Thursday, June 26, 2014

Review: Do or Die

Do or Die
Suzanne Brockmann
Romantic Suspense
Reluctant Heroes/Book 1
Random House/February 4, 2014

Navy SEAL Ian Dunn went rogue in a big way when he turned his talents to a lawless life of jewel heists and con jobs. Or so the world has been led to believe. In reality, the former Special Ops warrior is still fighting for good, leading a small band of freelance covert operatives who take care of high-stakes business in highly unofficial ways. That makes Ian the hands-down choice when the U.S. government must breach a heavily guarded embassy and rescue a pair of children kidnapped by their own father, a sinister foreign national willing to turn his own kids into casualties. Shockingly, Ian passes on the mission... for reasons he will not–or cannot–reveal.

But saying no is not an option. Especially not to Phoebe Kruger, Ian’s bespectacled, beautiful, and unexpectedly brash new attorney. Determined to see the abducted children set free, she not only gets Ian on board but insists on riding shotgun on his Mission: Impossible-style operation, whether he likes it or not.

Though Phoebe has a valuable knack for getting out of tight spots, there’s no denying the intensely intimate feelings growing between Ian and Phoebe as the team gears up for combat. But these are feelings they both must fight to control as they face an array of cold-blooded adversaries, including a vindictive mob boss who’s got Ian at the top of his hit list and a wealthy psychopath who loves murder as much as money. As they dodge death squads and play lethal games of deception, Ian and Phoebe will do whatever it takes to save the innocent and vanquish the guilty.

Or die trying.

First off, if you loved Brockmann's Troubleshooters series, this is a spin-off so you can expect more of the same fast paced action and a  hard bodied alpha male to take on the bad guys and win.  Do or Die is actually set in Florida and we meet up with some secondary characters from the Troubleshooters world.  

One thing Brockmann always brings to her stories are those smartass alpha heroes and Ian Dunn is certainly one of those.  He may have been a Navy SEAL but he is not into listening to authority anymore but instead prefers to do things his way.  Of course this causes numerous clash with his heroine Phoebe Kruger.  She's no pushover and Ian must learn to listen to Phoebe and respect her expertise in certain areas.  

Phoebe is a lawyer who is more than meets the eye.  She's smart and thinks quick on her feet which comes in handy when she gets caught up in Ian's world.  She isn't use to Ian's intense world of danger and intrigue.  Her world is filled with suits and courtrooms, not guns and surveillance vans.  While I thought Phoebe was an okay heroine, she didn't standout from previous Brockmann heroines.  

There is a lot going on in Do or Die, maybe a little too much.  The different story threads mixed in with the numerous characters became overwhelming at times.  The pace is fast, with some down time but that fast pace got in the way of realistically developing the potential for a long lasting relationship between Ian and Phoebe.  But by the end of the story, that's what we are suppose to believe.  there was attraction but too much going on and too many people involved to lend itself to deep romantic discovery between theses two, let alone love.

The plot itself is a bit familiar and Ian and Phoebe could be switched out for any number of Troubleshooter couples.  Still, there is a reason why that series was and is still so popular.  And for many readers familiar with Ms. Brockmann's novels, the gay rights theme is present in the form of two secondary characters.  I almost hesitate to call them secondary characters since their story seems to have nearly as much development as Ian and Phoebe romance.  While I understand how close this cause is to the author, it can be a little tedious to continually be reminded how horrible it can be to be gay in America when you are reading a romance novel.  

Rating: C

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