Hot Target (Troubleshooters #8)

Hot Target (Troubleshooters #8) - Suzanne Brockmann It was kind of nice to have a "break" after the intensity of the previous book... This one is set in good ol' Hollywood USA. J (Jane) Mercedes Chadwick is a twentysomething producer who's currently producing a film with a gay storyline based on a true story and real people... and a group calling themselves the Freedom Network, which is really a front for a group of men with lots of guns who have a very narrow view of freedom. And they don't appreciate the son of an uberconservative judge that they idolize being featured as "gay". Enough so that one or more of them is an active threat to Mercedes.Enter Troubleshooters Inc! The studio currently filming Mercedes' picture hires Tom P's firm to provide personal security for Mercedes. But she's got a reputation as A Party Producer, and she's not about to go quietly... Enter Cosmo, the quiet one. He's currently on leave from active SEAL duty; Cosmo's mother fell and broke both her wrists, and he took care of her until she got a bit too active for him; he's now hired nurses to handle her care. But Cosmo is at odds... so he asks Tom for something to do. And Tom assigns him to the team guarding Mercedes, which includes Tess, Nash, Murphy, and more.Mercedes' brother, Robin, is an up-and-coming actor that she's hired to play Hal, the son of the revered judge who's so closeted and confused about his sexuality, it takes a war and an openly gay man (Jack) to bring him out. Which mirrors Robin's real life; he masks his confusion and pain in alcohol and meaningless, mindless sex with lots of women. It's not until Robin meets Jules Cassidy that he realizes that there might be more to his "finding himself". Which gets really confused when Jules' ex, Adam, shows up; turns out Adam realizes that Jules is associated with a production that might just get Adam a plum starring role as Jack and jump start his acting career in L.A. Is Adam only using Jules or does he really want to get back together with him? It's a heartbreak and a half for everyone involved, especially Jules.The Cosmo-Jane (Mercedes) story was refreshing. Sure, these two people have their own issues. Cosmo doesn't usually talk to anyone. But he finds he can talk to Jane. And he can see through the persona that she tries too hard to keep in place - the one that should bring her fame and fortune in the eyes of Hollywood. I like these two together - a lot. I just don't know what will happen when the book fades to black. Seems like her lifestyle is going to demand a lot more of the Mercedes Party Girl persona to keep her on top, especially if this movie is a hit. How does that fit with Cosmo's plan to stay with the SEALs a few more years and then join Troublshooters Inc? But I really appreciated that neither Jane nor Cosmo pulled any BIG MISUNDERSTANDING or threw loads of anger or self-loathing around at the other. I appreciated the maturity of two adults with a mutual attraction figuring it out... navigating the waters, so to speak. It felt very real and mostly drama-free. For a change - hallelujah!The Adam-Jules-Robin triangle is a new one... and it's done well. I didn't sense any real change in Ms. Brockmann's style as she tells the story about confusion, love, identity crisis, betrayal, and more. Because, really, people are people; love is love; and people do strange things to push love away or to try desperately to get it. And that's what we see with Adam, Jules, and Robin.There's a heart-rending twist with Murphy in this story... but I don't want to do spoiler tags. Just that my heart goes out to him. I'm glad that Tom, Kelly, and others were involved and hopefully able to help Murphy to heal in every way that he needs to heal.The spark is still there between Deck and Sophia, who are both inadvertently pulled into this story. It makes me wonder if Brockmann meant for them to become the next Alyssa-Sam storyline - the lovers we pine for her to get together... finally! But it feels all too soon for Sophia, and Deck is obviously not ready to confront his own reality and feelings. So I'm sure it'll pick up in another book.For the lightness of this book, there are sure some rough times in it. And the WWII story isn't told in flashbacks, but rather through the film progression. I enjoyed Jack a lot. And I really liked how he helped Adam, Robin, and Jules. Jack is a great role model for a man who doesn't apologize for who and what he is... he lives his life and takes what he can from it without regret.