Holy Cow! Has Brockmann Done It Now?

First, you’ll find no real Dark of Night spoilers here, though you should stop reading now if you truly don’t want to know anything.  And, just to get it on the table, I know what happens in the book since I was sent an early copy.

And I loved it.  Seriously.

Truth is, I’ve been out of the Suzanne Brockmann loop for a while.  A few books ago I was s-o-o-o-o totally turned off by those manly men running around pointlessly in the woods while talking like teenagers that I checked out for a while.  Then, I tried again with Into the Fire and it just failed to grab me.

I was in a definite – and, for all I knew, permanent – Brockmann lull.

Then this one arrived in the mail.  With no other books really sounding the “read me” alarm, I sat down to read it…and zap!  For this reader, anyway, the old Brockmann magic was back again.  Seriously.

In case you haven’t been following the saga, a whole lot of readers are mighty pissed at Brockmann right now.  Based on spoilers that have leaked out, they’re expressing themselves at Amazon and in multiple threads at AAR.   They think – and I’m vastly simplifying things here – that Brockmann has betrayed the trust of her readers by…well, taking things in a different direction then the author led them to expect.

Color me clueless because I just didn’t anticipate that kind of reaction from so many readers.  Seriously.   Hey, I think I’m a smart woman (I graduated from college and everything), but considering my Brockmann break, I didn’t share the heavy investment many obviously feel in the continuing couple storyline that may – or may not – be the centerpiece here.  To further explain my bafflement, this couple – let’s call them Dophia and Secker – never really caught my imagination the way that Max and Gina did.   (Me love Max.  Me didn’t love Max’s book.)

So, imagine my surprised pleasure when almost from the very first page I got caught up in the kind of terrific storytelling that Brockmann – when she is on her game – does so very well.  I just went with it and let the author take me where she would.  And I loved it.  Seriously.

But, undeniably, based on all that early reader outrage, those who make up Brockmann’s core audience probably aren’t going to see it that way.  Which makes me wonder – and not for the first time – just what authors who extend storylines over multiple books owe their readers.  Whatever kind of “suspense” angle the publisher tries to put on it, when romance authors reach the level of success that Brockmann has, the truth is that she still writes…well, romance. When readers pick up a book by Brockmann, they know they are guaranteed a main couple HEA and – reasonably enough – that the author’s patented extended couple storylines will also end happily.  That’s the deal and both the writer and her readers know it.

But I can’t escape the fact that this book worked for me – far better than anything I’ve read by the author in the last four or five years.  And, considering that I fully believed Brockmann had well and truly dropped off my list, that is saying something.

Still, there’s no getting around the harsh truth that expectations – especially when nurtured by the author over multiple books – can be a bitch.  And Brockmann may well be about to find that out.

But I’ll say it again because it bears repeating:  As a reader who approached Dark of Night with few – if any – preconceptions, I found it to be a great ride.  Seriously.

-Sandy AAR

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80 Responses to “Holy Cow! Has Brockmann Done It Now?”

  1. SandyC says:

    I’ve been very vocal about my opinion on this subject elsewhere. ;) I never did see Decker and Sophia together. What did everyone else base SoDeck on? One encounter in a foreign country in which Sophia was fighting for her life? Love is based on affection, shared experiences, and a lot of talking. When did Decker and Sophia ever talk? They spent as much time as possible avoiding each other and being uncomfortable. That doesn’t sell me on the “love fated in the stars” idea at all.

    I love Dave, and I have ever since “ITS”. He was easily overlooked, but he definitely has all the qualities of any good hero. I love it that he entered the fray between Decker and Nash, because he couldn’t stand to see Sophia get hurt. He couldn’t choose not to protect her. His appeal is understated, but he’s far from being a wimp, and I think this will become even more clear in DON. He and Sophia had sexual tension in the cave during “ITS”, so this is not coming from completely out of the blue.

    I admit that I never saw the Decker/Tracy pairing, but I’m interested to see how that will work. If anyone can pull that off, I’m sure that Suz can do it.

    I also don’t think it’s necessary for a POV character to only have sex with the person they’re going to have their HEA with. In the TS world as in the real world, people make mistakes, and these characters need to do that and then grow into their full potential. I can’t wait to read DON, and I’m sorry that so many of you are feeling betrayed. To me, the result was obvious, and has been for quite some time.

  2. Janet W says:

    I flat out stole this list from another post on another bulletin board where a lively discussion is raging about DON. This is in response to Sandy C’s Question: “What did everyone else base SoDeck on?” Easy answer: we based it on Suz’s Troubleshooters Guide and the many incidents (too many to list, where there was tension/definite interest between Sophia and Decker). What I can’t understand is how this question can continue to be asked: look at the list of couples and relationships that Suz provided to her readers — how were they expected to react? What relationships would they obviously be anticipating?

    And in regards to your last paragraph, maybe — but this is Romance and that has to be handled pretty carefully, imo. Clearly a gal who has made the rounds of a group of people, that’s in most people’s eyes, somewhat unromantic … but then I wonder how all these couples were cobbled together given our early intros to everyone.

