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Into the Fire    by Suzanne Brockmann order for
Into the Fire
by Suzanne Brockmann
Order:  USA  Can
Ballantine, 2008 (2008)
Hardcover, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

Ever since the brutal death of his wife Angelina in a Troubleshooters op gone horribly wrong, Vinh Murphy has been an emotional mess. Not even the intervention of best friend Hannah Whitfield slows his years-long path to self-destruction. When Vinh finally decides to clean up his act, Hannah is right there to help him. She becomes his staunchest advocate when the FBI tags Vinh as their prime suspect in the murder of Tim Ebersole, leader of the Neo Nazi group responsible for Angelina's death. While Hannah's faith in Vinh's innocence is absolute, Vinh isn't as certain. His various addictions have left him with little memory of his actions over the past few months.

Determined to prove his innocence, Vinh and Hannah go on the run, forced to stay one step ahead of the FBI, as well as Vinh's former Troubleshooter colleagues, many of whom have joined together to track down Vinh and help him prove his innocence.

Brockmann's last few Troubleshooter instalments have lacked the depth of plot and character that elevated them into one of the most popular romantic suspense series around. With Into the Fire, she's redeemed herself, but only to a certain degree. The author once again trots out many of the characters from her twelve previous novels, whether in a very minor capacity or in meatier secondary roles. As a veteran of the series, I found keeping track of everyone a chore - new readers will likely find it impossible to sort through Brockmann's merry-go-round casting call. She does however waste little time in setting the stage for an exciting plot line involving the continued threat from Ebersole's group. Unfortunately, though, the action is quickly mired down by Vinh and Hannah's often long-winded, flashback-laden road to recovery and love.

Far more intriguing are the various sub-plots introduced, particularly the one involving returning characters Larry Decker, Sophia Ghafari, James Nash and Dave Malkoff as each faces mandatory interviews with a psychologist after it becomes clear that they're suffering symptoms of long suppressed PST dating back to Angelina's murder. These interviews are well conceived and insightful and the plot twists that spin forth eventually culminate into a shocker of an ending that will leave readers begging for the next instalment in the Troubleshooters series.

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