Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Title: Heart Throb
Author: Suzanne Brockman
Published: 1999, Ballantine
Category: Contemporary Romance
Rating: 7/10

I somehow had the impression that all of Suzanne Brockmann's books were romantic suspense. Not sure how that happened. I ordered this one on recommendation without reading any blurbs or anything. I cracked it open because I was in the mood for a little thriller. Uh, oopsie. Maybe I should read the blurb first next time. But look at that cover! That screams romantic suspense. And the tagline: "Falling in love is risky business..." But this is just a romance. No suspense.

Jericho Beaumont is a has-been actor who is also a recovering alcoholic/substance abuser. He's been clean for 5 years and is trying to get his career back on track. He signs on to play the lead in a movie being produced by Kate O'Laughlin. This is Kate's first attempt at producing a movie and she's not about to have her project screwed up by Jericho having a relapse. So she makes him sign a contract saying that he'll submit to drug tests and constant supervision. But then Kate ends up being his babysitter during the movie shoot. Of course, how can she resist the sexiest man on the planet?

So even if it wasn't what I was expecting, I did enjoy it. I thought it an interesting story--a man whose childhood was so difficult that he took to hiding behind the characters he played. And how he comes to actually trust himself and someone else enough to really be himself. And Kate has to decide when Jericho is actually being genuine and when he's acting.

The little side romance between Jamaal and Susie was sweet, though I'm always a little skeeved out by a 15-year-old falling in love like that. I'm not saying it doesn't happen, I just find it a little hard to believe.

My one complaint was that it was a little overwrought in places for me. Just oh-so-emotional. Feel the pain, Jericho, feel it, become one with it and then let it out! It wasn't so bad that it really annoyed me, and I guess actors are generally expressive, emotional people, so it is appropriate. Don't mind me, I'm repressed.

I'm definitely willing to try some more Brockmann. A lot of her books are actually suspenses, right? Can someone recommend a good one? The only other of hers I've read is The BodyGuard.


Kristie (J) said...

Heart Throb is my favourite MM book of hers. I know she is real keen on writing Seal/FBI books now, but I just wish *sigh* every once in a while she would give us just a normal romance. I think you would probably get better recommandations on her other books from other of her readers. I sort of stopped after The Defiant Hero - which I hated. I did like The Unsung Hero though and almost all of her Harlequin books. With her later books, she just seemed to have too many storylines in one book for me. I prefer one book, one storyline with maybe a small secondary storyline - like say Heart Throb.

Jazz said...

I've only read Heart Throb and BodyGuard too. Heart Throb I liked BodyGuard no so much. So I'm not in a rush to read any more. But I have some so I'm sure one day I'll give her another shot.

CindyS said...

Yeah, pretty much anything that is not a Loveswept will now be romantic suspense ;)

I think The Unsung Hero starts the single title books. Prince Joe was her first Harl SEAL - they call them the Disney version because there is no swearing and stuff.

If you start the single titles you do have to read them in order to know who all the players are. I loved Max and Gina and their book blew chunks - high expectations and such. Anyways - try Unsung hero. My favorite Harl is Night Watch while my favorite books of hers are the ones that are not SEAL.


jmc said...

That is a new cover for Heart Throb! The old cover was cotton-candy pink, with black projector film looping across the cover.

I tend to like Brockmann's earlier work over her later books, but Heart Throb didn't really work for me. I know redemption/recovery make good hero material, but I have problems with substance abuse recovery. It's not romantic to me, which bled into my reading of HT. I did very much like the Jamal/Suzie plot.

ames said...

Ok, I'm a sap, but I want Susie and Jamaal to get their own book. LOL Or did they already?

Anonymous said...

Loved this... and my biggest issue was the same as yours

It was just too MUCH at times. But I didn't have issue with susie's age.

For the most part I have enjoyed the harlequin Team Ten books she did. But OMG, how annoying the cussing gets.

