Breaking Point (Troubleshooters, #9)

Breaking Point (Troubleshooters, #9) - Suzanne Brockmann This is the book I was waiting for... the story of Max & Gina - finally! The story where, presumably, Max finally gets over his stuff and admits that he can't live without Gina. But also, and almost as importantly, it's the story where, hopefully, Molly and Jones find each other again. And everyone has their HEA.Yeah... or rather, no. It's never that easy, is it?The first third of this book almost made me BONKERS (crazy) with the device of inserting various flashbacks within the current "now" of the story. I understand why Ms. Brockmann chose to tell the story this way, but it made me keep putting down the book; because as much as I wanted to read it, I just wanted to get to the NOW.In the first part of the book, we're led to believe that Gina V has died as part of a car bombing in Hamburg Germany. We're dying just a little inside with Max, as he remembers the past year and a half. At the end of book 6, Max was shot by the terrorist who not only set up Mary Lou Starrett (as she was then) to bring in the very guns used in an assassignation attempt against the president of the United States when he was going to present SEAL Team Sixteen with a special medal, but he also forced Mary Lou and her daughter Hailey (Sam's daughter) into hiding in Florida 6 months later, after that same terrorist had her sister killed. Except it was supposed to be Mary Lou. Sam just happened upon the scene, because he was trying to finalize their divorce; but Sam hadn't heard from Mary Lou in 3 weeks. Enter Max, Alyssa, and Jules... and an FBI team trying to track down Mary Lou and the terrorist.At the end of that whole scene, the blonde, American-born terrorist would have gotten away... except that Max spotted him and shouted. And drew his gun, killing the guy. But not before Max, himself, was shot. So in the flashbacks, we learn that Max almost died - not of the gun wounds, but of the infection and complications surrounding them. Gina was by his side - the very same Gina who was also in Florida. And with whom, Max finally had sex; but Max was still very confused and unsettled. He kept trying to convince himself that he was too old for Gina, being 20 years older. That she'd only convinced herself that she was in love with him because of Max's participation in the horrible event where he negotiated for the hostages aboard the plane that Gina was on when terrorists took it... and gang raped her, brutally. But we all know, and it's reinforced through his flashbacks, that Max is simply afraid. He's afraid to be in love. To love. To possibly lose. His life has been built upon his career... upon going 24/7 and always winning. And he feels as if he failed Gina in the worst of ways.In the midst of his flashbacks, we also learn Gina's POV... and get our first glimpses of Molly. Seems that Gina joined Molly in Africa - Kenya - where they were part of an AIDS group providing medical and other care to the locals. But the local custom of performing female genital mutilation has Molly helping many of the young girls escape to safety. Something that's got the locals riled up. So when a new volunteer shows up, Leslie someone, the girls think that they've inherited a stuffy old English woman. Except that Leslie happens to be none other than... you guessed it, Jones. Three years later. He's altered his appearance a great deal, and he's assumed the name and life of a man who is dead. But it's Jones. And he's come for Molly - but with a plan that means going very slowly over the next several years. It's enough for him to simply be with her again. The war lord who wanted his head and chased him around the world for it is dead.Except that as the story finally opens up to what's what and who's where, we discover that either Gina or Molly is pregnant... Molly and Jones are married... and somehow the girls went to a forger to gain new IDs and passports, etc. Were they kidnapped by the terrorists who died with Gina's identity on them? Who has them? Why? Where? Jules won't leave Max's side, despite seeing posters and ads for the movie that both Adam and Robin are starring in - even half-way around the world. Jules proves himself to be a good friend to not only Gina, but mostly to Max.And so... we have Jones, Molly, Gina, and Max in a no-win situation, holed up on a remote Indonesian island in a house used by its owner to keep kidnapped people for ransom. And oh, BTW, a tank is on its way. The cell towers are all out. And SEAL Team Sixteen and most every other U.S. troop is around the world, trying to stop other terrorist bombings - all part of the plot uncovered with the Hamburg bombing. So the 4 are on their own. And Jones knows too much about the guy coming for them. He begs Max to kill him - the the girls, if necessary - rather than allow the sicko to take them alive. Meanwhile Jules is... where? We don't know, exactly, except that he's seriously wounded.How in the world will this end? ========================I didn't LOVE LOVE this book like I'd imagined I would have. Then again, I couldn't have imagined this story the way the author told it. While I'm not a fan of the initial flashbacks, they definitely brought us up to speed on what had happened to Gina and Max and then Molly and Jones before the Big Event that trapped them all in that house.It sort of felt as if we spent a great deal of time getting through all of that to get to the now - the urgent and immediate. But the truth is, while the flashbacks might seem no more than filler or backstory, they're not. They are PART of the story. The mechanism might initially make them seem less important, but they are as important as any other part of the story.Everyone comes to his or her own breaking point. And they each find out what they're made of. And what they want. And finally, with all the options seemingly limited and pointing to imminent death, everyone is able to finally open up and be honest. To ask for love and to receive love openly and willingly. It's sad that it took so much for them to get there, especially Max. But it was apparently needed. Ironically (or not) it was Jules and Jones who seemed to get through to Max the most; to make him see that it's stupid and silly for him to push Gina away simply because he doesn't know how to love and not lose.This book is more subtle than it seems... it's gentler and calmer, despite the flurry of activity and impending death and doom. There's plenty of action, but the true action takes place in the hearts and minds; that's where the changes happen.When the book is done, I want more. And I'm hoping that somehow, somewhere, I'll get more without all the other drama attached - more of knowing about Molly and Jones now. More about Max and Gina now. I know more about Jules is coming!And Alyssa... God bless her. Even she manages to make a cameo in this book. And it's a doozy. Just what Gina needed.