Ballantine, April 2004, 21.95, 400pp.
Agency computer specialist Tess Bailey helps field agent Jimmy Nash expedite his partner Lawrence Decker from a potentially deadly scene. That night Jimmy and Tess make love, but he leaves for Mexico without looking back. Not long afterward, Jimmy and Deck quit the Agency and when Tess learns she will not get a field job, she leaves too.
Tom Paolitti of Troubleshooters, Inc (see Out Of Control and Gone Too Far) hires Deck and Jimmy. He assigns Deck as the lead with Jimmy and three other people to go into Kazbekistan to retrieve the laptop of a reportedly dead terrorist Sayid. K-Stan has been closed to the West and is the most dangerous pit around, but an earthquake has devastated the capital and western relief workers are in country giving the team needed cover. However, a computer specialist is needed badly and Tess is the only available one. Because of circumstances, Tess and Jimmy are to pose as newlyweds. Since the attraction is great that should look realistic though Jimmy fears his feelings. As the danger mounts, the love between Tess and Jimmy blossoms, but he believes he is not good enough for her.
FLASHPOINT builds up the suspense slowly but grips the reader from start to finish. The key to the tale is that the “good guys” contain distinct characteristics so that the audience can delineate them. The earthquake scenario is realistic (Iran proves that). Though the hero insists too often that he is a bad guy in spite of his actions of doing nice things for innocent people, fans will enjoy this taut tale and hopefully Ms. Brockmann will follow with a romance between Deck and the woman he rescued.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner