by Suzanne Brockmann

ISBN: 0-345-46793-0
Reviewer Graphic Button Ballantine Books

WOW, Ms Brockmann has done it again! She has written a story that will have her readers forgetting about the laundry and calling for carry out, rather than cooking dinner.

Hot Target tells the story of movie producer J Mercedes Chadwick whose latest movie; American Hero, is about gay heroes of the World War II era. Many people donít want this story told and when Jane starts receiving hate mail, her studio takes it very seriously and hires Troubleshooters Inc. to provide her with the necessary security, until the movie is in the can. Jane doesnít feel the extra security is necessary but reluctantly agrees when the studio is insistent. She might even be able to use the situation to her advantage. To gain promotion for her movie, she decides upon meeting the handsome Cosmo Ricter, one of her handsome bodyguards.

Cosmo Ricter is a navy SEAL on leave for a month to help his mother who has broken her wrists in a fall. Cosmo finds her the best nursing care and the independent woman soon makes it clear she doesnít want her son hovering around for a month. Cosmo asks his friend Tom Paoletti, owner of Troubleshooters Inc., for an assignment to pass the time until his leave is up. Cosmo wants to be close enough to his mom to check in on her, without cramping her style. He is given the assignment of protecting moviemaker Jane Chadwick. For Cosmo itís hate on first sight upon meeting Jane.

Jane and Cosmo are exact opposites in everyway. They both have ways of hiding from the outside world and as they get to know each other over the next few days, the masks come off and they learn to respect and even like each other.

Janeís studio is taking the threats to her project so seriously that FBI detective Jules Cassidy is also brought in on the case, to help in the investigation of the death threats. Readers of Ms Brockmannís previous book, will be well acquainted with Jules Cassidy, as he is a popular character; Alyssa Lockís former partner. When Jules arrives in Hollywood, he has issues of his own to deal with, most importantly the appearance of a former lover and the introduction to a potential new one.

As readers of Ms Brockmanís previous work will know, her trademark is to create an ensemble cast and tell many stories in each book. She has used that formula again with great success in Hot Target. Both Jane and Cosmo are complex characters that are much more than they at first appear to be. As Ms Brockmann removes the layers of mask they have built around themselves, the reader begins to warm up to the characters and love them for who they truly are.

While Jane and Cosmo are the main characters in Hot Target I found it was secondary character Jules Cassidy, whose story was of the most interesting to me in this book. He has been a major character in several previous books and I applauded Ms Brockmann for having the courage to feature him in such a prominent way in this story. Her risk seems to have been rewarded, as most readerís response to Jules has been very positive. My only complaint is that Jules doesnít find his happily ever after at the bookís conclusion. I hope that Ms Brockmann will give him that in a future installment of her compelling series.

With compelling characters and an action packed story line Hot Target proves to be right on target and another shining example of just why Ms Brockmann has become one of the premier authors writing today.

On a side note for those readers who love to read book dedications, Ms Brockmannís heartfelt message to her son will leave you in tears. So be prepared. Now I am anxiously awaiting Max and Ginaís story in the upcoming Breaking Point.

Reviewed in February 2005 by Barbara.

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