- Series: An I-Team Novel (Book 5)
- Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
- Publisher: Berkley (May 3, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0425240517
- ISBN-13: 978-0425240519
- Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.8 x 6.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (171 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #687,595 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Breaking Point (An I-Team Novel) Mass Market Paperback – May 3, 2011
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"Complex characterizations and a fast-paced plot filled with sensual romance and mystery make this a highly enjoyable [listen] for newcomers and series fans alike." ---Publishers Weekly Starred Review --This text refers to the MP3 CD edition.
From the Author
Breaking Point is a story about two very wounded souls played out on some of the most dangerous real estate on earth--the U.S./Mexico border.
The seed of the story was planted several years ago when I researched and wrote an opinion column on the femicides in Ciudad Juárez, where more than 400 women and teenage girls have been murdered, their sexually mutilated bodies found dumped on the outskirts of town or in the desert. Most of the murders remain unsolved, and more than 1,000 women and girls are still missing.
Try to imagine an American city--your own city, perhaps--having 400 unsolved sexual homicides and 1,000 missing women. It defies comprehension.
In the years since I covered that issue, the region has become even more dangerous as cartels fight with one another for control over the trade in drugs, guns and human beings. As is often the case in parts of the world where the truth interferes with people's ability to get away with crime and corruption, journalists have become targets. At this moment in time, Mexico is the most dangerous place on earth to be a journalist outside an active war zone.
I'm not sure exactly what prompted me to bring Natalie into this environment. My travel experiences in Mexico have been wonderful, involving long, lazy days on the beach drinking rum, riding horses, snorkeling and dining beside the ocean. Perhaps the story of las muertas de Juárez--the murdered women of Juárez--had a bigger impact on me than I realized. Regardless, this is where Natalie's story brought me.
As strange as it felt to write an I-Team story set far beyond Denver, the research for this book was fascinating. I focused heavily on the details of illicit border crossings and found that planning aspects of this novel was much like playing a desert version of that old computer game Oregon Trail. What would Zach have to bring with him if he and Natalie were to survive? What route would he take? What environmental and human hazards would they encounter?
I also focused on the work and experiences of U.S. Marshals. I interviewed a former U.S. Marshal for Colorado, Tina Lewis Rowe, and Larry Homenick, a retired deputy U.S. Marshal who once worked "the line," i.e., the border, crossing back and forth between his office at EPIC in El Paso, Texas, and Cd. Juárez. Not only did their stories fascinate me, but watching the two of them interact was highly entertaining as they joked and traded friendly insults. I've tried to honor Rowe with a walk-on part in the story. She shouldn't be hard to spot.
The result of all this research is my most action-packed love story to date. Zach and Natalie are strangers, both about to die at the hands of ruthless men who think nothing of human life. But the violence of this world only gives us a chance to see how truly courageous, strong and determined both Natalie and Zach are. As concern for one another blossoms into attraction and love, the two find the strength to triumph, not only over the bad guys, but also over their own personal tragedies.
As I wrote the book, largely planned in 2009, the wire headlines that came across my desk at the paper began to echo aspects of my plot--public shootings, macabre murders, the slaying of journalists and border agents. At times it was positively eerie. About an hour after I started writing these notes, news broke about a U.S. Border Patrol agent who was shot and killed by bajadores, the bandits who lurk on both sides of the border and which play a role in this story.
It has been a goal of mine for some time to write an I-Team story in which the past heroes all play a pivotal role in the action, in which the stakes are so high that all of the I-Team heroes have to come together to keep the heroine alive. I was finally able to write that kind of story in this book. Fans of Julian, Marc, and Gabe will find their favorite heroes on center stage, together with Zach and Natalie. Reece, admittedly, is relegated to a minor role. (Sorry, Team Reece! Trust me. You'll like it anyway.)
Breaking Point is my tenth novel. Finishing it felt like a milestone to me, even though I know authors who've written more than a hundred novels. Thanks for sharing yet another journey with me. I hope you enjoy the story.
Top Customer Reviews
The I-Team is hands down my favorite romance suspense series for many reasons, but one is how uniquely different the stories are from each the other. If you haven't found this series yet, the common thread is that each heroine works as an investigative reporter for the Denver Independent newspaper, and each story takes one lady on a high octane adventure fighting believable bad guys and falling for a heart-pounding hero. Moreover, the criminal elements and bad guys are unrelated to other books, so each book takes you on a brand new adventure with vastly different settings. I also love that the heroines in these books are always `normal', meaning they are smart and tough, but not cartoonish. They are not fearless nor believe themselves invincible, in fact quite the opposite, but they will rise to the challenge when provoked. In other words, they are real women I can relate to.
