Pros: The first half was a delight.
Cons: The second half wasn't.
I absolutely loved the first half of Suzanne Brockmann's Breaking Point. With characters that I "know" from Brockmann's previous novels, I felt right at home, enjoying a wonderful story, told in different timelines. What a shame that the second half of the book was such a disappointment.
In "Over The Edge", we first met Max and Gina. They met each other during a hijacking crisis. Breaking Point starts out four years later, with Max and Gina estranged from each other. But Max has just received word that Gina has been killed in Germany. He rushes off to identify her body, only to discover that it's not her inside the body bag. Now he's on a quest - to find her, to declare his love for her, and to bring her back home.
But this is no mushy love-story. Because Gina, while not lying in that body bag, is in danger. She and her friend Molly have been kidnapped. It seems the kidnappers want something (well, someone), and they've taken the women to use as bargaining chips.
As I said, I loved the first half of this book! We get completely filled in on the events of the past four years, as the story bounces around three different timelines. But don't fret if you haven't read any of the prior books. There's plenty of explanation in this book. We learn all about Gina's recovery from the trauma of the hijacking, and about Max and Gina's relationship. And we understand why, ultimately, she left him and went halfway around the world. At the same time, we follow Gina and Molly in the present day, learning about the events that will lead to their kidnapping, and to Gina's mistakenly being declared dead.
All of that was very exciting to read! I was flipping the pages so fast, to get to the next part of the story. I loved that Max was going around the world to save the love of his life. And I loved the deep friendship between Molly and Gina. You really got a sense that each would die to help the other. Max has his assistant Jules, and Molly's husband Jones with him. As he does in some of Brockmann's other novels, lovable gay Jules provides the comic relief needed when the circumstances are so dire.
So why was the second half such a disappointment? Once Max catches up to Gina, the "rescue mission" fills up the entire second half of the book. It is WAY too long, way too convoluted, and there's way too much silly, nonsensical stuff tossed in at the same time. At one point, the group is holed up in a bunker, surrounded by a very hostile army of people with guns, not to mention the fact that a tank is on its way to destroy the bunker. And, yet, the group spends time complaining about the food in the bunker. Max and Gina have long, drawn out discussions with each other about what went wrong in their relationship. Molly and her husband and are also arguing. I'm sorry, but can't this stuff wait for another time? How about just concentrating on the problem at hand? With all the mindless chit-chat going on, you'd think they were at a beach party rather than in a life-and-death situation.
My other problem with the book is that the two relationships (Gina/Max and Molly/Jones) suffer from such similar problems. Why do we need two relationships where one person is self-conscious about their age differences? Why do we need two relationships where they love each other, but can't seem to see eye-to-eye for various reasons? And in both relationships, people are afraid to say what they're really thinking, thus opportunities to really connect are missed. It's OK to explore these issues in one couple, but I didn't need to read the same stuff over and over in both relationships.
Overall, I enjoyed this book, and still recommend it, especially if you've been following Brockmann's previous books. But it's not her best effort.
Gone Too Far
Over The Edge