Sunday, May 15, 2005

Romantic Mysteries -- or Mysterious Romances

I've noticed that there has been quite a lot of cross-over between the Romance and Mystery genres. Nora Roberts even brought in a trace of Science Fiction when she set her . . . in Death series in the near future of 2050. Now don't get me wrong, I really like good character development and nothing helps this along better than showing us the relationships the character has developed in his or her "life". But, the books I'm talking about are those that include a couple of steamy scenes which can sometimes border on the edge of pornography.

Flashpoint Early Saturday morning, I finished reading Flashpoint by Suzanne Brockmann. I had picked the book up at my local Public Library, deciding to check it out based on the description on the slipcover. It turned out to a very enjoyable read, even though there were some rough spots in the writing. And, it certainly fit into the category of a Romantic Mystery.

Lead character Tess Bailey is a computer expert and support specialist who wants to be a field agent. She's completed all the training and passed all the tests, but it looks like she's never going to get a chance to be an agent because she's so good at her current job. Quitting her job with the Agency, she travels to the headquarters of Troubleshooters, Incorporated, a private covert agency for an interview. There, she finds former agents and parters Lawrence Decker and Diego/James/Jimmy Nash. She's immediately hired and sent to earthquake-ravaged Kazbekistan in a team posing as relief workers to try and locate a laptop rumored to contain al-Qaeda plans.

Before Kazbekistan and before Decker and Nash leave the Agency, Tess helps Nash extract Decker from an undercover operation gone wrong. Nash winds up going home with her that night for a steamy one-night stand. There are a couple of problems, though. First, Nash is aware that Decker is very interested in Tess. And, although he thought it was only going to be one night, Nash found himself falling for Tess -- hard.

Cut to Kazbekistan. The romantic triangle produces lots of tension, particularly since Tess and Nash are posing as husband and wife. Add in the culture of rabid Islamic customs, a fugitive American woman, and a ruthless local warlord and the stage is set for action, adventure, and not a small amount of sex.

Okay. I liked the book. I'll probably read more by Brockmann. I even stayed up late so I could finish the book in time to return it to the Library by the due date instead of renewing it.

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