Do or Die (2014) (Ballantine Books)
Genre: adventure / romantic suspense
Sex scenes: mild
Reluctant Heroes: (1) Do or Die
Romance Reading Bingo Challenge 2014: The first book in a series
Ian Dunn, former Navy SEAL and renowned jewel thief (or so he leads the world to believe) is notorious for his team’s ability to carry out high-risk jobs using less-than-official means. When two young children are kidnapped by their own father and held captive in a heavily guarded embassy as an act of revenge against their mother, Ian is deemed the only man for the job. Ian is currently serving time in prison as part of a long-con that has just been blown to pieces by the FBI’s insistence that he take this job and save the kids from danger. But for reasons that he won’t reveal, nothing is going to make Ian change his mind.
Phoebe Kruger, Ian’s lawyer, isn’t going to take no for an answer. It’s her first week with this new firm and for the sake of her professional reputation as well as for the lives of the kids, she’s going to make Ian accept the job, whether he likes it or not. What Phoebe doesn’t expect is for Ian to make her another member of his team – and for her to actually start enjoying it. It quickly becomes clear that Phoebe has a knack for thinking on her feet and getting them out of sticky situations – a skill that becomes very handy if they’re going to face their cold-blooded kidnappers, a mob boss who has Ian at the top of his hit list and a sociopathic killer who they need to get on their side to rescue the kids. Not to mention the ridiculously complex sexual politics of Ian’s team that makes the fierce attraction between Ian and Phoebe even more forbidden and tempting …
This was my first non-Troubleshooter Suzanne Brockmann novel, though it could probably pass for a spin-off. Ian Dunn is everything that I’d expect of a Troubleshooter hero, even despite his unofficial tactics. He thinks he knows best for his family and his team and he’s more than willing to go about the job solo if it means taking the danger off everybody else. I found him a bit more hardcore than other Troubleshooter heroes, in the sense that there seems to be nothing he won’t do when it comes to protecting his family, but that could just be the result of the plot.
Phoebe is a solid heroine and again, fits in well as a Troubleshooter heroine. I love that she’s a lawyer but even more, her stubbornness and fierce sense of what is right really defines her. She accepts Ian’s unorthodox proposition if it means that the lives of two innocent kids are spared and turns out to be a pro at adapting her story and character to the needs of the mission. Phoebe wasn’t the most relatable heroine, but I liked her well enough.
My favourite element of Do or Die was probably how funny it was. Not in a comedic sense, but Ms Brockmann has a great writing style and there’s just a fantastic roundness to her characters and dialogue that I love. Secondary characters were as strong as ever and I clung to their plotlines just as much as I did to Ian and Phoebe’s. I’m looking forward to what Ms Brockmann will do next with this series.
Image courtesy of Fantastic Fiction.