    So, below: the info most of us were working from –

    Here is the info from Suz’s Troubleshooters Guide:

    Who is your favorite secondary
    (subplot) couple?
    Max and Gina (22%)
    Jones and Molly (20%)
    Jules and Robin (18%)
    Sam and Alyssa (17%)
    Decker and Sophia (11%)
    David and Mallory (7%)
    Ihbraham and Mary Lou (1%)
    (2826 total votes)

    This series includes many
    multi-book story arcs—stories
    like that of Sam and Alyssa,
    that continued over the course
    of many books. Which story
    arc was your favorite?
    Sam and Alyssa (45%)
    Max and Gina (22%)
    Jules and Robin/Adam/??? (11%)
    Tom and Kelly (8%)
    Molly and Jones (8%)
    Sophia and Decker (4%)
    (2823 total votes)

    Which character do you
    most want to see more of
    in future books? (listed
    in alphabetical order)
    Jules Cassidy (49%)
    Larry Decker (18%)
    Sophia Ghaffari (8%)
    Jay Lopez (6%)
    Other (4%)
    Vinh Murphy (3%)
    Izzy Zanella (3%)
    Dave Malkoff (1%)
    Danny Gillman (1%)
    Robin Chadwick (1%)
    PJ Prescott (0%)
    (2788 total votes)

  3. library addict says:

    SandyC, you asked “When did Decker and Sophia ever talk?”

    They actually talked quite a lot in Flashpoint. There was the scene in which they were stranded during the sand storm as well as their conversation at the bar in Germany at the end of the book.

    We based “SoDeck” on the many scenes Suz wrote, not just between the two of them, but also the other main characters’ thoughts about them. Their relationship was never based on how they met, but how they have acted and interacted since that time. Suz could have easily written a conversation between them at the FP or HT that made clear they weren‘t ever going to be couple. Instead in the subsequent books she repeatedly states how Sophia is in love with Decker and other characters – including Dave – believe Decker to return her feelings. We never get Decker’s POV to disprove this and his actions seem to indicate it’s not only possible, but probable. So why wouldn’t we have thought all the rest of it was just obstacles they needed to overcome to get their hard-earned HEA?

    Suz herself now says she wanted the ending of DON, and who Sophia ends up with, to be a surprise. If she didn’t mean us to think Sophia and Decker would have a HEA, how is the fact she ends up with Dave supposed to have been a surprise?

    I get that Dave is hero material. I actually quite like Dave and think he’s getting the short straw here. And most Sophia/Decker fans haven’t denied there was the possibility of a Dave & Sophia HEA since ITS. But to say there was never at the very least an equal chance that it would be Sophia & Decker is not a valid argument IMO.

    Since the poll results from Troubleshooters Guide Janet W posted were from early August 2006, I think the more recent results prove quite interesting:
    Who is your favorite secondary (subplot) couple?
    30% (1437) Jones and Molly
    26% (1236) Jules and Robin
    20% (933) Decker and Sophia
    10% (496) Max and Gina
    8% (404) Sam and Alyssa
    2% (117) David and Mallory
    0% (33) Ihbraham and Mary Lou
    4656 voters have answered this question.

    This series includes many multi-book story arcs — stories like that of Sam and Alyssa,
    that continued over the course of many books. Which story arc was your favorite?
    28% (1300) Sam and Alyssa
    24% (1156) Tom and Kelly
    16% (745) Jules and Robin/Adam/???
    13% (630) Sophia and Decker
    11% (531) Max and Gina
    5% (274) Molly and Jones
    4636 voters have answered this question.

    Which character do you most want to see more of in future books?
    38% (1810) Larry Decker
    19% (889) Izzy Zanella
    18% (848) Jules Cassidy
    8% (412) Sophia Ghaffari
    4% (192) Other
    3% (168) Jay Lopez
    2% (127) Dave Malkoff
    1% (69) Robin Chadwick
    1% (59) Vinh Murphy
    1% (49) Danny Gillman
    0% (19) PJ Prescott
    4642 voters have answered this question.

    And as we’ve said, if she had simply left “Sophia & Decker” as an option off in the secondary couple’s category and either left them out or included Dave in the multi-book story category (as she did with Jules & Robin by including Adam)…

    And with the Readers Guide, she could have easily listed Sophia and Decker separately or with Dave instead of continually referring to it as the “Sophia and Decker story arc” the same as she did with every other eventual HEA couple.

    I do have to wonder why she clearly marketed Decker & Sophia as a romantic couple when she apparently never meant to write them a HEA together.

  4. CrankyOtter says:

    This is driving me crazy. Sophia and Deck seemed to have chemistry in Flashpoint. It has been completely missing since then. The poll that everyone takes as god’s own evidence was written in 2004 which was 4 years ago. At that time, it was still possible that Sophia and Deck would end up together, Sophia and Dave were just getting to know each other. To add Sophia and Decker/Dave/Gillman to the poll just would have been stupid. As someone who has read ALL her Q&As since then, the poll is the only place she lists “Deck and Sophia” – who, yes, did (past tense) have a sub-plot relationship in Flahpoint. In all her Q&A’s she’s never once said “Decker and Sophia”. I think that’s telling. And it’s kind of like looking at archeaological evidence that says “we found 95 eagle skeletons after we first found one ptarmigan so clearly ptarmigans were the dominant bird”.

