The Unsung Hero (Troubleshooters Series #1)

The Unsung Hero (Troubleshooters Series #1)

by Suzanne Brockmann

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After a near-fatal head injury, navy SEAL lieutenant Tom Paoletti catches a terrifying glimpse of an international terrorist in his New England hometown. When he calls for help, the navy dismisses the danger as injury-induced imaginings. In a desperate, last-ditch effort to prevent disaster, Tom creates his own makeshift counterterrorist team, assembling his most loyal officers, two elderly war veterans, a couple of misfit teenagers, and Dr. Kelly Ashton-the sweet "girl next door" who has grown into a remarkable woman. The town's infamous bad boy, Tom has always longed for Kelly. Now he has one final chance for happiness, one last chance to win her heart, and one desperate chance to save the day . . .

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780804119528
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 06/28/2000
Series: Troubleshooters Series , #1
Edition description: 1st Edition
Pages: 416
Sales rank: 277,060
Product dimensions: 4.30(w) x 6.86(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Suzanne Brockmann is the author of more than fifty novels, many of which are New York Times bestsellers. As one of the leading authors of romantic suspense novels, she was awarded the 2018 Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award, one of the highest honors bestowed by the Romance Writers of America (RWA). Her work has earned her numerous other awards, including two RITA Awards, four best-of-year awards from RT Book Reviews, and RWA's #1 Favorite Book of the Year award.

Patrick Lawlor, an award-winning narrator, is also an accomplished stage actor, director, and combat choreographer. He has worked extensively off Broadway and has been an actor and stuntman in both film and television. He has been an Audie Award finalist multiple times and has garnered several AudioFile Earphones Awards, a Publishers Weekly Listen-Up Award, and many starred audio reviews from Library Journal and Kirkus Reviews.

Melanie Ewbank has performed in numerous film and regional theater productions. She also appeared on the Lifetime television series Strong Medicine.


Boston, MA

Date of Birth:



Attended Boston University

Read an Excerpt

8 August

Tom swung his duffle bag down from the overhead rack and shuffled slowly with the other passengers off the commercial flight and out into Boston's Logan Airport.

Moving slowly was good, especially since—like right now—he still had bouts of dizziness from that head injury that had nearly taken him out of action permanently.

Outside the terminal, the city skyline was muted by the hazy morning sky. Welcome to summer in New England.

The humidity would lift, Tom knew, as he headed toward the tiny North Shore community of Baldwin's Bridge. The stiff ocean breezes kept the temperature down and the skies blue in the picture-perfect tourist town.

Tom was staying only until Sunday.

He had thirty days of convalescent leave to fill, which pissed him off. He didn't want thirty days, dammit. He'd just spent far too much time in the hospital, too much time away from his command. Of course, thanks to Rear Admiral Larry Tucker, at this point he wasn't sure he even had much of a command to return to.

Was it any wonder he'd lost his temper when he'd found out that while he was in a frigging coma, Tucker had tried to make SEAL Team Sixteen a line item to be deleted on the upcoming fiscal year's budget? And when Tom had found out that Tucker had taken Sixteen's SO squad, the elite group of men that Tom had taken years to handpick—nicknamed "The Troubleshooters" by some and "The Troublemakers" by the non-SEAL brass like Tucker—and scattered them to the ends of the earth ...

But Tom had only lost his temper with the rear admiral. He hadn't thrown the man through the fourth-story window of his D.C. office. He hadn't even slapped the self-satisfied smirk off the bastard's face.

All he'd done was list his objections perhaps a little more strenuously than he normally might have.

And for that, he'd lost another week of his life undergoing psych evaluations, as teams of medical doctors and psychiatrists tried to decide whether or not his outburst was directly related to his recent severe head injury.

Tom had tried to assure them that, indeed, his loss of temper was merely a side effect of dealing with Tucker.

