Saturday, July 25, 2009

How Suzanne Brockman lost me.

I just finished reading the latest paperback from Suzanne Brockmann. _Dark of Night_. I'm disappointed and that's a sad thing because I've absolutely loved her series of romances about SEAL team 16 and the Troubleshooters. Aparently I'm not alone.

My complaint isn't the same as most of the others... I'm great with Sophia and Dave. I even am okay with Tracey being people smart. She and Decker did seem to come out of left field. I thought Decker was great even if I thought his overwhelming conflict was pretty lame.

What I didn't care for was the politics.

I read for escapism, for studly dangerous men acting like men, for sex, and adventure with guns, where our military are the good guys and the SEALs are supermen and military contractor's are heroes, too. (I wonder if Ms. Brockmann realizes that the Troubleshooters ARE Blackwater?)

I do not read sexy action adventure to be presented with a *cause*.

It's small things but they don't need to BE there. Yes, the relationship between Jules and Robin is part of that. Not because they are gay but because instead of a *story* their relationship became a *statement*. The point at which it became a statement is the point at which it got annoying. It *reads* different. The tone changes.

I could point to Dave (I think it was) a few books ago I think he was wearing a Che' t-shirt. And that threw me because I thought... would he? And in _Dark of Night_ someone is wearing a campaign t-shirt with either "Got Hope" or "Got Change"... don't remember... and big deal, right? And someone laments about how we used to be the good guys or something or getting sent to Gitmo. I am *fine* with having someone in the government be the force of evil or a rogue CIA faction undertaking illegal black-ops. And yeah, torture is bad and evil and the evil people can be expected to torture their prisoners for information.

But it is the way that it is done. When it is a *statement* it reads differently. There are no alternate opinions or shades of opinions or variety of opinions. No one has a "Peace Through Superior Fire Power" t-shirt to balance Che'. No one has a Sarah Palin bumper sticker to balance the hope-n-change campaign memoribilia. No one making a remark about Gitmo is balanced by someone who is of the opinion that the best place for "Tangoes" is dead.

In the real world there are a variety of opinions. Even keeping it light, the references fleeting, doesn't stop the feeling of preachiness if there are not opposing opinions expressed by other characters.

It starts to wear after a while and is more than distracting to be *waiting* for the next remark to happen. It throws me out of the story, and that is a bad thing. I don't want to be *lectured* by Tracey, at length, that there is no wrong way to have sex. I just want her and Decker to do it however they want to do it. I don't want to hear *Suzanne Brockmann* say anything at all about sex or about politics or Gitmo or torture or bigotry. That's what she's got *characters* for. And in the last few books I have definitely been hearing Suzanne Brockmann.

It's not that this novel was bad or unentertaining. It was fine, really. I'm just not all that interested in the next one because I know I'll be waiting for the next remark, wondering what it will be. Worse, the free-sample of the next novel that was in the back of this one starts out with three young ladies working together on a political campaign. Ugh.

Worse even than the expectation of having the politics put in there front and center is... I got confused about who was who and for a moment I thought that the working girl was being promoted as a political candidate by her wealthy ivy-league friends. But no, I was wrong... it's the proper and acceptable Ivy League trust-fund lady who has decided on a political career.

Well, okay then!

At least Brockmann hasn't missed that liberal necessity.

Which! I admit is a stupid political reaction for ME to have but simply shows that as things are I can not read her books without the politics being front and center and not only does that suck... it's boring.

It's not even a matter of getting in a snit over it, it's just not wanting to bother.

And that is sad because I really loved her books.