Following the base attack by terrorists, Mary Lou Starrett, wife of Team 16 Navy SEAL Sam Starrett, packs up their baby daughter Hayley and heads for Sarasota to stay with her sister. She knows it’s only a matter of time before her unwitting association with one of the terrorists is discovered. It’s now six months later and Sam heads to Florida to see why she hasn’t returned the divorce papers (she initiated) or responded to his phone calls for weeks. Meanwhile, Lieutenant Commander Tom Paoletti, leader of Team 16, is suddenly brought in and held for questioning about the attack. He’s now under suspicion for complicity with the terrorists (as if!). Lastly, Max Bhagat is struggling with his feelings for Gina Vitagliano, the young woman held hostage on that plane that he helped rescue but not before she was seriously injured.
the heart of the story…
There’s a lot going on in this story but at the forefront are Sam Starrett and Alyssa Locke, the FBI sharpshooter who’s the true love of his life. This is their moment and it’s everything I’d hoped it would be and then some. When Sam gets to Florida and finds a gruesome scene at Mary Lou’s home and Hayley missing, it sets off a massive investigation that ties all the other stories into this one. Sam and Alyssa deserved a big story and they got one as they’re forced to work together, well, him more under duress with Alyssa and Max in charge. Tom’s situation continued to worsen but strangely it did more to bring him and fiancée Kelly together than anything he could have done. Max is losing the war of emotions with everything Gina and she’s working hard to make it so. It was oh, so satisfying to see the buttoned up, fearsome and stoic FBI leader be reduced to putty in her hands.
The audio version of this story was absolutely outstanding. I particularly loved her voice for Sam as it was exactly what I’d heard in my own head for him. She delivered a great performance, not only in the characterizations but in telling the story with excitement and edge, bringing a tension-filled story even more to life.
the bottom line…
I first read this story over ten years ago and remember loving it but so much of it felt new and fresh. In keeping with the tradition of the books in this series, there’s also a look back into World War II events and people that were important in Sam’s upbringing. That was a wonderful addition that gave even more flavor and dimension to a man I’d already liked but now admire immensely. This is a gem of a story, one that I had high expectations for that were blown to bits in the very best way. After over 16 hours of listening, I hated seeing it come to an end, as satisfying as that conclusion turned out to be.
- Release Date: May 11, 2006 (originally 2003)
- Series: Troubleshooters #6
- Narrator: Deborah Hazlett
- Audio Length: 16 hours, 54 minutes
- Publisher: Sound Library