But his doctor was a captain—Howard Eckert—who was up for promotion and eager to please Rear Admiral Tucker, and Tom's excuses didn't fly. Eckert gave him thirty days' convalescent leave in an attempt to recover further from the head injury. The doctor and the shrinks warned Tom that with such an injury it wasn't unusual to experience some temporary and slight changes in personality. Aggressive behavior. Feelings of persecution and paranoia. And of course there was the dizziness and headaches. He should try to stay calm and relaxed. Because after thirty days, when he returned to the naval base in Virginia, he would undergo a similar set of psychiatric tests, after which his fate would be decided.

Would he be given a medical discharge and cut adrift, or would he be allowed to continue his career in the U.S. Navy?

Tom didn't want choice A, but he knew that Tucker would be pushing to have him safely retired. And that meant Tom needed to spend these next thirty days doing everything he could to get as rested and relaxed—and as sane—as possible.

He knew himself well enough to know that going home for more than a long weekend would be a major mistake as far as staying sane went. And Tuesday through Sunday made for a very long weekend.

But a short visit would be good. He wanted to see his great-uncle, Joe. He even wanted to see his sister, Angela, and his niece, Mallory. Mal had graduated from high school this year. Her teenage years were proving to be as rocky as his and Angie's had been.

Apparently it still wasn't easy to be a Paoletti kid growing up in highbrow Baldwin's Bridge, Massachusetts. Hell, there were members of the police force who still bristled when they saw Tom coming.

He was thirty-six years old now, a highly decorated and respected commanding officer in the U.S. Navy SEALs, yet all those old labels—troublemaker, fuckup, "that wild Paoletti kid"—persevered.

No, as much as he missed Joe's solid company, a weekend in Baldwin's Bridge would definitely be long enough. But maybe he could talk Joe into going to Bermuda with him for a week or two. That would be cool. And if Joe insisted, Tom would even bring Charles Ashton along on this trip.

Mr. Ashton was Joe's crotchety best friend or arch nemesis, depending on the two old men's moods. He was a contender for Mr. Scrooge and the Grinch all rolled into one delightful, alcohol-soused package. But Joe had known the man since the Second World War. There was a lot of history behind his loyalty, and Tom could respect that. Besides, any man who'd managed to father Kelly Ashton couldn't be that bad.

Kelly Ashton. Tom thought of her every time he returned to Baldwin's Bridge. Of course, he thought of her when he wasn't there as well. In fact, he thought of her far too often, considering it had been more than sixteen years since he'd seen her last.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"Thanks to Suzanne Brockmann's glorious pen, we all get to revel in heartstopping adventure and blistering romance."
-Romantic Times

