden’s brother. What an ass this guy is. I really hope Suz isn’t planning on writing his book b/c I was totally put off. Ugh.
Dave/Sophia/Decker: I was happy how this ended. I never thought that Sophia and Decker were meant for each other. First, I didn’t think that Decker would ever be able to get past their first meeting. Second, I thought Sophia knew that which was why she figured she was in love with Decker. So I like Sophia with Dave much more than Sophia with Decker. I’m interested in seeing how it plays out though, because I really don’t see how a whole book could be dedicated to Dave and Sophia. Dave loves her. Yes, Sophia has hang-ups, but what could the conflict be? So it should be another good best friends to lovers plot.
Overall I really enjoyed the book. I thought Suz did a great job of tying all these plots together. It didn’t seem choppy, going from one plotline to the next. It really flowed. I’m always amazed at her ability to draw me into these books. I can’t wait to see what she comes up w/ next.
If you’ve made it this far, pat yourself on the back. This is a long ass review.
4.25 out of 5.