    Since 2004 though, as some of you have said – all of the “of course Deck and Sophia will get togther” words have come from someone’s POV who is NOT Deck or Sophia. From Sophia’s POV, we have Deck dismissing her in ITF, her starting to notice Dave, her telling Dave that Decker was a “safe fantasy” while she got herself sorted out. After ITF there should be no question that Sophia and Deck are out as a couple, although over on the Suz board it seems split about 50/50 from people who cannot/willnot give up their fantasy ending from Flashpoint. Yes, that was really, really hot. But since then? Not so much. There is mounds of interaction showing that Deck and Sophia both are resisting what *everyone else* is expecting. What the initial expectation was has had time and text to show that it has changed. If this outrages you, then it does, but geez, I’d hate to be your kid and actually grow up in your house expected to always be like I was as a toddler, even as a teen.

    Personally, I mostly want their threads to end so we can move on to other characters and not have all the dangling threads. (Jazz anyone?) Though when I asked Suz about why all the dangling threads, she explained that she just thinks of S/D/D/T/N as the “flashpoint arc” not as the various and sundry couple arcs, and my head has felt less cluttered when I think of them that way too. I’m also looking for more hot hot heat like there seemed to be with Deck/Sophia in Flashpoint. If it takes someone else coupling up with them to get the heat, I’ll take it.

    But it kind of confuses me to see people take the basis in flashpoint and a 2004 poll and hold it against several subsequent books where OTHER STUFF has happened and refuse absolutely the possibility that there might be some other outcome. I don’t get it.

  5. DanielleD says:

    Wow, I better get all of these books out of my TBR pile and start reading them.

  6. library addict says:

    CrankyOtter Said: The poll that everyone takes as god’s own evidence was written in 2004 which was 4 years ago. At that time, it was still possible that Sophia and Deck would end up together

    Actually the poll was created in March 2006.

    No, the poll is not the be-all-end-all.

    My point is that Suz marketed Sophia & Decker as a couple when she says she NEVER intended for them to be a couple. So there was no possibility they would end up together. She could have just left them off the poll altogether (there’s no Annebet & Herschel, Tracy, or several other characters). So, why include them as couple? If she hadn’t, none of this would be an issue.

    She knew full well fans would take it as a sign of them getting a HEA. It all goes back to the issue of trust of the author. I feel she was deliberately misleading in order to have her “surprise” twist. So, I no longer feel that trust. You don’t see it that way and I understand and respect that.

    These are just books. There’s no need to make accusations about how we raise our children.

  7. Julie says:

    I haven’t read everyone’s comments, but I have to pipe up and say, as someone who has religiously bought ALL of Suz’s books since I stumbled onto her, I’m not upset over the change in couples. While I liked the idea of Sophia & Deck when we first met them, once she introduced Dave into the mix, I haven’t been as much of a fan. So, I’m not ready to scream over whether or not she changed her mind mid-stride. If she did, well, writer’s perogative, I guess. It doesn’t bother me and I’m not sure why it’s bugging everyone else so badly. It’s a book. Suz writes a lot of what she writes with some basis in reality and let’s face it, what we’re seeing with the Deck/Sophia/Dave story arc fits with real life. It’s not that big a deal. Enjoy or don’t enjoy what she writes. It’s your choice. Fact is, whoever she loses over this bruhaha, she’ll probably more than make up for in new fans.

  8. Scout says:

    Julie,

    You haven’t read the comments but yet you wonder why we are so upset?? Why don’t you try reading the posts first, that might help you out a bit.

    And there are very few readers who read romance novels because they want them to fit with ‘real life’ Great for you that the book is meeting the requirements of what YOU like to read, the fact is, for the rest of us it doesn’t.

  9. maggie b. says:

    Julie, I have to envy your life. I honestly don’t know any people like the Troubleshooters and the only characters I’ve read of that even come close to resembling Sophia are Mata Hari and Aline Romanos. Can’t say these characters resemble anything like real life to me ;-)

    Added to the unreality of characters I have to go with Scout on the issue of romance and real life. I read romance opposed to women’s fiction for the specific reason of not wanting to deal with messy relationships. Are they reality? Of course they are. But if we are to buy that two people with extremely time consuming careers (Tom/Kelly, Ken/Savanah, Mike/Joan) can make their relationship work then we should get the rest of the fantasy too. If SB wants to resemble “real life” she needs to start with the divorces. Given that “The CDC said that 43 percent of all first marriages end in divorce within 10 years.” we need to start seeing divorces among the TS squad. That is, if she is going with the reality based model.

    maggie b.

  10. SandyC says:

    I can’t speak for Julie, but there’s fictional “reality” and real reality. Real reality obviously would include divorces, spousal abuse, etc. No, thanks! However, certain fictional realities do work for me – i.e. an HEA isn’t automatically guaranteed just because a POV character had sex with someone for all the wrong reasons. You can’t have character growth if that person doesn’t make any mistakes, after all. Then again, I haven’t been all that invested in the “Flashpoint” arc, although I started seriously rooting for Dave during “Into the Fire”.