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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The Unsung Hero (Troubleshooters Series #1) 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 146 reviews.
beckymmoe More than 1 year ago
Wow, just wow. The first in Brockmann's Troubleshooter series, The Unsung Hero was a fantastic read. It had it all--action, drama, romance, human relationships, history--and was a whole lot of fun to read. If I'd had the time to read this all in one sitting, I'd have loved to; as it was, when I wasn't reading this book I was thinking about it and figuring out how soon I could finish what I HAD to do to get back to it. I loved all the characters--they were well written, believable people who you'd want to know in real life. The main characters are Lt. Tom Paoletti and pediatrician Kelly Ashton, but the secondary ones--Kelly's father Charles and Tom's uncle Joe, World War II veterans; Tom's niece Mallory and her geeky friend David; and the makeshift members of Tom's thrown-together anti-terrorist team--are just as solidly written. The main storyline: Tom, on convalescent leave from the Navy, has thirty days to prove he's healthy enough to keep his leadership position, but believes he sees a presumed-dead terrorist on his first day back in his uncle's small New England town. Suffering from headaches and dizziness, he is torn between his fear that it's all in his head and his need to act on his instincts. This book had me laughing and crying--multiple times--and really caring what happened to each and every one of them. The storylines were all well-crafted, and came together nicely in the end. This series was begun before 9/11--significant both because it follows a Navy SEAL special ops unit and its terrorist theme--so it will be interesting to see what the author does with the books that take place after that time. I will definitely be looking for more books in the series.
Lisa_RR_H More than 1 year ago
After reading several wretched novels on a romance book recommendation list, this contemporary novel of "romantic suspense" set in the Boston area was a relief. The novel features some of the usual overwriting found in the romance genre about the gorgeousness of the lead characters, but not quite as incessant as in most. Likable leading characters at that: both over 30 for once and both career professionals--Tom Paoletti, a Navy SEAL officer, and Kelly Ashton, a divorced doctor. There were even memorable and appealing supporting players! I liked the secondary geek-love romance between Mallory, Tom's niece, and David, an artist even more--it's what raises this book to a four star for me. (And David *gasp* is Asian--I can't tell you how rare it is in the romance genre to have a romantic protagonist to be anything but Caucasian.) And behold a real plot along thriller lines. I did have some style issues, and I wouldn't call the novel a keeper: not a prose style to savor or quotable lines, and it never elicited tears or laughter or a gasp of surprise. But it was entertaining--a good beach/airplane read. This is the first of a series and since some have told me the novels get much better, I intend to try the next one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The one thing I would suggest to anyone wanting to read this series is write character names down. She refers to them as their first name, last name & call sign. Once you get further into the series it can be "Wait, who is that?". To be honest, I quit reading the series at the end of book #10. I wasn't sure how deep she would go into the homosexual love scene. I have been told that if you want to skip book #11 and go to #12 that you wouldn't realy miss anything character wise. I read the "Tall, Dark & Dangerous series first and LOVED them.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was simply OK, it was missing the intensity of the others that I read first. She's improved a lot in the four years since she wrote this book. If this is your first Suzanne Brockman book, don't be discouraged the ones that come after are significantly better.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This story was very romantic and very hard to put down!!! I recommend it to all Romance Readers!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I actually tripped across the third book in this series first. After reading the third and fourth books I bought them all! I love her mix of history, military, and current events. The characters and story lines flow seamlessly. The Troubleshooter series is a Must Read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What a powerful story. Wonderful writing. Keeps you enthralled through all the different segments. Loved all the characters except Brandon. What a twit. Will definetly resd more of her books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am reading these books in order. The flashbacks to WWII are amazing. We must never forget that part of our History!!! The characters are addicting can't wait to see what happens next!!
