Those who've talked books with me for any length of time will know that I'm a huge fan of Suzanne Brockmann. It doesn't hurt that she writes romantic suspense involving sexy and deadly–but very human–Navy SEALs and other covert pros. (Think Tom Clancy or Vince Flynn writing romance.)
But plenty of authors write good books about special ops, law enforcement, or security specialists. That's not why Brockmann has so many fans, or why I'm actually keeping all of her books on my shelf.
Not only is she a master at telling stories with overlapping layers, secondary plots, and multi-book character arcs that boggle my mind. Her real triumph is in the characterization and emotion. She has an amazing way of making her characters real. They're never perfect. Sometimes, they're not even likable (until they get their story), and yet, you can't help rooting for them, because they're human.
Some of my favorite books involve the hero who was tight-lipped and mysterious–and often misunderstood–in previous books. (If you've read any of her Troubleshooters books, think Cosmo or Decker.) When we finally get inside his head, it's so much fun to finally get to know him and what makes him tick. And, maybe we get to learn why he comes across as aloof, or angry, or scary to the other characters.
Brockmann is also a wizard at crafting sexual tension and conflict. When the H/H finally get together, it's always hot, but it's never an easy road for them. The sparks coming off the page practically burn your fingers.
If I could only be half as good at storytelling as Ms. Brockmann, I'd be a happy writer.
Who's on your keeper shelf?