Dark of Night Discussion

Thursday, January 29, 2009
Who's finished reading Suzanne Brockmann’s book, Dark of Night, yet? I have, I have! And my initial reaction is…

If there had NOT been thirteen books in the series leading up to this story and DON was merely a stand alone novel where no one had ever read about any of the characters before, it would be an awesome book. There’s some kick-butt action, witty dialogue, wonderful super-spy intrigue, and all sorts of romance going on everywhere.

Yet, for a Team Decker/Sophia fan like me, there was, of course, plenty of disappointment. They obviously did not get together for a happily ever after. By the end of this book, though, I was glad they didn’t because the characters they were back in Flashpoint when they met are not the same people they are all these books later in Dark of Night.

Have you ever seen one of those pictures or videos where someone pastes, like, a punk rockers head on the body of a soccer player on top of the legs of a business man in a suit so they end up with a really funny, mixed-up person (yeah, I’m sure you have)? Well, that’s kind of what it felt like in this book. To have Tracy end up with Decker and Sophia end up with Dave, it was like Brockmann had to rearrange the characters and put some of Sophia’s personality into Tracy’s body and some of Decker into Dave’s body.

I’ll give one example of each instance (though there are plenty), and then shut up about that because I’m more anxious to hear everyone else’s thoughts on the matter. Here goes. In previous books, you’ll notice Sophia was always the uber-organized receptionist, and in Flashpoint, she’s the one that went after Decker on their first encounter, not giving in until she had him where she wanted him. In this book, Tracy’s no longer the clumsy screw-up receptionist but the uber-organized one and she’s the one that pushes and prods Decker until she gets him where she wants him.

On the man front, it’s always been Dave that’s opened up to Sophia about himself, being all honest and sincere, and Decker is the one that says nothing to anyone about ANY of his feelings. But in DON, Dave buttons up so much more and Deck spills out his entire life like he’s suddenly sprung a leak in him.

To me, it just felt so odd to see everyone this different. I know Tracy had been reading a bunch of self-help books, straightening her life out, and Decker had some help learning to open up because of Dr. Jo, but man, they all just changed so quickly, they seemed like totally different people to me. Or maybe I’m just over-analyzing because I’ve been way-too focused on reading every little thing Decker and Sophia did in the past few books. I have no idea.

One last issue I found to be strange was the plot. I felt a big sense of author intrusion there, like, Brockmann, not the characters, was controlling the story. She purposely kept Sophia and Decker apart for about nine-tenths of the book so these other characters could insert themselves into being their main love interests. It was like Brockmann knew she couldn’t let Sophia and Decker anywhere near each other or their real characters would emerge and they’d end up together.

But… those are just my initial thoughts. It was a good read, Brockmann remains to be one of my biggest writing heroes, and I did enjoy seeing Decker end up happy and satisfied. Brockmann was able to get me into his romance with Tracy. I didn’t exactly skip over Sophia and Dave’s story completely, but I did read a bit faster through their scenes because they weren’t as earth-shattering for me. But that’s just me.

Now, what is everyone else’s opinions, and remember, your opinion is just that, an opinion. There’s no right or wrong answer, and because of that I’m certainly not going to argue with anyone. I’m just genuinely interested to see how others who’ve followed the Troubleshooters series liked the story.


  1. That’s a nice analogy.

    The romances in the book didn’t really work for me. I think turning Dave into SuperDave, ultimate action hero, had a lot to do with it. And Sophia was no longer the smart, think-on-her-feet survivor we met in Flashpoint, but a selfish wimp.

    Though I really like both characters individually, I just didn’t feel any romantic sparks between Decker & Tracy. I find it difficult to believe they fell in love in 4 days.

    I did enjoy some of the Nash & Tess parts, but thought having Nash — in addition to about every other character — constantly singing Dave’s praises was too much.

    Overall, I just felt like the characters in DON were pod people walking around the names of characters I used to know.

    The thing is, if she hadn’t spent so much time in the previous books convincing me that Decker had deep feelings for Sophia (and convincing Nash, Tom, Tess, Dr Jo, and Tracy, too) than I could have maybe enjoyed the “new” couples. But she wanted her big surprise twist.

