Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Breaking The Rules by Suzanne Brockmann

Izzy Zanella wasn't looking for another reason to butt heads with his Navy SEAL teammate and nemesis, Danny Gillman. But then he met Danny’s beautiful younger sister, Eden. When
she needed it most, he offered her a place to stay, a shoulder to cry on—and more. And when she got pregnant with another man’s child, he offered her marriage. But Eden’s devastating
miscarriage shattered their life together—and made the intense bad blood between Izzy and Danny even worse.

Now Eden's back, on a mission to rescue her teen brother, Ben, from their abusive stepfather. Even if she and Izzy can prove that their broken marriage is still in one piece, winning legal
custody of Ben is a long shot. But they’re not alone: Danny and his girlfriend Jenn offer to help, and he and Izzy agree to bury the past and fight for Ben’s future.

As they plan their strategy, Izzy and Eden grapple with the raw passion that still crackles between them—while Danny and Jenn confront new depths in their own rocky relationship. But events take a terrifying turn after Ben befriends a girl fleeing a child prostitution ring. When the young runaway seeks refuge with Eden and Izzy, her pursuers kidnap Ben—and a deadly standoff begins. Now, they must all pull together like never before and strike back, swift and hard, to protect their unconventional little family and everything they hold most precious.

My thoughts:
Even though he is too young for me, I love Izzy Zanella. Deeply. Because beneath that adolescent humor, there is a thinking man. With integrity and purpose. And Brockmann did him proud in his own book.

I'll admit, I was worried. Much in the same way Lori was. I didn't want to read or watch the spirit and light be sucked from my favorite man-boy. I'm happy to report that it wasn't. Izzy moved through the events of this book with a practicality that allowed for both his nutball humor and his serious SEAL. To demonstrate:

Here is a moment spent inside Izzy's head--just like old times:

"Either way, it was obvious that they were both extremely willing passengers aboard this particular bad-idea bus."

And later, when he must call (for the first time) on Jules Cassidy for assistance. The phone conversation begins like this:

Izzy didn't recognize the number that was on his cell phone's screen. But it had a 6-1-7 area code, what was..."Good morning, Boston," Izzy said as he answered, one hand on the steering wheel as they continued to zoom through the night. "Jules Cassidy, I presume. How's it hanging, bro?"

Over the course of this conversation, Cassidy proves himself the tough-as-nails, stand-up guy that he is. Watch how Izzy signs off:

"Thank you, sir," Izzy said.
"I thought I was your bro, Zanella."
"No, sir," Izzy told the man. "You're the kind of leader I would follow into hell, should the need ever arise."
Cassidy cleared his throat. "I'll keep that in mind," he said quietly, then added, "Good luck, guys." And with that he ended the call.

Breaking The Rules is littered with moments like this one. All true to Izzy's character--a smartass we can all take seriously.

Was Eden worthy of him? I'd say yes. We catch up with her at a different point in her life and really, she seems to have it much more together. There was substance to her here. When Brockmann brought them together again, it worked for me. I appreciated how she reversed their roles--making Eden the painfully, emotionally honest one and Izzy the more guarded of the two. It worked.

It was also served by all of the other folks in their way. There is a LOT going on in this book and that gave Izzy and Eden time to just BE. Around each other, with each other. With no promises and no clear path. That worked. The noise of the other characters however, did get on my nerves here and there. Like many, I'm not a fan of Dan. He's still a stubborn brat if you ask me. Sorry, just too much baby behind the big, strong SEAL. I remember, in the last book, when he hooked up with Jen...Brockmann let us into his head. And damned if he wasn't a pig. That even HE was surprised he'd go for a big girl like Jen was insulting. Here, there is no doubt that he loves her. But, because I wondered if it wasn't more of a "need her" thing, I never considered him fully redeemed.

Nor did I cut him any slack for the unbelievable crap wrought by his dsyfunctional family. Lots of screwed up characters coming from that gene pool (and loser step-father). It is essentially the basis for Breaking The Rules. Everyone comes together here to save the youngest Gillman. Every thread leads back to the nightmare that was their upbringing.

In Brockmann fashion, there is constant motion, social commentary and over-the-top characters on the wrong side of "right". And in Brockmann fashion, she brings it all together in her trademark rhythm. Can't use reviewer words like 'flow' or 'seamless'. Brockmann's rhythm is better described as improvisational and intense--like Izzy. Maybe it's fitting to end this series of books on the one character that defines her voice?

My thanks to Ms. Brockmann, for years of reading pleasure. I'm looking forward to whatever comes next.


  1. Hmmmm. Still on the waiting list at my library.

    I'll have to read it, but I'm still not happy about the Izzy/Eden pairing. I absolutely hated her in the last one (can't even remember which book it was). And Dan. Yeah. Total asshole.

    Either way, I'll be waiting for my turn at the library. Great review.

  2. I have to admit to being hesitant but you've talked me into it! I just checked at my local library and it's available in ebook - I'm on the waiting list. :)

  3. Danny and Izzy work a mission in Afghanistan in which the former is wounded and the latter saves his life but almost dies doing so. After a hospital stint in Germany, they come home to learn Eden is trying to rescue her teenage younger brother Ben from their abusive stepfather Greg and his mother Ivette. They head to Vegas along with Danny's on again and off again girlfriend Jennilyn LeMay to help Eden. When Ben rescues Neesha from a child prostitution ring, Eden and Izzy protect her as the mobsters come for their merchandise, but snatch Ben instead.


Have you read it? What do you think?

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