    I could better understand this outcry if Suz had killed off Robin at the end of “Force of Nature” and then had Jules find someone new for his HEA. However, Jules and Robin had a true emotional connection. I always thought that was missing between Decker and Sophia.

  11. maggie b. says:

    We’ll have to agree to disagree ;-) I never felt the Jules/Robin connection. During both Hot Target and Forces of Nature Robin spent a lot of his time seriously drunk. I agreed with Mercedes that he was an unsafe person to leave a child with, which to me is not a positive character endorsement. So I never saw the emotional connection you must have seen. Robin was also on the promiscuous side and I never saw the after effects of that addressed either. I just didn’t see them as being that great a couple but that is solely my own .02.

    I get that people make mistakes and I certainly don’t want perfect, virginal h/h’s who make Mother Teresa look bad. But when I watch those mistakes be made, when I am dragged through the mud with them so to speak, I mind them more than in the traditional romance where the accidents and regrets tend to happen off page.

    I also think that the reality issue is a tough one. It’s like the old historical question of accuracy. Should accuracy include smell? Personal hygiene? Mores and custom difficult for a 21st century person to relate to such as slave ownership? With reality a part of me says that if we are going to see unlikely couples hook up having watched them get to the so called HEA with every mistake duly noted shouldn’t we stick with the reality formula through the whole thing and watch them then degenerate to unhappy and divorced? Or do we stick with the reality model only to a certain point and then tack on the even more impossible to believe than usual HEA? This to me is not an issue of one book but of genre standards as a whole. In my own opinion, speaking strictly for myself, the so-called reality model makes the books teeter from unrealistic to ridiculous. It makes the HEA that much harder to believe and look that much more tacked on. But that is just my opinion. Others clearly have a different one.

    maggie b.

  12. Julie says:

    Okay, first of all, I have to apologize to everyone who wrote after me. My post came across as a bit more sarcastic than I intended. I reread it before I posted it, but obviously not from a POV of someone who didn’t know me :)
    My thought was that while some, okay, A LOT, of Suz’s characters are over the top, she does try to throw a dose of reality into her books. I like the difference SandyC mentioned when she said real reality and fictional reality. Have I met anybody like the characters Suz creates? No. Especially men & women of TS, Team 16 and the FBI. However, I think throughout all of her books, she does deal with issues that real people deal with and that’s part of why I like her. Robin’s alcoholism is one of those things. Is it pretty? No. Is it real? Absolutely. Especially for someone young in Hollywood. Does that make him, or any people who really do live that life, any less lovable? Absolutely not. I like that Suz wrote his HEA. I like that he & Jules had that instant connection that she writes for her other characters, but she then made them work for it.
    Romance as a genre is pretty much the “same old, same old”. I hear people, both readers and reviewers alike, complain about that all the time. Like there’s a cookie cutter mold for what romance HAS to be and everybody writes the exact same thing. I think, for me at least, that’s why I don’t like a lot of romance authors out there. My book shelf does have quite a few romance authors on it, but I also have quite a bit that’s not. Suz is a great mix of both romance and non-romance for me.
    As for the Deck/Sophia/Dave/Tracy/Izzy/Eden mess…from everything I’ve read, it seems most people’s problem isn’t that she’s switching from Deck/Sophia to Dave/Sophia, but that she had things outside the book saying Deck/Sophia and inside the books, she’s saying Dave/Sophia. Is that right? If so, I still say my earlier point stands. It’s her books. She can write whatever she wants. Should she have done the polls differently? Yeah. I don’t think anyone can argue about that. How much do you want to bet she won’t be specific like that again? But why let something that’s outside of the book stop you from enjoying what’s IN the book? If you legitimately don’t like the story, that’s fine. You’re allowed to not like it. It’s your money to spend. I haven’t liked everything Suz’s written either. To this day, I still don’t understand why we were supposed to care about Ric & Annie, but that’s my problem. But if the only reason you dislike the D/S/D/T/I/E mess is b/c of what was said outside of the book, I don’t understand. Again, its your choice to like or dislike whatever you want. It’s just my opinion.
    Back to the reality issue…I’m staring at the last paragraph of Maggie’s post and have to comment on it. Yes, inserting reality into books is a tough issue. I definitely agree. But I think it’s important to a point. Maybe I’m just different. I like seeing the struggles people go through to become the person they are today. One of my favorite fairy tales is Cinderella. But part of why I like Cinderella so much is that I can see the “slave” she was before. Cinderella wouldn’t be half the story it is w/o seeing her life before. I think that’s why Robin/Jules, Sam/Alyssa, Max/Gina, et al, work so well for me. The whole idea behind the romance novel is “I was a mess before I met you, but (to quote Jerry McGuire) you complete me. You make me a better person than I ever could’ve been w/o you.” That includes Robin’s alcoholism, Kelly’s divorce, Nils sleeping w/ married women, Sam making a huge mess of his first marriage, etc.
    Okay, now I am going to get off my soapbox. I hope everyone had/has a great holiday!
    Julie

