Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Book Review: Identity: Unknown by Suzanne Brockmann

Identity: Unknown Cover A wonderful book by an extremely talented author

Identity: Unknown (Tall, Dark & Dangerous, Book 8) by Suzanne Brockmann

Reading Level: Adult Contemporary Romance
Release Date: December 1, 1999
Pages: 256 pages
Publisher: Silhouette
Source: Library
Reviewed By: Kate McMurry

Navy SEAL Mitchell Shaw awakes one morning in a homeless shelter with a raging headache. Everyone around him assumes he's just another homeless addict, but he's not suffering from a temporary alcohol-induced blackout. He can't remember anything about himself. There are only two clues available to him to discover his lost identity: an address that leads him to a ranch headed by beautiful manager, Becca Keyes--and a gun.

Since I first discovered her work, it has been my pleasure to read every book that Suzanne Brockmann has written. I have many favorites by this wonderful writer, but I have to say that I have particularly enjoyed Identity: Unknown. As an extremely jaded romance reader who has been reading love stories 35 years and romance since its inception in the early 70s, in my opinion, this book totally fulfills the highest purpose of romance, to make the reader feel, and feel intensely. The emotional and passionate impact of this story is tremendous! I believe there are multiple reasons for this achievement.

First, characterization. Since romance, more than any other form of fiction, is utterly character driven, the most essential requirement for excellence is wonderful characters. Ms. Brockmann has totally succeeded at this goal in Identity: Unknown. These characters are not just sympathetic, they leap from the page.

Second, conflict and motivation. This book is brimming with believably motivated and very gripping external, internal, and most important of all, relationship conflict between the lovers. It is essential in a romance that the lovers be together constantly, be absolutely "made for each other," and yet something compelling and believable keep them apart, elements which are there "in spades" in this book.

An additional vital component of excellent fiction, including romance, is great plotting. It is very evident in this book in Ms. Brockmann's fascinating use of a continuing Navy SEAL theme. When Mitch, the hero, receives an injury while on undercover assignment that leads to temporary amnesia, this fascinating plotting device works beautifully with a well-motivated internal conflict centering around the honor and integrity of the hero. This in turn seamlessly leads to the exciting external and internal complications which race the story along and keep the reader rapidly turning pages.

Along with all of the above vital components of good popular fiction, in a romance, there is the additional requirement of a love relationship of such an intensity that the reader is moved to tears, quivers and sighs. In this, Ms. Brockmann thrillingly exceeds our expectations. The tenderness, poignancy, trust, compassion, caring--and blazing sensuality--between Mitch and Becca are astounding.

Mitch is one of my all-time favorite heroes, and, which is all-important for me as a reader, the heroine is worthy of him in her ability to love, her bravery, initiative, independence, and ethics.

Do yourself a favor and read this book, one of the best the romance genre has to offer! And after you do, pass it on to all your friends and relations who have ever scoffed at romance.

These books do not absolutely have to be read in order, but readers will definitely get an extra impact from the series if they are, because we get to know individual SEALs little by little across the series before each has his own book, and plot lines from one book often feed into another. In the case of this book, the events of the book just prior to this one, Harvard's Education, are highly significant to the suspense plot.

This is the order in which this series was first released:

  1. Prince Joe, originally published June 1996
  2. Forever Blue, originally published October 1996
  3. Frisco's Kid, originally published January 1997
  4. Everyday, Average Jones, originally published August 1998
  5. Harvard's Education, originally published October 1998
  6. It Came Upon a Midnight Clear, originally published December 1998
  7. The Admiral's Bride, originally published November 1999
  8. Identity: Unknown, originally published January 2000
  9. Get Lucky , originally published March 2000
  10. Taylor's Temptation, originally published July 2001
  11. Night Watch, originally published September 2003

I rate this book as follows:

Heroine: 5

Hero: 5

Romance Plot: 5

Suspense Plot: 5

Writing: 5

Overall: 5

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