Saturday, February 1, 2014

Review: Do Or Die by Suzanne Brockmann

Title: Do Or Die
Series: Reluctant Heroes
Author: Suzanne Brockmann
Read copy: eBook
Read on: October 12, 2013
Published: February 4, 2014
Publisher: Random House
ISBN: 0345543793
ISBN-13: 9780345543790

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 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 for Phoebe Kruger, Ian’s 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.

My rating:

***ARC provided by publisher through NetGalley***

Ian Dunn knows Phoebe Kruger is trouble the moment he lays his eyes on her. She's hot, and making it hard not to be, yet trouble. With a capital H. Because his new lawyer, despite working for the high-end firm representing him, has no idea what's going on. And because of her having no idea what's going on, she's determined to get him to agree to the deal that would get him out of jail.

Unfortunately Ian has a very good reason to be in jail, not the usual reason, but a very good 'alternative' reason. And he's not about to let his lawyer, and the other one who works for who-knows-who, blow it all to bits by pulling him out on a rescue mission from hell. Because let's face it, by Murphy's Law that mission is bound to turn into a real Charlie Foxtrot (which is armed forces speech for clusterfuck).

First of all, I have to thank RandomHouse for accepting my request for the ARC on NetGalley. Because if they didn't I probably would've read this book, I don't know, ten years from now, and regret not reading it sooner.

Okay, you want my opinion? My honest opinion?
This was a masterpiece of humongous proportions. I loved it from beginning to end.

So far I've only read one Suzanne Brockmann book, I'm ashamed to admit, but now I'll most certainly bump her Troubleshooters series up on my TBR list. Promise. Because Do Or Die was simply amazing.

The characters were realistic, well-delineated, 'multi-layered', and nicely fleshed-out. Even the so-called supporting cast (though I don't think of them like that, because to me, despite the bigger emphasis on Ian and Phoebe, there were no main acts in this one).
But, yes, I loved Ian Dunn and Phoebe Kruger the most. Because they were just perfect. No run-of-the-mill, template-y, clichéd romance between these two. It actually read like something that could happen in real life as well. Maybe not the larger-than-life hero that's so delectable you'd chain him to your bed and keep as a live sex-toy, but still, you catch my drift. The romance was believable. They didn't fall in bed with each other after a few pages, there weren't immediate ga-ga eyes, the 'oh, I love him' inner monologues...It progressed at a 'normal' pace. If you can call high-speed-romance-due-to-them-all-being-chased-by-killers-paid-by-a-psycho-mob-boss-while-also-having-to-devise-and-execute-a-plan-to-rescue-two-kidnapped-children 'normal pace'. Yes, it was believable and realistic...And it ended just how I wanted it to end. Happily. Yay.
The other characters were great as well, and sometimes a real hoot. Ian's brother Aaron was somewhat annoying at times, but I got over it, his 'spouse' Shelly was a great counterpart, Shelly's sister Francine was just the right amount of 'crazy' and 'damaged', Martell, the cop-turned-lawyer, was great to read with all his observations of what was going on and what might be going on, and the two FBI agents, Deb with her goth disguise and Yashi and his Zen attitude two wonderful additions to the motley crew.
I can't wait to (possibly) read more about them in the future books.

The action was non-stop, full-throttle. It sucks the reader into a certain scene, spits him/her out at the end, only to 'rinse and repeat' all over again.
And the writing, story-flow, and narration followed suit. There wasn't a slow, lagging or dull moment throughout the book. Even when the action stopped for a bit, the pace kept on, never wavering, always moving forward, be it by providing back-story through flashbacks (which was a great idea, instead of doing an entire ten-years-ago long chapter that would've pulled the breaks on the pace) or presenting a quiet/tender/romantic/hot scene between characters.

And I loved the humor in it. You'd think a suspense novel, even a romantic suspense novel, especially with the kind of themes this one had, could not afford humor because it would deter from the serious parts and the 'severity'. But you'd be wrong. Because the humor in this one kept it from getting too serious, too dark at times. It provided lightness as perfect counterbalance.
And yes, the humorous scenes were a hoot, making this reader laugh, or even just giggle (yes, I giggled) when the going got a little rough. I couldn't help but feel the humor had some JossWhedonesque quality to it, especially the slightly snarky comments that zinged to and fro between characters. Loved it.

This book was an impeccable blend of character-driven story, action, drama, well-placed angst, romance, and (sometimes snarky) humor. It was like watching a good action movie where you don't want to take your eyes off the screen in fear of missing something. And you want to keep watching and are a little bummed it ended. And that's what happened with this book. I wanted to keep on reading, because I loved every single 'minute' of it.


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