  13. Leigh says:

    Wow, I can’t even figure out how to start typing what I want to say. I guess for lack of a better word I am amazed when people say that SB’s writes real life in rebuttal to other poster’s concerns about the Dave/Sophia pair up. Just addressing the Sophia/Decker/Dave issue and not percentage of divorces, broken romances etc, to me it doesn’t come close to real life. One, in real life, Decker or Sophia would have addressed the issue of the bj long before five years. If they had been unable to address the issue then one of them would have left. Two, no manager waits three years before bringing in a grief counselor. Three, I doubt very seriously that most men would still be pushing the woman they loved towards another man for five years. Four, I don’t know any CIA agents, however, I doubt that the character Dave would pass the pyschological testing. Low self esteem, inability to form long term relationships, are just a few things that come to mind. You can use the rebuttal that Decker is not much healthier and I would have to agree based on what we know right now. The thing is that we haven’t gotten Decker’s point of view. So, unrealistic situation of how Sophia & Decker met, unrealistic characterization of a CIA agent, unrealistic work environment (Sophia/Decker not talking, and Tom not taking care of his people for three years), but we have to throw in realistic view point that not all romances work out? Sorry, this was just done for effect, and not realism. It was a plot devise.

  14. Leigh says:

    Julie, you stated: But why let something that’s outside of the book stop you from enjoying what’s IN the book?

    I think that all of us have stated this 100 different ways. The hero and heroine are not interchangeable to us. Maybe we read differently then you do. You liked Robin & Jules. I am not sure if you really got attached to Robin from the beginning. But if you did, I think that you would have a problem if out of the blue, SB decided to bring Adam back into the picture, and Jules and Adam became a couple.

    So the polls are just an external piece of this whole process. We (or I) was lead to believe by the dialogue, the tension between Decker/Sophia, the jealousy that Decker showed, the concern he showed that they were a couple. We believed this for five years. I know that other people have mentioned it too, but five years it a lot different than a book with two men vying for the same heroine’s love. I personally continued to read stories that I wasn’t really interested in for just a glimpse of Decker & Sophia story arc. And after four years, we get a wake up call that it might not be Sophia & Decker but Sophia & Dave. So, we all a little worried, but we pour over back over all the books, looking for hints, and we look at SB polls & reader’s information and we think, no she just doing what she did before with Sam & Alyssa & Max & Gina.

    I don’t know if was intentional or not, but Ms. Brockmann underwrote Dave & Sophia relationship. Not until four years after they were introduced did most of realize that it was a triangle.

    I feel that I was mislead by omission & by the polls and readers guides, and so SB could have a big controversy or surprise ending. I have no interest at all in reading about Sophia & Dave.

  15. maggie b. says:

    Leigh, really great post. You said a lot of what I was trying to say and bumbled. Your insight re Dave I think is especially pertinent. I don’t know any CIA operatives but I have read biographies enough to know that he does not meet the description of any of them I have ever read. I can remember reading Flashpoint and thinking “Do these people WANT to get caught? None of them are doing the job they went to that country to do (I think Tess did on the day Murphy was hurt but that was one day). The bulk of their time was spent in suspicious meetings with suspicious people. It was like a bad spy thriller, for sure not a realistic look at that particular kind of job (which sounds like extreme amounts of boredom broken up by terrifying moments of action).

    I also think the relationships don’t touch on reality. It is not that I am such a cynic that I think four out of ten romances should end in a divorce — it is that SB’s characters often stand the LEAST chance of any romance characters I’ve read making a relationship work. If nothing else they make the extreme scrutiny and pressure Hollywood stars use as an excuse for their divorces seem mild. Bi-coastal relationships??? With one of them having a job where he can be sent off on a moment’s notice??? Pressure anyone?

    Robin is like a male Lindsay Lohan so I can believe in the reality of him but LL isn’t working much right now. If even Tinsel Town thinks she is too unhealthy/in the wrong place to work I don’t think that is a rousing endorsement of where she is in life. I could see Robin existing — I can’t see him making work, relationship and recovery all work. And AA advises you don’t get involved with anyone till you are at least two years sober. That Jules and Robin worked for Julie I can respect. I get that. I can even understand it — hey, Bella and Edward from Twilight worked for me and they were a vampire and an overly dramatic teenage girl. But I wouldn’t have excused all their relationship problems by calling it fictional reality ;-) and I don’t think it works in this case either. Again, just my opinion so I totally get it if others don’t agree.

    In the end I just can’t see the “reality” excuse for what SB does. It’s a gimmick. It’s a well done gimmick and she writes a really fun, unrealistic thriller that just sucks you in and keeps you reading in spite of it. But she doesn’t write “real”.

    Of course that’s just the opinion of one former fan ;-)

    maggie b.