I mean we are talking SEAL'S people. The 'he muttered his favorite curse', 'he inserted wes's fave curse' and on and on and on just made me want to bitch slap harlequin. But maybe that is just me ;).

I loved Letters to Kelly but I am thinking you wouldn't like it as it has age issues. I have a half done blog on age stuff. Maybe one day I will, you know, post it.

Jennie said...

Kristie-I like straight romances too, but I was just in the mood for something else this time, you know? I might try one of her SEAL books and see.

Jazz--I liked The Body Guard, not enough to be a keeper, but enough so that I want to try more of her books.

Cindy--I might try Unsung Hero. Are you saying that she titled a book Prince Joe?? Ugh!

JMC--Yeah, I think that old cover sounds a little more fitting to the story. You were just talking about misleading covers on your blog. haha

Ames--She should write a Susie/Jamaal book, but she should set it about 10 years later when they're both adults. ;p

Sybil--That fake-cussing sounds v. annoying. You should finish the age post--sure to be interesting discussion. ;)

Anonymous said...

I think so too ;). Must finish that post!

If you get a moment drop me an email please... I can't find an addy for you. Thanks!

ag said...

Hmmm ... I'm almost tempted to pick up Suzanne Brockman. I've never read a book by her.

Jennie said...

AG--I've liked the two I've read. Not crazy wild about them, but enjoyable. She does have a lot of hard-core fans, so she must be doing something right! :)

Anonymous said...

Comment from hardcore Suz fan here:

What I like about Suz's writing is that she trusts the reader to get the details and keep track of what's going on, and the situations seem like they could be real. (Read the prologue to Over the Edge, then compare to Chuck Pfarrer's real experience published years later and there are some scary similarities.)

The early Team 16 books (now Team 16/Troubleshooters/FBI) all have a primary contemporary plot, secondary plot, and a world war two plot, interwoven. Some people love them all, some hate them all, some people find them interestingly complex, some people are confused by the complexity, Some people just don't read the historical parts. Bodyguard and HeartThrob read very differently to me than the thriller ones do. I don't like them nearly as much as the others.

At any rate, if you want to try one of her books, I'd suggest either Over the Edge (bk 3), Flashpoint (Bk 7), Hot Target (Book 8?) or Into the Storm (Book 11 and most recent release). I recommend these because
- OTE is a fantastic read and a majority of fans like it. You can read it without knowing the backstory. If you like it, then go back and start from the beginning.
- Flashpoint is where new characters are introduced. Suz got a lot of new fans with this one, but for many dedicated readers it wasn't a favorite. (Personally, I like it better after reading a couple times - often what might have bugged me initally gets fixed when I re-read and find out I just missed something the first time through.)
- Hot Target reads well as a standalone, I think, and if you liked HeartThrob, it also has a movie based set.
- Into the Storm because while it uses old characters, they aren't characters that were ever fully fleshed out before. It's like if the characters from Books 1-6 are the Seniors, Books 7-10 are the juniors and transfer students, and Book 11 starts with the Freshman that are no longer freshman, if you can handle that similie. Although there's a very disturbing serial killer in this one, and the blurb on the back of the book gives away a spoiler that happens on page 264 (of ~350), most of it is laugh out loud funny and fun. I'm thinking it's my new favorite.
If you want to try Suz Brockmann and don't need to start from book 1, give one of these a shot.

A note about The Defiant Hero: it is the least liked book of the whole series (based on polls and my own opinion) because Meg goes from being the best heroine ever in the first third to behaving inexplicably and annoyingly in the rest of the book. But her grandmother's subplot is great, as is the contemporary subplot, so it's worth the read if you're doing the whole series.

Then blog about whether or not you liek the Charlaine Harris series. I'm undecided yet if I'll give that a try. I'm finding MJD's Undead series is getting less satisfying as it goes on despite the fact that I grew up in Burnsville, Mn.