The Defiant Hero
by Suzanne Brockmann, contemporary (2001)
Ivy, $6.50, ISBN 0-8041-1953-8

Margaret Moore's daughter Amy and her mother Eve are kidnapped by the Kazbekistani Extremists. Instead of telling the K-stani Extremists how high on the lame-o-meter charts their name is (you don't see the IRA calling themselves Irish Militia, do you?), she decides to obey their orders and take the US K-stan Embassy hostage. But that woman imagines she's smart when she asks an old flame, Lt John Nilsson to come negotiate with her and hopefully, help her.

That's the main premise of this busy novel. I wouldn't go as far as to say that The Defiant Hero is Hollywood action material, because I doubt even the hardened macho men could stand Meg's whinings. Likewise, I find myself waiting for the party to start and the story to grab me. When I close the book, I'm still waiting for the party to start.

Part of the problem with this story is that it is tired, period. Meg is a stereotype - married to a man ten years her senior because she didn't know better and he was charming, and he turned out to be a cheating, lying bastard. Surprise. She wants to sleep with Nils after her then husband mocked her and challenged her to, and she ended up weeping over Nils' manly shoulders. In fact, Meg spends most of her time trying to stand up for herself, only to collapse in tears or close to in Nils' arms. Nice rescue fantasy, I'm sure, but it gets tedious after a while.

The terrorist action is nice, but really, I've read it before. In this author's Navy SEAL categories. Sure, here she is allowed to let loose and add in a few extra fuck you's here and there, but she is still retreading the road she herself paved. The romance between Nils and Meg is completely overshadowed by Meg's save-me-save-my-family whine-o-rama and Nils attempt to rise above being a pale shadow of Ms Brockmann's glory Navy SEAL heroes, but no dice there, honey.

The only moment I am hooked is when Eve tells of her childhood romance with Ralph, a man she never got even to first base with, but one she remembers all her life. Now, if she is the main star of this story (if Ms Brockmann tells Eve's story instead of rehashing her Navy SEAL repertoire), The Defiant Hero may be worth something substantial.

Alas, no. The Defiant Hero is a tepid rehash of the Brockmann Glory. This effort sees the author resting her laurels and dishing out the same old stuff she has dished in her previous books, only of course, this time she gets to add in macho mentalk and lots more pages of Uncle Sam lording it over backward, pathetic Third World buffoons. Bah.

Will I be reading the next book? The same old characters pop up again, and while I do love that computer nerd fellow, the next book is going to focus on Alyssa Locke and Roger "Sam" Starrett. Locke is an icy woman who is called "bitch" by Starrett because of it. Their first love scene ends with Locke blaming herself and Starrett rubbing it to her ("We fucked, honey! Nya nya nya nya!"). When Starrett wonders why that woman is so touchy, I wonder, "Could it be because you are a jackass?"

I can't wait for their story. It can either be bliss (I always love jerk emasculation stories) or it can raise my blood pressure up the roof should this author justifies sexual harassment as norm instead of punishing Sam. Either way, it'll be interesting to see what happens.

Back to The Defiant Hero, I'll just give it a Mediocre Brockmann-lite stamp. If this is a movie, it is more a Jerry Bruckheimer's all flashy-pyrotechnics-no-substance stuff than anything else.

Rating: 69

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