  16. Julie says:

    Wow, this is becoming way more serious than I thought it was or meant it to be :) But it’s still fun to talk to people about stuff like this.
    Leigh, I get what you’re all saying about the h/h being unchangeable. And, for me, if it was within 1 book, I would agree completely. But since it’s been stretched out over 5 years, it doesn’t bother me. Yes, 5 years is a bit extreme, but people change over time. You realize your expectations might not be realistic and that what is right for you has actually been staring you in the face but you never saw it. That’s how I look at the D/S/D triangle. I think as long as Suz does a good job of explaining it in DON and gives all 3 of them closure, that I’ll continue to be okay with it. But we’re all entitled to our own opinions and what works for one of us may not work for somebody else. Nothing wrong with that. That’s what allows so many authors to be successful.
    As for the reality portion of my post…I stink at getting my point across when I’m not talking directly to someone. I’m not a writer :) I’m going to try one more time to get it across. If I can’t, does anybody really care what I think? ;) I’m not saying Suz writes 100% reality, fictional or otherwise. What I’m saying is, I think she adds elements of reality to her writing and that’s what makes it work for me. Yes, Robin is a mess. He’s a recovering alcoholic. But what makes Robin okay for me is he’s a genuinely nice person who really wants to make something of his life. He wants to make Jules happy. That’s the beauty of reading a book. You can see all sides of a person from that “all-knowing, omniscient” POV. I thought Suz did a good job of redeeming him by showing other sides of him. Having said that, would I personally marry a recovering alcoholic? Doubtful. The reality in this storyline is Robin’s alcoholism. The “non-reality”, for lack of a better term, of the story is that he was ready to be a responsible adult that quickly.
    Oh, and one last comment before I sign off:
    Leigh, you mentioned in your post that “You (me) liked Robin & Jules. I am not sure if you really got attached to Robin from the beginning. But if you did, I think that you would have a problem if out of the blue, SB decided to bring Adam back into the picture, and Jules and Adam became a couple.”
    Yes, you’re right. I would have a problem if Suz brought Adam back into the picture. Now. With the way it stands today. (w/ R&J being married.) Since I didn’t get attached to the idea of Robin & Jules until FON, if Suz found a way to redeem Adam before that, I would’ve been okay with it either way. Relating that back to the D/S/D storyline, Suz never explicitly stated, at least not that I can remember, in any book, that Deck & Sophia were a couple. Yes, she alluded to them wanting to get together, but never once (again, not that I can remember) did they have a conversation about anything resembling a relationship on any level, even friendship. They talked to Dave about it. IMO, Suz started building that strong friendship between Sophia & Dave several books ago. Which goes back to my comment above that sometimes you just don’t know that what’s staring you in the face is the best thing you could ever ask for.
    I hope that clears up my thoughts. If not, like I said, nobody really cares what I think anyway, right? :) We’ll just have to agree to disagree, but that’s the beauty of forums like these. We can :)
    Hope everyone has a happy new year!
    Julie

  17. Leigh says:

    Maggie, responding to what you said in your post about SB not writing real. I completely agree. A poster on Amazon (Lauren Sophie) stated: She really does whatever she wants from book to book, often favoring twists and turns and surprises. And that’s fine. I’d call that jarring, while another reader may find it exciting.

    Personally I think SB enjoys the challenge of making a character unlikeable to elicit reader’s reactions, and then she writes it away. You mentioned how she made Sam so unlikeable by being a horrible father who never took care of his baby. Then in his story, he states that Haley fell asleep on his chest most nights while he was home. She made Mary Lou a bigot, and everyone hated her, but then in the next book, it was written away. Same with Robin. One thing that she doesn’t really factor in, is how the vilified first impression lingers. In making the characters larger than life, she makes it impossible for some readers to suspend belief that they have reformed. With Sam bad Dad to good Dad was not that big of a stretch for me. Mary Lou from bigot to non bigot and marrying a person of middle eastern descent was a stretch, but she was a minor character so no big deal. I don’t remember her treating Max the way she did Sam, unless it was his pushing Gina away. But with Robin, she tried to invent him too fast, and it didn’t stick for me. Same with Dave. That first impression stuck, and then she continued to characterized him as a loser with the 38 year old virgin talk with Sophia. So, in one book, he is going from someone with no self esteem, to really only dated and slept with one person, to someone who gets the girl that all the other men have wanted. Because he is nice, and they either talked every day on the telephone or had lunch together.

    For many of us Eden is unreformable. Too many bigger than life problems, like treating sex like a monetary exchange, youth, inability to tell the truth. And I am sure in her story, it will all be explained away. She did this also to Gilman in this last book and again, in his book his behavior will be written away. To me this is not characterization. It is writing the character in the most attention getting way, to exact the maximum emotional response, and then this part of the characterization miraculously disappears. But the reader has to be able to suspend belief in this miracle. And for Dave (like Robin) I am unable to do so.

  18. library addict says:

    After finishing Into the Fire, the friend who got me hooked on the books and I went back and reread all the books with the Flashpoint gang and made a list (yes as corny as that sounds, I’m a list maker :lol: ) of the Decker/Sophia/Dave stuff.

    And, yes, even though there was evidence supporting a Dave & Sophia HEA in ITS and ITF, there was more evidence (or so we thought) to suggest it would be Decker & Sophia from all 4 books featuring these particular characters. And many other scenes that could be interpreted to support either Deck or Dave depending upon how readers interpreted certain “facts.” Even the “clues” in ITS and ITF didn’t rule out that it would be Decker. We felt Suz was just teasing/tormenting us with the kiss between Dave and Sophia and that she and Decker would finally talk and get together in DON. Yes, going back now, knowing it will be Dave, it’s easy to spot the Dave clues were real. But if we didn’t know, I would still think it would be Decker. Because there is ample evidence to support both relationships IN the books.