Laynesfavs More than 1 year ago
This book had me laughing, sighing, crying and all things in-between! Love Suzanne Brockman's books. Don't miss this one!!
Keridwen More than 1 year ago
The strengths of this author include her ability to advance the linked the story lines of three disparate couples, without losing the momentum created by her plot. Her deft characterizations coax the reader into accepting both male and female protagonists with a range of ethnicities, ages, occupations, and socio-economic backgrounds. The attraction comes as much from the content of their character as the carnal appeal of toned abs. Brockmann manages to credibly ratchet up the tension and suspense elements of her story while remaining true to the beating heart of romance - omnia vincit amor.
nana1947 More than 1 year ago
Really gets the series off to an exciting start. Found the whole series to be excellent and will reread this many times.
sunfire114 More than 1 year ago
Suzanne Brockmann does it again! Tom is a great character himself, but when you put the sexy seal with his highschool the sparks fly. Then the side stories with Toms Uncle and Kelly's Dad pull at the heart strings. Suzanne makes you believe in that one special love. A great first book for a great new series!
exes_and_ohs More than 1 year ago
This is the first book in Brockmann's Troubleshooter Series. Unsung Hero is Tom's story, which is the best place to start because Tom is the leader of the eclectic group of men and women that... save the world, to put it simply. They later form the Troubleshooters, but for now they're SEALs. -- I'm not going to put a synopsis because the "Details" tab explains the story line perfectly. What it doesn't mention is that Brockmann tells her stories in the perspective of three different couples. The first couple is Tom and Kelly; the second is Tom's niece and her new friend; the third is Tom's uncle and Kelly's dad. -- Brockmann has an amazing ability to make you love all of these characters. Her gift is in the way she creates characters that are believable. They have fears, they have ambition; and because of that they stick with you. -- The WWII segment of this book was informative without making it feel like a history lesson. (FYI: The first stories include flashbacks from WWII, from the perspective of one or more of the characters). -- I hope this review makes sense. This is a great book and a great series. If you remember anything from this review, I hope it's that.
footballrockz786 More than 1 year ago
I really recommend this book!!! It was great! And I love how there is two love stories going on, a teenager love story and an adult love story!!!
Carra69 More than 1 year ago
Tom an Kelly are romantic.Great start to the trouble shooters series. Hope she continues with the series. It would be ashame to end it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Tom and kelly's romance did not do it for me. This is not one of Brockman's best. TOm was a great guy but kelly came of emotionally cold. Not my favorite heroine. I liked the side story with David and Mel.But the other story about uncle Joe and charles could have been shorter, there was too much going on.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was so terrific. I couldn't put it down. I love romance novels but often I am disappointed by the lack of an exciting plot, lack of action, or lack of well developed characters. This book has it all and has none of the ridiculous silliness that goes with so many romance novels.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Navy SEAL Lieutenant Tom Paolitti is injured during a rescue mission, which leads to a hospital stay. When Tom learns that Rear Admiral Turner plans to eliminate his troubleshooting team, he loudly complains. The doctors claim that his outrageous behavior is a normal reaction to the head injury he suffered. Thus, he is sent home for 30-days of convalescent leave.

