Night Watch
by Suzanne Brockmann, contemporary (2003)
Silhouette Intimate Moments, $4.75, ISBN 0-373-27313-4

I have enjoyed Suzanne Brockmann's Tall, Dark & Dangerous series in the past and have mixed reactions to her full-length You Like Navy SEALs? How Nice - I Have Bigger Navy SEALs For You! series. However, Night Watch is a underdeveloped story that never feels as if it's anything more than half a story. Underwritten characters, underwritten plot, and worst of all, an underdeveloped love triangle. Love triangles need a lot of time and space to be developed in order for a reader to feel sympathetic to all three parties involved. Why do you think soap operas go on forever, or at least until cancellation strikes hard?

Much has been made about Wes Skelly being in love with the very married Lana Quinn, the wife of his best friend, that best friend also being a cheating bastard. Lana's sister Amber Tierney is a popular actress that's being stalked, so Wes decides to help Amber out on a favor. (Amber's the kind of high profile heroine that is found only in romance novels: no bodyguard, doesn't want one, doesn't care, and doesn't have insurance people to force a bodyguard on her.) Before Wes goes to save a stupid actress from herself, he has time to go on a blind date with Brittany Evans, the sister-in-law of Melody Jones (the nincompoop heroine of Everyday, Average Jones). Wes bonds with Britt's adopted kid Andy, dates Britt, and in the course of a few weeks, decides that he loves Britt instead of Lana whom he has pined for years.

Excuse me if I find that a little hard to swallow. A man that miraculously justifies that he doesn't love Lana all along after being confronted by a deus ex machina plot resolution where Lana's husband is concerned - no thanks, this book is too short and too underwritten to be convincing in any way. Britt is a tedious heroine. If she's not getting jealous over Lana, she's striving to be the nurturer of the year - she's a stereotype, an amalgamation of the ever popular "Mother" and "Precious" archetypes.

Is this book entertaining? It's readable in a low-brow, let's-drop-all-discrimination way. But the story reads like a first draft reject of a Troubleshooter book with little emotional development to make the characters in any way two-dimensional. Compared to the author's hard-hitting earlier efforts like It Came Upon A Midnight Clear, the lackluster and mechanical Night Watch is throwaway fluff.

Rating: 72

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