Monday, May 16, 2005

Sam. Sawyer. Both Start With Sexy...

This is a little fangirly-entry about one of my favorite writers. Since Wendy Duren is openly in love with Emma Holly, I figure I can wax a bit mushy about Suzanne Brockmann.

Actually, before I dive into the gushing, I have to admit up front that in my very humble opinion, SB really does have one of the worst writer's websites around. I'm baffled every time I go there why such a successful writer (who I would imagine by now has a bit of cash-flow from her hobby-turned-profession) won't spring for a professional webdesigner who can create a sight equal to what I view is her brilliant writing. Maybe she really loves her current design. I don't know. Who am I to talk, I guess? I only have this little pre-made template thingy from, so how original am I?

Anyway, I think I've mentioned before that I hold Suzanne Brockmann personally accountable for introducing me to the contemporary romance genre. Before I picked up Out of Control, I'd chalked myself up to a historical only kind of gal. Just never got into the modern day stories. Until I discovered a world full of Navy SEALs and modern-day knights in shining armor. I've never looked back, and in fact have discovered a whole world of romantic suspense.

Brockmann's heroes are all larger-than-life, but they aren't unrealistic. They have faults. The use real bad language. They do stupid things (not too stupid to live things, just normal stupid things that man do because they have no clue how to understand women!). Heck, they even cry.

While I tend to agree that I like Brockmann's heroes better than her heroines, I can at least say that they are usually not helpless. The woman who land these big strong SEALs have great jobs and can for the most part take care of themselves. But they don't refuse to accept help from the heroes when it is clear that the hero is better qualified to fend off a terrorist attack or to get them out of a tight scrape. Well, except for Meg in The Defiant Hero, and honestly, she's my least favorite Brockmann heroine. In fact, I often wanted to smack Meg...

I find the dialogue in Brockmann's books very well done. But mostly, I appreciate her ability to distill down the action inherent in her plots into something that is both readable by a non-military-expert like me but still manages to convey the urgency and excitement of the situation. Usually her hero and heroine are on the run from something or a bomb is about to explode somewhere, and I always get the tenseness of the situation. But never do I feel the book has become bogged down by endless descriptions of scenes that make no sense to anyone short of a three star general.

Mostly, though, what I love about SB's books are her secondary characters. In nearly every single ST I've read, I've fallen in as much love with the secondary hero and heroine as I have with the first. David and Mallory from The Unsung Hero, Molly and Jones from Out of Control. Max and Gina from Over The Edge. And always Sam Starrett and Alyssa Locke. Not to mention Jules Cassidy...

Many have accused Brockmann's secondary characters as existing as nothing more than sequel bait. My answer to that? So what? If the secondary characters are interesting (and they are) and their story is intriguing (which it is), it seems like a bonus to me that I get to read about them as well as the primary hero and heroine. And I'm a reader who loves to see the same characters I've grown to love come and go in other books.

After reading Out of Control, I quickly gobbled up every single one of SB's backlist that I could get my hands on. Wait, that's not true. I actually had no desire to read her non-SEALs books, although I did end up reading Bodyguard and really liking it.

I made my way through all of the single-title release books in the Troubleshooters series before starting on the Tall, Dark and Dangerous series titles. I held my breath when I picked up the TD&D titles since they were Silhouette Intimate Moments series books, not sure if the magic would transfer to the shorter, more rigid format. With the exception of the less realistic language used by Navy SEALs and the lack of secondary characters, the magic was still there.

And discovering this was so eye-opening.

I have to tell you, until I read Brockmann's TD&D stuff, I was a big fat series snob. Before reading the TD&D, every series title I'd chanced to read - didn't matter from which line - left me thinking that these type of romance novels were cliched, formulaic, and badly written. I think I just picked up a handful of especially bad ones, but they were enough to cause me to form a general bad impression.

But the books in the TD&D line blew me away. In fact, Get Lucky might just be my favorite all time romance novel ever, both ST and series. I loved knowing that a good writer is a good writer, regardless of which format she writes in and for.

Not to say there are SBs that I've thought were only okay. I started Identity: Unknown and still have yet to finish it. Same thing with Everyday, Average Jones. Both are good, just not mind-grabbingly good. Not like Harvard's Education, Prince Joe, and another of my favorites, The Admiral's Bride.

Problem is, most of these titles are long out of print and nearly impossible to find in the UBS. Thankfully they are slowly being re-released under the MIRA label, so I've been snatching them up as they come out. I did buy Get Lucky via e-bay just so I could own a copy of what has to be one of the ugliest romance novel covers of all time. I do plan to pick this book up new when it is re-released.

Nicest thing about Brockmann books, IMO, is that I'm always happy to reread them. They take up an entire shelf of my keeper bookshelf, and at any given moment I can pull one out and be lost for the rest of the day and night.

What inspired this little bit of gushing is that finally I found the perfect actor to play Sam Starrett in the movie adaptation of, well, all of Brockmann's Troubleshooters books. I love the character of Sam, and ever since first meeting him in Out of Control (he first appeared in The Unsung Hero, but I met him in OOC), I've been racking my brain as to which actor I think best personifies the image I have of Sam.

And there he was, right under my nose all this time. None other than Sawyer himself:


Now, I openly confess that I have no idea at all if Sawyer looks anything like Sam Starrett. I can't even remember what color hair Sam is supposed to have. (And I don't feel like going through all of my SB titles to find out. Yes, I'm lazy, much.) For all I can remember, he has black hair. But in my mind, Sam Starrett looks exactly like actor Josh Holloway as he plays the character Sawyer on the television show, Lost. The southern accent (which I know is different than a Texas drawl, but still...), the stubble, the general tough-guy with a heart of gold attitude. Not to mention that he's sexy as all hell, which I imagine Sam Starrett to be.

I haven't decided who should play Alyssa Locke. I'd volunteer for the job, except that I'm 100% caucasian whereas Alyssa has African American and Latino heritage, I believe. Again, don't quote me on that. I'm too lazy to go look it up for sure.


CW said...

GET LUCKY is probably my fave of her books, and yes, it has a godawful cover, esp. since Lucky's supposed to be a hottie! Heh.

As for her site...who knows.

Steph T. said...

Oh yay! I can fangirl about Suz B anytime. Out of Control and Over the Edge are my two favorites of hers. For the categories, Blue's my favorite.

I don't mind that some of her heroines aren't drawn as strongly as the heroes, but then again I read for the heroes and not the heroines. Except for Alyssa, but I suspect that had quite a bit to do with Sam;) And I really liked Stan too.

And yes on the picture - he makes a great Sam.

I might have to spend the afternoon with OOC...