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    Review of ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT by Suzanne Brockmann (see her website)

    Ballantine, October 2007

    FBI Agent Jules loves Actor Robin, but he hates it that their work keeps them apart. He's in Washington D.C., fighting crime and making the world safe while Robin is in Boston working on a highly regarded show. But when Robin asks him to marry him (between Jules losing his really bad tacos), Jules is sure they can work things out. Especially as Robin has gone cold-turkey from the drinking that almost destroyed him. Of course keeping Jules's jealosy under control is going to be a problem, considering that Robin is an actor playing a gay man with a whole string of lovers.

    Reporter Will Schroeder doesn't think two men marrying each other is news. After all, they live in Boston--which is ground zero for gay marriage. But he's been assigned the story and he'll do his job. What he doesn't count on is falling for Robin's sexy personal assistant Dolphina Patel (and don't make fish jokes about her name). Doing his job, snooping, lying, and butting in where he isn't welcome is generally a lot of fun, but not when he realizes that it's exactly the kind of thing doomed to keep him from ever hooking up with the woman he knows from the start is 'the one' for him.

    Adam is having a tough time seeing how happy Jules and Robin are--and recognizing that it could have been him who was getting that love. But that's not the reason he's trying to insert himself into their wedding. Someone really weird is stalking him and he gets blown off by the police. Having support from the Jules's FBI, or Robin's family of Troubleshooters, would provide him the protection he desperately needs. It's just a convenient byproduct that contacting Jules and Robin is a great way of stirring up the couple--and maybe giving him a chance to get a little of that action for himself.

    Author Suzanne Brockmann (see more reviews of novels by Brockmann) continues her Troubleshooter series with a holiday novel devoted to recurring characters Jules and Robin. Although the couple in question are gay, Brockmann is writing for her established female romance novel-reading audience, so the sexual details are deliberately toned down. It's interesting to see how, with the physical details removed, the romance becomes simply a romance--two people who love one another and who are determined to grow their relationship despite the problems that the world may throw at them. The chief problems they face flow out of who they are, rather than the simple fact of their being gay--which, I suspect, is the whole point Brockmann is trying to make.

    In ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT, Brockmann tones down the action angle although, for me, the strongest emotional scene in the story came when the families and lovers of the team cut off in Afghanistan come rally to Robin's support (again illustrating Brockmann's point that our humanity is what's important rather than our sexual orientation). The suspense subplot involving the stalker and alien robots very light, but good for some laughs as well as helping move forward the Will/Dolphina romance.

    ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT is a 'Christmas' book, meaning not only that it's set during the holiday season but also that it's sort of pulled out of the main stream of Brockmann's series. To a large extent, Brockmann already did the Jules/Robin story, and NIGHT sometimes seems more like an extended epilogue than a complete novel. Still, Brockmann's strong story-telling kept me involved in the story and in following the path to the altar ultimately pursued by Jules and Robin. I can't end this review without commending Brockmann for the stand she's taking for extending basic human rights to all people regardless of sexual orientation. The romance novel industry is fairly conservative (witness the popularity of novels featuring Italian Counts and Greek Tycoons) and Brockmann has to know she's risking her enormous fanbase by taking so strong a position on this issue.

    Three Stars

    Reviewed 2/10/08

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