Taking the sensitive hero to a whole new level

Not Without Risk - Suzanne Brockmann

Opening Line: “Emily Marshall was in the bathroom. No not the bathroom the head."


Originally published in 1995 this was a pretty good light romantic suspense, nothing remarkable and not one of my favourites but definitely still enjoyable -except maybe for all the crying but I`ll get to that later.

Emily Marshall is a high school teacher in a rougher area of sunny Florida. While on a date with her new wealthy boyfriend she inadvertently discovers that he's quite the entrepreneur; importing and exporting the very drugs that she's seen destroy some of her students. Calling it a night Emily heads to the nearest police station, willing to do anything to keep those drugs from hitting the street.

The police choose to set up a sting, and as much as Emily hates the thought she's going to have to continue to "date" her drug dealing boyfriend for a while. They do however offer up one of their own to protect her, posing as her brother to potentially gain access to the yacht where all the deals seem to be going down. Seems simple enough but that's when things get interesting because wouldn't you just know it Jim Keegan is the officer assigned to go undercover. Jim from seven years ago Jim, Jim that broke her heart, Jim that she's never gotten over.

Detective Keegan is a typical Brockmann hero; all sensitive and tortured, still nursing a broken heart over his sweet Emily and full of remorse over how he left things the morning after they first made love (that was a bad move). He's also hosting some ghosts from the past and doesn't feel that he deserves love, having left Emily to protect her from himself. Initially I liked Jim but about halfway in his character changed and he became so screwed up and emotional that he was just plain embarrassing to read. Brockmann's heroes always cry but Jim managed to take the sensitive man-tears to a whole new level, come to think of it even the bad guy shed a couple within this story.

The suspense is quite good though (a ticking bomb on a boat always assures some fun times) while it does remain more romance than anything else. And the Florida setting was fantastic, a nice bit of escapism (for a snowbird like myself) with loads of action on boats and the clear blue seas of the Gulf of Mexico. Emily plays the bitterness card a little too long for my liking but I guess when your love interest is busy freaking out, running away and crying you've got a right. Cheers