In Breaking Point, U.S. Marshal Zach McBride gets tied up in Mexico - literally. Starved, tortured, blindfolded and chained to a brick wall, not to mention duped by a trusted agent who turned him in to the Los Zetas (a powerful organized Mexican crime ring), he has little hope of survival and bringing down Arturo César Cárdenas, the head of Los Zetas. Cárdenas, a man of many crimes, is wanted in the United States for the murder of Americans on U.S. soil.
Natalie Benoit, an attractive American journalist visiting Juarez Mexico for a three-day SPJ (Society of Professional Journalists) convention and tour, gets caught in the crossfire of what she believes is a local gang war. They take her captive, bring her to an old abandoned church where she finds herself in the cell next to a prisoner chained to the wall.
As you can guess, Zach and Natalie do escape and begin a deadly game of survival with the Zetas across Mexico. (The escape was so nail biting, OMG!) Zach must rely on Natalie as he nurses his health back from the injuries sustained while captive. They are two strangers who must now depend on each other for survival. The Zetas want Zach recaptured believing he can lead them to millions of dollars worth of missing cocaine, and Natalie may have a price on her head too.
The story eventually takes Zach and Natalie back to the United States for what could easily be dubbed as the biggest show-down in this series yet. Holy crap, so much happens! The Zetas crossed U.S. soil once, and despite the risks, they are ready to do it again to ensure their secrets remain hidden and millions of dollars safe.
Past hero/heroines Reece and Kara, Julian and Tessa, Marc and Sophie, and Gabe and Kat all make reappearances too. Julian, Marc and Gabe play a significant part too, (but don't worry if you haven't read the previous books, you will be able to follow no problem.)
Zach and Natalie's romance was wonderful to see develop. Both of them have damaged souls from past losses too grave to face. Despite the fast-paced action of the story, they build a slow, tender and heartfelt passion between them. The bone melting kind that explodes when they come together. They were opposites in many ways, but made a very convincing romance between them. They had me in tears a few times too, especially near the end.
I have to give props to Natalie. She is easily my favorite heroine in this series now. I just loved her. She was smart, willing to push herself beyond her comfort zone to do what is needed to keep them safe, but not willing to take stupid risks. I liked how she was able to deal with her past demons too. Very realistic and touching.
Zach was a darker character with a damaged soul in need of healing and believing again - how can you not love a guy like that?!! The way he treated Natalie had my heart in my throat so many times! His back-story was also heart breaking. He was a Navy SEAL and saw the death of his closest friends. The guilt and grief weighs heavily on him. He also has a strained relationship with his father. While I didn't fully understand his anger with his dad, it was touching to see him try to make a better relationship with him.
This story had many layers, which kept me guessing and the pages turning. It moved at a fast pace and never slipped on the details. You feel like you are right there. This is just one more reason why I love this series. You are guaranteed an exciting, believable, sexy, and emotional read. Breaking Point was another fantastic addition to the series. Fans are going to have a hard time picking their favorite among the series, but no one will be disappointed. It was that good!
The action was realistic and made sense, utilizing an underused but very topical setting of the US/Mexican border and the drug trafficking etc., there. The hero was an ex SEAL and he was shown doing his stuff but he wasn't a superman. I'm glad that the military type action all made sense and I could buy it and didn't have to shake my head and suspend my disbelief. And thank goodness the plot did not depend on the hero having to save the heroine from TSTL mistakes. She was sensible throughout. The research the author did showed clearly. It was great to see the hero being a US Marshal. I even learned some stuff.
The romance was very well done. These two people were fully developed and were a perfect match for each other. The love scenes were some of the hottest I've read and the reason they were hot was because yes, we all know Tab A Slot B, but the feelings the two had for each other was a large part of the hotness. You never felt that the sex was gratuitous. They seemed to me to be written differently than any I've seen before. They used proper terminology for body parts and the descriptions and dialog were just different enough that it all felt fresh and new.
Plenty of appearances from the rest of the I-Team members.
The writing was tight. No unnecessary words. You knew what the characters were thinking without rolling around in their heads ad nauseam. The descriptions were great. Nothing was vague. You were never left wondering where your characters were or exactly what they were doing in relation to themselves, each other and the environment. There were some places especially near the end that you could almost see.
If you like romantic suspense and you're not reading Pamela Clare, you are doing yourself a disservice.
Despite it falling a bit flat for me, I do recommend downloading the sample and giving it a go - the opening chapters are very gripping. It does look as if Ms Clare has a hit on her hands and I wish her well with it. Three and a half stars.