Review: ‘Do or Die,’ a romantic thriller

Posted Sunday, Feb. 23, 2014  comments  Print Reprints

Do or Die

by Suzanne Brockmann

Ballantine, $26

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Loyalty and honor are recurring themes in Suzanne Brockmann’s writing, but unlike the leading men of her “Troubleshooters” universe, the hero in her latest novel sometimes does bad things for good reasons.

Do or Die is the first offering in the bestselling author’s “Reluctant Heroes” trilogy. Ian “Eee” Dunn is an alleged international art and jewel thief, who is doing an 18-month prison stint. Ian has a noble reason for being in prison, but it stems in part from his distrust that the government will do the right thing.

He’s released from prison when the government forces him to accept a plea agreement that includes his freedom in exchange for rescuing two children who have been kidnapped.

The complicated plotline requires Ian, a former Navy SEAL, to rescue his family from the Mafia before he can even consider snatching back the children, who are being held in an embassy in Miami. Do or Die is fast-paced, with half of the action taking place in the course of a day.

The tale is classic Brockmann with witty banter between Dunn and Phoebe Kruger, whose first assignment at a high-powered law firm is to represent Dunn. The chemistry between the pair is evident from the outset, and it only grows as they are thrown together in situations that border on screwball. Their relationship and the one between Ian and his brother are rich and realistic.

Brockmann’s canvas is filled with colorful characters — Ian’s brother, his spouse and his brother’s sister-in-law are part of a loose-knit team that has helped Ian do things such as liberate Holocaust treasures from Nazi sympathizers. The dialogue and the history between the team add to the story.

Brockmann fans will likely recognize several characters from the “Troubleshooters” series — Martell Griffin, who appeared in Force of Nature, is working on behalf of FBI agent Jules Cassidy, with an assist from agents Deb Erlanger and Joe “Yashi” Hirabayashi.

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