Headed for Trouble (Troubleshooters #16.5) by Suzanne Brockmann
*early review copy of this book received from the publisher and Edelweis*
Regina’s Rating: 4 stars/Grade A
Suzanne Brockmann is a popular romance and romantic suspense author. In my opinion, her Troubleshooters books are unique in the romantic suspense genre. Suz’s books have romance, the sweetness of meeting someone and connecting, some sexy steam and a great happily ever after. So for readers looking for that – Brockmann offers this. But she offers so much more. Headed for Trouble is a continuation of the Troubleshooters series; it contains short stories and novellas revolving around characters already introduced in the series. Brockmann writes these complex characters who like most real people – make decisions and choices for complex reasons. Things do not happen easily or coincidentally in her Troubleshooters world; characters die and suffer and their happily-ever-afters are hard won. Characters introduced at the beginning of the series stay with the series over the course of the book. Readers get to see their favorites coming back and living their lives – or previously introduced characters become the main characters later on. And yeah, this sounds like many serial romance books but it isn’t. Each of the characters has a unique voice, a unique background – and reads like a unique person. There isn’t a formula in these books. The characters are all written in complex layers – sounds silly but it is true, they are meaty and tangible. These books and characters offer so much for readers to sink their teeth in. The Troubleshooters characters cross racial and ethnic lines, gender and sexuality lines and economic lines. The characters are tall, short, thin, bigger – and beautiful. They are so similar to real people we might know in real life. All of these factors are why I love the Troubleshooters series. Like anything else, I haven’t loved all of the books in the series, but I have loved many and enjoyed most so overall this is my favorite series out of any genre. And unfortunately, I have not yet found another author like Suzanne Brockmann. Because I don’t read Suzanne Brockmann for the genre, I read her for how she writes.
Headed for Trouble brings together most of the short stories and novellas that Suz has written in the Troubleshooters world. Some are new and some are not. Included in the book are some character interviews and an interview with Suz herself. Normally, I am not a fan of this sort of book and often feel like I have been short changed as a consumer when I buy something like this. That is not how I felt when I finished with Headed for Trouble. Headed for Trouble was very satisfying and made me just want more. She wrote these short stories and novellas, she wrote them just like she did her books –to further the storyline line and with great character development.
The stories involve favorite characters like Sam, Alyssa, Jules, Robin, Gina, and Max. We get to see Sam in action and acting his old ornery but sweet funny self. My favorite is a novella involving Will’s sister in “Home is Where the Heart Is”. The story is set in Spring 2008 and takes place sometime after All Through The Night but before Into the Fire. The character Will was introduced in All Through The Night and in that book we learn that he is caring for his sister’s daughter while she is stationed in Iraq. “Home is Where the Heart Is” is similar to other Troubleshooters stories in that it is beautifully told and wonderfully touching. The characters do not make easy choices but the ending is rewarding.
Short but funny is the story which features Jenk, Izzy, Gillman and Lopez. It takes place slightly before Into the Storm and is set in 2005. As would be expected, Izzy is his usual hilarious self. In telling his friends about meeting a beautiful stranger who seeks out his help he describes what she says to him,
“I need a huge favor. And I’m thinking, Well it’s your lucky night because I’ve got a huge favor,” Izzy told them.
Of course it doesn’t turn out quite how Izzy expected!
“A Seal and Three Babies” is a new novella included in Headed for Trouble. It is set in March 2009 and takes place after Hot Pursuit but before Breaking the Rules. The story centers around three couples: Jules/Robin, Max/Gina, and Alyssa/Sam. It is full of a lot of action and is really focused on interaction between Sam and Robin,
“What if you go out ….. and they mug you?” (Robin asks) “That’ll be their mistake,” Sam said. “Not if they catch you off guard and knock you unconscious.” “Not gonna happen.” “Your eyes are closed right now,” Robin pointed out. Sam opened them and looked at him. “Because I’m pretty sure you’re not going to jump me.”
To fully enjoy this book and the stories in it, readers should read the other books in the series first. This is a series I strongly recommend – I have my thoughts and issues with the first two books in the series. But starting with book #3, the series is amazing and readers will not be disappointed.
So after reading this book where does this leave us? With no more Troubleshooters books!! Yikes. But we do have a spin-off series to look forward to called “Reluctant Heroes” with the release of the first in this series “Do or Die” set for February 2014. We will see Martell, Yashi and Deb! I’ll take it! Here is what Suz says on her website:
Last but not least, the book that I should be revising right this moment (oopsie), is called DO OR DIE, and it’s the first book in my new romantic suspense trilogy called “Relectant Heroes.” This new series is a Troubleshooters spin-off. In fact, DO OR DIE is set in the Troubleshooters world, so TS lovers will feel right at home. Martell Griffin, from FORCE OF NATURE (Ric & Annie, and Jules & Robin’s book) plays a large role in the story, as do Jules Cassidy’s FBI underlings, Deb and Yashi.
But all three of those characters come into DO OR DIE unhindered by layers of backstory from books past (it was getting heavy under all those layers, from sixteen books!), so the trilogy is handily accessible to new readers. Yes, Martell is still a very funny man, and he’s still working as a lawyer in Sarasota. And yes, Deb and Yashi are still employed by the FBI. They all bring their special skills and talents to DO OR DIE. (I do love writing from Martell’s point of view! You’ll be seeing more of him in books two and three, coming soon…)
And just to make “Reluctant Heroes” even more warmly familar, the book’s hero is a former Navy SEAL (and an alleged international art and jewel thief!) named Ian Dunn. When the story starts, Ian is serving time in a Florida state prison for a relatively low-level crime. The heroine is a lawyer named Phoebe Kruger who gets entangled with Ian over the course of several extremely action-packed days.
DO OR DIE a fun, upbeat book (shades of Kenny Karmody’s book, OUT OF CONTROL–which I think of as my version of “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World” meets “The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming” meets the Troubleshooters series!), with plenty of action, thrills, and suspense, along with fast-paced sparring and sparks between Ian and Phoebe.
Watch my website (coming soon!) for a preview of the exceptionally great cover art that will be adorning this book. It’s scheduled to be released in hardcover, e-book, and audio, tentatively in February 2014. But watch this page, and Facebook page, for updates, because dates have been known to change.
Troubleshooters Series Reading Order:
1) THE UNSUNG HERO, Ivy, June 2000
2) THE DEFIANT HERO, Ivy, March 2001
3) OVER THE EDGE, Ivy, September 2001
4) OUT OF CONTROL, Ballantine, April 2002
5) INTO THE NIGHT, Ballantine, November 2002
6) GONE TOO FAR, Ballantine, July 2003
7) FLASHPOINT, Ballantine, March 30, 2004
8) HOT TARGET, Ballantine, December 28, 2004
9) BREAKING POINT, Ballantine, July 12, 2005
10) INTO THE STORM, Ballantine, August, 2006
11) FORCE OF NATURE, Ballantine, August 14, 2007
12) ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT, Ballantine, October 30, 2007
13) INTO THE FIRE, Ballantine, July 29, 2008
14) DARK OF NIGHT, Ballantine, January 27, 2009
15) HOT PURSUIT, Ballantine, July 28, 2009
16) BREAKING THE RULES, Ballantine, March 22,2011
16.5) HEADED FOR TROUBLE, Ballantine, anthology, April 30, 2013
Short Story 1) WHEN TONY MET ADAM, Ballantine e-short story, June 6, 2011
Short Story 2) BEGINNINGS AND ENDS, Ballantine e-short story, June, 2012
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