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Breaking Point (An I-Team Novel) Mass Market Paperback – May 3, 2011
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Intrusion: A Novel
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From the Author
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
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.
Zach is a decorated Navy Seal turned Deputy US Marshall (DUSM). While working undercover, he is betrayed by an ally, taken prisoner by a Mexican drug cartel, and waiting to die from torture. Enter Natalie, an investigative reporter who has also been taken prisoner during a bloody ambush. The two meet through the walls of their hellhole prison. Ms. Clare touches upon issues that will resonate with military veterans, law enforcement, and first responders - the Code of Conduct and Service before Self.
Zack provides Natalie with the emotional support to escape and she provides him with the physical assistance to join her. They take refuge in Alter to plan their trek across the Mexican desert to the US border. At this point, I am anxious for them. They just pulled off "the great escape" yet they are far from safe as they eat, sleep, and touch. Yes, touch.
In the short time that our hero and heroine have spent together, they realize that the other is a lifeline - not just out of their physical hellhole but the emotional turmoil that has plagued them far too long. The emotional connection leads to physical interaction that reenergizes their sense of survival. Although this plot could lapse into a cliché, Ms.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Breaking Point by Pamela Clare is the fifth book in her I-Team Romantic Suspense series. This series has been and is still amazing, entertaining, sexy, thrilling and a must read... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Avonna
I have a huge soft spot for Navy even more for Seal.Natalie manages to be a hero as well in this captivating fast paced first rate read. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Bella
This is the first book of the I-Team series I read. It is so good. Even out of order it made sense and I instantly fell in love with all of the characters. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Eva Bella
This novel has three acts. In the first act, the protagonists must work to escape a brutal Mexican drug lord. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Kate MacKay
This is my favorite book in the series. The suspense keeps you engaged; but it's the romance between the hero and heroine that hooks you. Great chemistry.Published 11 months ago by Kindle Customer
Three stars might be a little generous. I liked the suspense/thriller parts of this story, but the characterization started to wear on me. Read morePublished 14 months ago by ALR