Hot Pursuit is a bit of a departure for Brockmann. The Troubleshooters series has always had plots within plots and storylines that take several books to resolve, but this is the first I’ve read that doesn’t resolve anyone’s romance. That’s not to say that there aren’t romantic moments; however, no one new gets a happy ending.
This book continues with a villain from a short story that Brockmann wrote several years ago (it was in the back of Flashpoint). Called “the dentist,” he’s a vicious serial killer who pulls his victims’ teeth. Sam, Alyssa, and several of the old Troubleshooters crew run across him again when they come to the rescue of a newly elected New York assemblywoman. Maria Bonavita is a college friend of Savannah’s (Out of Control), and Savannah ran her campaign. When Maria gets a death threat nailed to the door of her office with a knife, Savannah calls in her Troubleshooter friends to give her a crash course in safety and security. No one realizes that the target is not Maria, but Alyssa. The dentist has long been obsessed with her, and he knows that the best way to get close to her is to target her friends.
That’s the suspense plot. There are, of course, other things going on. In the background, Sam and Alyssa are trying to balance parenthood with their demanding jobs. Alyssa is the boss, and she feels the need to prove herself while balancing the needs of her family. Much of the book concerns her thoughts about how to make that work – especially after she receives a request to accompany the president to Afghanistan. Jules and Robin figure in this book (and Alyssa’s balancing act) as well.
The new love story on the scene involves Dan Gillman (AKA Gilligan), perhaps better known as Eden’s brother, and Maria’s assistant Jen. Jen, a bit of a smart ass, falls into the non-Barbie heroine category. Somewhere between a size 14 and a size 16, she favors baggy, unflattering clothes and who-gives-a-damn hair. Dan originally picks her out because his signature relationship is the intense, two-week bang-a-thon; one night stands are too impersonal, and he has no desire for anything smacking of long-term commitment. Jen appears to be an easy target. Once he moves in, he finds out that there’s more to her than he realized, and perhaps he wants more. This is, of course, exactly the sort of relationship that would have been quickly resolved in Brockmann’s earlier books. It isn’t here, though it’s left on a promising note. Izzy Zanella figures in this book as well; he’s still pining for Eden and working out his relationship with Dan.
The weak part of the story was the suspense. I was somewhat leery about the whole serial killer plot, mostly because my absolute least favorite book of the series is Into the Storm – the one with the serial killer. That said, I liked this book a great deal more than that one, which is probably because the serial killer isn’t a huge focus. While you get into his head occasionally, there isn’t a whole lot about his torturing his victims, and that suited me just fine. But at the same time, the whole plot about him was not particularly compelling, especially in comparison to Dark of Night. (You didn’t ask, but I’ll tell you anyway – at the risk of opening another can of worms. I liked DON, liked Tracy and Decker, didn’t really want him to get with Sophia anyway. And I’ve read every book. In order.)
What I did like was revisiting old friends. In that regard, I really felt that Hot Pursuit turned a corner in some other ways. Suddenly the series feels a little like the In Death books, and I mean that in the most flattering sense. When you pick up the latest Robb book, the suspense plot can be entertaining, but what you really want to know is what’s going on with Eve and Roarke, Mira, McNab and Peabody. They are the real story. That’s where Troubleshooters is headed. Sure there are people to be protected, days to be saved, etc – but what we really want to know is whether Izzy will get back together with Eden and what Jules and Robin are doing now. That’s what keeps me reading.
So you probably know where you stand already. If you are involved enough in the story to want to know what’s going on with all these people, then Hot Pursuit is definitely worth reading. If you haven’t read the others, then reading this one makes absolutely no sense; they must be read in order. And if you still aren’t over the Sophia/Decker thing? It’s probably time to move on – in one way or another.