    Realistically speaking, as others have said, Dave and Sophia don’t have any healthier of a starting point for their relationship than Decker and Sophia. Sophia is feeling sad in the bar at the end of ITF and decides she wants kids. In the prologue for DON, Dave is wondering of Sophia is even thinking about him when they are having sex, or if she is thinking about Decker or Dimitri. How is Dave ever to really believe Sophia loves him for the man he is and not just as a father for her children?

    And for the record, I think Dave deserves better than to be the guy Sophia settled for. I wanted the whole roller coaster ride to HEA-land for him, too. Maybe if Suz had written in the books and *shown* Dave falling for Sophia rather than just telling us he’d been in love with her for years when we finally got his POV in ITS more of us would have believed it was love and not just him idolizing the beautiful friend he thought he never stood a chance with.

    I’m not saying that Suz won’t address these issues in DON. And, as we have repeatedly said, Suz is free to write her books any way she wants to.

    But by going the triangle route (which as Leigh points out many readers didn’t even realize truly WAS a triangle until the end of ITF), Suz had to know she would have readers who would be disappointed with the outcome. And some of those readers would not want to read the book.

    We can argue the “reality” of her fictionalized world until the cows come home, but it’s unfair to say the readers who thought she was writing a Decker & Sophia HEA were stupid or are not entitled to be disappointed. Suz has repeatedly stated she wanted the hero/heroine of DON to be a surprise. In order to surprise her readers she wrote convincing groundwork for it to be Decker & Sophia. How else did she expect anyone to be surprised?

    So yes, we took the poll seriously. It was a “clue.” Turns out it was a totally false “clue,” and I, for one, think it was beneath Suz to do it, but that’s just my opinion. But this isn’t about the poll or the Reader’s Guide, but the books themselves. And some readers dissatisfaction that she chose not to tell the story we’ve thought she was telling since FP. I for one think Sophia and Decker would have made one hell of a good HEA story. One much more original and genre pushing than the heroine realizing she’s in love with her best friend after becoming pregnant. But again, that’s just my opinion. And I realize and respect that not everyone agrees with me.

  19. Leigh says:

    Thanks SandyC & Julie for posting the other viewpoint. I think that you both have articulated your argument well. Not that you are going to change my mind. But I can understand where you are coming from, and I hope that you guys understand the “otherside” too.

    I hope you realize that for the majority of us, we are not quitting her books just because she didn’t write the book that we wanted to read. It is so much more than that. I think to boil it down to the most elemental level “most of us believe that there shouldn’t be any question who the hero & heroine are in a love story”

  20. Julie says:

    Hey Leigh,
    I completely understand your POV, and that of everyone else who feels that way, too, and I respect it 100%. There are authors who, for various reasons, I stopped reading, too. Not every author will work for every person, all the time. I hope you find, or have found, another good author to take Suz’s place. If you do, be sure to pass along the name. I’m sure a lot of people would love to hear who it is :)
    Julie

  21. farmwifetwo says:

    I have difficulty with those like Cranky Otter and other “fan girls” from Suz’s bb – who have posted here – constantly saying “oh, she writes RL”, “oh, she can make you believe anything”.

    Why?? There is never a why??? All there is, is a slap. When I get a “why”, therefore a discussion, I’ll buy into it. Had she put Decker and Sophia together they would argue it the other way and how dare anyone believe Sophia and Dave were going to get together. All b/c the author can do no wrong in their opinion.

    Other’s of us have discussed this book elsewhere and I was impressed unlike the bb and AAR discussion didn’t get cross posted… which reminds me of a bunch of 12yr olds… but anyways… and we realized that after the 4yrs we spent on the bb we were doing a good rendition of “fangirls” ourselves. Buying books that we weren’t re-reading to be part of the “clique”. I love how that’s justified on SB’s bb as the assumption that we have “issues” due to the fall-out… Yes, after the cross-posting I was reading on AAR I thought I’d go and see if our threads got cross-posted too. It can’t be b/c some are disappointed in losing out on their couple of choice and other’s of us haven’t been interested in where the series has been going for a while. That we were on the bb still b/c we wanted to hang out together and now that we have new space… we’re content.

    It’s not romance, it’s not even romantic suspense, it is “woman’s fiction”. If I want “RL” I’ll buy non-fiction or something off of Oprah’s reading list. Romance and Romantic suspense are a light, entertaining read.

    I have no opinions either way about this book, I truly could not care less who ends up with whom. The last book I purchased was ITS and I hated it. There are much better serial killer story-line books out there and not one pretends to be romance, but a mystery with a romance. I don’t do “buddy” books. I don’t do men marrying teenagers for the sake of making certain they have insurance and sleeping with them. How many drunks to we have to have in a series?? How many unplanned pregnancies that we must be married?? How many Democrates when everyone knows the military is Republican?? How many rapes, horrible childhoods, kidnapped and tortured, killed off wives, drunks… do we need to read about??

    I plan on getting it out of the library, reading it, using it for closure, and then I’m done. If she’s going to make a S/A/J/R into a mini-series like JD Robb has… I think I’ll stay with NR…

    S

  22. arrowboxer says:

    farmwifetwo, your post cracked me up. Funny. I think I remember you from Suz BB. All the fun folks left.

