Feb 2 2014 10:30am

First Look: Suzanne Brockmann’s Do or Die (February 4, 2014)

Do or Die by Suzanne BrockmannSuzanne Brockmann
Do or Die
Ballantine / February 4, 2014 / $26.00 print, $12.99 digital

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.

Fans of Suzanne Brockmann’s Troubleshooters series will enjoy Do or Die, a loosely-related spinoff novel to that series. Judging from the large cast of characters and their developing relationships, Do or Die seems destined for its own series, one with a more outside perspective than Troubleshooters, Inc.(Previous knowledge of that series isn’t at all necessary to understand and enjoy this book.)

Hero Ian Dunn is in prison when the story begins, while heroine Phoebe Kruger has just been unexpectedly assigned as his lawyer. But all is not as it seems on the surface; Ian has multiple motives for being imprisoned, while Phoebe doesn’t know several important facts about her boss and his relationship to Ian, as well as her boss’s connection to the shadier side of the law. Additional complications lie ahead, once a crazed denizen of the organized crime world enters the picture.

She…was clueless. Which was proving to be a not-unusual state for her in this, her first week of employment at the prestigious law firm. Upon her arrival, she’d been thrown into the deep end of the pool, assigned to assume the caseloads of three lawyers who’d recently been jettisoned.

Brockman’s characterization is my favorite thing about her writing, and she’s in fine form for this book. Ian and Phoebe at first seem a very unlikely pair. She’s a lawyer, he’s in trouble with the law. Ian seems untrustworthy, while Phoebe is, well, not in prison and seemingly has a bright future ahead of her. But they’re more alike than they seem.

Despite the fact that his winsome smile had the power to make the hearts of half the population flutter, Ian Dunn looked more like a man who threw oxen at the local county fair…..His warm smile softened the potential edge of his words. In fact, this man could announce I’m here to rob your house, and if he accompanied his words with one of those smiles, most people’s first reaction would be Oh, how nice. Do come in.

Their differences of personality, as well as the automatic conflict in which they’re placed, immediately lead to some stellar dialogue. They spark off each other for the entire novel.

“You’re really not afraid of me, are you?” He seemed bemused.

“I am holding my Glock on you, Mr. Dunn.”

“What kind of Glock?” he asked.

“A great, big, shiny one,” she told him.

“Hah!” he said. “Mistake! Glocks aren’t shiny.”

He was right. Hers was a dull black so that it wouldn’t reflect light. “I was using the Joss Whedon–approved use of the word shiny,” Phoebe told him calmly. “It means cool or sweet and not necessarily literally shiny. FYI, I’ve got the girly Glock—the nineteen. It’s slightly smaller and lighter, but still a nine millimeter and very effective, particularly at close range.”

…“Am I or am I not your lawyer?” she asked, adding, “No bullshit this time.”

Dunn actually laughed. “You’re freaking kidding me.”

“If you’re my client, Mr. Dunn, you can use my phone,” she told him as matter-of-factly as she could manage. “If you’re my kidnapper, you can’t.”

Ian and Phoebe aren’t the only characters in the story, however. Heroes and villains alike are tied together through bonds of family, necessity, and a dangerous mission. Several relationships form in the course of the story, some of them potentially romantic, and an existing romance undergoes several trials. If you’re already a Brockmann fan, you’ll love each new obstacle that is flung up in front of Ian, Phoebe, and their crew, and you’ll be looking forward to what happens next with all the secondary characters. If you’ve wanted to try Brockmann’s work, but have been worried by the huge number of Troubleshooters books, Do or Die might be a good place to start.

Learn more or order a copy of Do or Die by Suzanne Brockmann, available on February 4, 2014:

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Victoria Janssen is the author of three novels and numerous short stories. She also reads a lot. Follow her on Twitter: @victoriajanssen or find out more at

Subscribe to this conversation (must be logged in):
1. Kareni
I read many of the Troubleshooters series and then for some reason (perhaps too many other books) stopped. I think I may resume reading
Suzanne Brockmann by picking up this book.
Carmen Pinzon
2. bungluna
I too drifted away from the Troubleshooters when Brockmann started on the younger generation. This one sounds like a good place to jump back into her world.
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