    I know many readers loved the book. I just don’t feel it fits with the rest of the series. The Decker and Sophia story I had anticipated — and that I had thought she was writing — is still the story I would have preferred to have.

  2. I found DON a bit disappointing. Not that I didn't read it in one day, of course. But I didn't quite buy the swiftness of the Tracy/Decker romance. And the "I love you" scene between them? Um, no. I don't believe Decker was there yet. I also don't think the limited sessions between Dr. Jo and Deck could have changed him so dramatically, so quickly. And, by the way, no Izzy? Not so much fun.

    As for what comes next? Who's left? SB created a world so fully populated with great characters and plots, but DON had a sense of impending closure, pulling in all (almost all) the characters. Are we left with Gillman and J-Lo yet to find their HEA? Or perhaps Koehl? I'm still game to find out.

  3. I was a Decker/Sophia fan and was disappointed that they were not going to end up together. With that said, by the end of this book, I wanted Sophia nowhere near Decker. I honestly dont even see what Dave loves about her. And Dave is whole other story. He couldn't win her love by being Dave but by being Decker-like. Although I was told several times that Dave is James Bond and there was an attempt to show he was a badass, I wondered how he could have hid this side of him for 3 books.

    I was Ok with Decker/Tracy. Honestly I had to be. I wanted Decker happy so I did my best to buy into them. But the ILY after 24 hours just didnt work for me. There was not enough time for his head to get into that. Now the guy hasnt had sex in years, maybe he's mistaken. But is that the way I want to walk away from an HEA? Thinking that poor guy is just happy he got some.

    Nash/Tess was the highlight of the book. But the downplay of the Nash/Decker relationship bothered me. Apparently Nash and Dave are BFF's but Nash doesnt know anything about Decker.

    There is no real backstory for Decker. (and when you have all those characters there is no time). I dont know if he has any family living. (I really dont remember that being mentioned in previous books). He was a SEAL for 12 years and yet has no friends except one guy from the Airforce that he knew when he was 12. And apparently Nash knows nothing about him.

    The 'discussion' with Sophia didnt tell me why she 'thought' (and I thought, and Tom, Nash, Tess, Tracy, Dave thought) she loved him for all those years. There was no explanation. It all boiled down to the bj that happened 5 years ago. I find it hard to believe that Decker would let that go on and on and on for all those years, while working with her when he never even liked her.

    I just feel like the characters overall were not flushed out after all those years of buildup. And what you did find out about them went against everything you read or other characters they saw everyday thought of them.

    After all that, I agree, had this been a standalone, I would have like this book immensely. But its not. I know what I read before.

  4. It's called reviso-personadectomy. ;-P

  5. After reading all those glowing reviews from Dave and Sophia fans, it is nice to finally see one from a Decker and Sophia fan.

    I, too, was a Decker and Sophia fan and was disappointed when I found out the pairings of DON. That said, I have to say I did like Decker and Tracy in this book. I think their exchanges were funny and I think they worked well together. But, that could also be because they are not the same people we were first introduced to in previous books.

    Two people I previously liked, Dave and Sophia, I really did not like in this book. I found them boring and too sappy. I did read their scenes quickly. And, I still feel that Sophia settled for second best. All of a sudden, after all these years of claiming to love Decker, a ligtbulb goes off, and she realizes "Oh, no I really love safe, boring Dave." I can see Sophia at the office watching Tracy with Decker and saying to herself "That SHOULD have been me." "But, oh well, I guess I'll stick with good, ol' safe Dave - especially since I'm pregnant with his child.

    I also agree that there was author intrusion. If Decker and Sophia had their conversation earlier in the story, we would all want them together. Also, I think his relationship with Tracy would seem more like a rebound.

    I don't know if I was really satisfied with Decker and Sophia's conversation. I don't really think it answered a lot of questions and I think she tried to evoke a bittersweet spin to their story - like, maybe in another place or time...
    I think the only feelings she evoked was bitterness in disgruntled Decker and Sophia fans of what their story could have been.

  6. Hi...I agree with all of you. I have to say after all this time and waiting for all the frustration to come to an euphoric end has left me enormously disappointed. I still believe that Sophia was warped into some wimpy character in this book, but she really has always proven to be quite strong. The Tracy/Decker pairing did not leave me with such a warm feeling either. The pairings in this book were forced.