    ICAM with your last two paragraphs in particular. I am interested in Decker, but the others (Dave and Sophia)…meh…not really caring for them.

    Tell the folks “hi” for me. :)

    Andrea

  23. Leigh says:

    I think that Farmwife two & Sandy post bring up valid posts that not all posters seem to realize. Many of us are not quitting reading her books just because we didn’t get Decker & Sophia. It has been accumulation of many things. Most we were overlooking because we wanted closure.
    So it not like we are children picking up our toys and going home. I personally had planned on a break after this book. The long waits on open story arc, the books on characters that I wasn’t interested in, the lack of realism in their missions & the youthful dialog all were impacting my enjoyment. And honestly the recurring theme of alcoholism (Tom’s parents? his sister?, Sam’s mother, Mary Lou’s mother, Mary Lou, Mary Lou’s new husband, Murphy, Hannah, Kenny’s father?) was taking a toll too.

    I think Ms Brockmann is a talented author, she just not writing the stories that I want to read anymore.

    I am not saying that what bothers me is a detraction for other individuals. I just know that over the past four or five books, my ability to suspend belief and get lost in the story has been wearing thin. After Force of Nature, I quit buying her books, but continued to read them from the
    library, hoping for a Sophia Decker resolution.

  24. Janet W says:

    After Force of Nature, I quit buying her books, but continued to read them from the library, hoping for a Sophia Decker resolution … comment by Leigh …

    That’s me too: look, Suz when she’s on top of her game is fabulous: I’ll definitely read this book for closure, and the Sam and Alyssa book too … but it will be from the library. I buy very very few hardbacks and well :D

    I think Farmwife made some very straightforward, sensible comments. No one has to agree, but I think the trajectory is a bit different from when we first met Tom Paoletti.

  25. Kathrin says:

    I haven`t read the book yet but from the excerpt on Suz` website and from what I`ve read here I assume that Sophia and Decker are not THE couple in Dark of the Night – and I am VERY happy about that. To tell the truth, I just cannot understand all the people who thought, after the last books, that Decker/Sophia was definitely going to happen. I mean, come on, it was very clear to me at least from “Into the Storm” on that Sophia at least might end up with Dave. Personally, I was hoping for it (but then, I just like the “hopelessly infatuated” type and was hoping for Dave`s HEA). And after the last book, I was REALLY excpeting it. I would have been absolutely disappointed if I had ended up with Sophia/Decker – and a disappointed Dave. I am very much looking forward to my copy of the new Troubleshooter…!!

  26. maggie b. says:

    I think the one good thing coming out of DoN will be that Dave and Sophia will be fading characters. Based on the polls neither of them are very popular even with SB’s “regulars” being the voters. I cannot say how very, very glad I will be to have to deal with Dave on a very limited basis!

    And I too think Farmwife made some very practical and insightful comments. The overabundance of alcoholic characters, the weird situations (and violent situations) and a complaint of my own — the excessively long story arcs — all add up to a not enjoyable read. I will get this one from the library and then I will be done. Everything since ITS has been library reads anyway.

    maggie b.

  27. library addict says:

    AAR Sandy Says: we like to mix things up and let different people review authors, so somebody else (and I don’t honestly know who) will be reviewing DON.

    Just out of curiosity, Sandy, did you feel compelled to write the review since you enjoyed the book so much or did none of the other reviewers get a chance to read it?

  28. Leila says:

    I’ve received an ARC from a bookseller and from my point of view and much to my surprise, this is a solid book. I’m not left with questions and although I learned too many spoilers and was a Decker and Sophia reader, I completely am sold.

    I’ve read some reviews that I agree with to a certain extent although I don’t think DON is predominantly anyone’s book in particular. I would say there is equal time for everyone.

    The book is fast-paced, has a few twists and turns but I am satisfied with the outcome.

    I hope that a lot of readers who are dubious will enjoy the book.

    I enjoy these characters and I’m sorry in a way that their story is finished.

  29. [...] many thoughts running through my mind since then. First off, I can totally understand some of the very positive reviews

  30. ali says:

    Hi All,
    I am a diehard Sophia/Decker fan. I bought the book on the 27th without having looked at any spoilers. I was shocked and so upset once I realized who the couples were I actually felt like crying. I returned the book the next day. I actually read some of the love scenes feeling disturbed instead of happy. I read romance because I like to know my couples, regardless of their struggles, will end with a hea. I also believe that after purchasing the TS series for the past 5 years, Sophia and Deck should have been put together. There were so many frustrating moments for us when Deck was going to approach Sophia and something got in the way. As a fan I buy the books and endure these “almost” moments because I expect (in the romance genre) to have the payoff when they finally come together be huge and make me happy. I am also among those that feel there was evidence on both Decker’s and Sophia’s side that they had strong feelings for each other

    Also, I don’t like Tracy the receptionist with Deck….Why would it be so hard for us to believe that Sophia would be just as open to his wants and needs. The conflict between them is what made us believe they would have a powerful coming together.

    I will say the book was certainly well written (what I read), but I need to have a happy feeling about my couples and I didn’t. I buy all my books because I like to support the authors, but after buying books and investing is sophia/decker for the past five year I feel I was cheated.