At Logan Airport, Tom spots a person with the mannerisms of international terrorist The Merchant. He calls it in even as the brass wonders if he is being paranoid due to the recent trauma. Tom stays with his Uncle Joe while next door is Dr. Kelly Ashton who is temporarily residing with her dying father. For fifteen years, Tom has carried the torch for Kelly. As they reacquaint themselves, Tom and Kelly fall in love. However, can a Navy SEAL find lasting happiness with a pediatrician especially when he keeps seeing a terrorist who, if it is him, apparently is targeting the VIPs at the upcoming WW II anniversary celebration.

THE UNSUNG HERO is an entertaining romantic suspense novel that centers on various relationships. The story line is enjoyable because the different types of relationships ring genuine even that between Tom and The Merchant. The intrigue elements provide additional excitement, but Suzanne Brockmann's tale works because of the interplay between several members of the cast.

Harriet Klausner

jjmcgaffey on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Me gusta. I love her Tall, Dark and Dangerous Harlequin series - this is just like that only more so. In the Harlequins, there's one romance per book, with maybe a few hints of setting up others. In this, there's the main characters' romance, the ancient romance, the easy romance (that could easily have been an entire Harlequin book - just would have to add a few more obstacles and a bit more obtuseness on the part of the people involved), plus hints of at least one more major romance and maybe another. And all written with Brockmann's usual style and elegance. Me gusta mucho.
LisaMaria_C on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
After reading several wretched novels on a romance book recommendation list, this contemporary novel of "romantic suspense" set in the Boston area was a relief. The novel features some of the usual overwriting found in the romance genre about the gorgeousness of the lead characters, but not quite as incessant as in most. Likable leading characters at that: both over 30 for once and both career professionals--Tom Paoletti, a Navy SEAL officer, and Kelly Ashton, a divorced doctor. There were even memorable and appealing supporting players! I liked the secondary geek-love romance between Mallory, Tom's niece, and David, an artist even more--it's what raises this book to a four star for me. (And David *gasp* is Asian--I can't tell you how rare it is in the romance genre to have a romantic protagonist to be anything but Caucasian.) And behold a real plot along thriller lines. I did have some style issues, and I wouldn't call the novel a keeper: not a prose style to savor or quotable lines, and it never elicited tears or laughter or a gasp of surprise. But it was entertaining--a good beach/airplane read. This is the first of a series and since some have told me the novels get much better, I intend to try the next one.
wyvernfriend on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Tom Paoletti was involved in an accident during a SEAL mission that nearly killed him, or at least nearly put him in a permanent vegetative state. Now he's home and trying to work out what's wrong with his uncle and his lifelong friend and employer; and adding to the confusion is his long running yearning for Dr Kelly Ashton. When he thinks he sees a terrorist he's been chasing for a while, a terrorist assumed dead, his superiors put it down to his head injury, he's not sure, and enlists a motley crew to investigate.The details about the long-term issues Tom has with the head injury are interesting and add to the character. Malory is great fun and David comes across as a proper geek. I enjoyed the ride.
dianaleez on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The earlier 'Troubleshooter' books are Brockmann at her best.Then it becomes too much of the same ol' same ol.'
stephenskel on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Ok, I didn't read this series in order and now after reading this one I'm glad I didn't. If I had read Book 1 first, I may not have read any more and would have missed out on a great series. I was already familiar with the characters since I've read almost every other book in the series, so I was very surprised that I had a hard time getting into Kelly and Tom's story. It was slow and didn't keep my attention. Highly recommend the series, but it's not necessary to start with this book.
vegetarianlibrarian on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I hate romantic suspense and so I don't usually read military-type romances because it's always - the killer is after her and she keeps passing out but the man in the camo pants will save her! Not into that. But I like the general hero part (it is a romance, after all), and I really liked this one. The thing that stood out to me is the amount of back story - the hero and heroine have a history (they've been in love since they were teens! But never said anything!), and their fathers also have a history, told in WWII flashbacks. That made the ending emotionally satisfying, if sad.
ZosiaCanberra on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I have read a few books in the Troubleshooters series now, and enjoyed them. Well, except for this one - which is possibly the worst start to a series I have ever read. This is absolutely, totally, completely NOT military romance or romantic suspense. It is straight out contemporary romance, bordering on women¿s fiction. Here¿s my problem. If this book was marketed as women¿s fiction (I hate that genre!!) I could maybe have given it three stars. But it¿s not marketed that way. Apparently it¿s military romance - though there is next to no military and next to no romance. As a military romance story it fails dreadfully and doesn¿t earn those extra stars. This book is really boring. I attempted a foray into Suzanne Brockmann¿s gigantic world (her earlier Navy SEALS series) some time ago, and failed. So I thought I¿d give it another shot. What I didn¿t like about her books in the past - and didn¿t like about this one - is that they were slow-moving contemporary romance with a teensy bit of suspense as an afterthought. If something claims to be military romance, then it should be military romance. This is not. (The next book in the series, however, is the complete opposite of this one and well worth the time and effort.) This book started out well (for the first eight or so pages), and maybe I got my hopes up a bit too high. The author does have a nice, easy writing style, and she does characterisation well. The story was a little light on the excitement and a bit heavy on the discussion. As I did in the past, here I got the impression Brockmann is more into writing straight romance, and the only way this story has anything to do with Navy SEALS is that it occasionally mentions a character¿s rank or for an unnecessary information dump to illustrate all the military knowledge she has. So much of the book was telling rather than showing. I want to see the story unfold as I read, not be told the details after the event. There were too many people in this story. It was setting up an entire series, but when a series goes on for so many books it probably isn¿t necessary to set up all the heroes and heroines in book one! The hero and heroine were hardly in any scenes together, and the romance was about on the bottom of the list of priorities. I couldn¿t care less about a bunch of old codgers and their war memories, nor about some kids and their comics. I actually wanted to read about the hero and heroine, but there was very little of that to be found. Kelly was a stupid heroine. I didn¿t like her bizarre and conflicting personality. And seriously, how could she have been so stupid as to not know making personal declarations over the radio meant other people would hear her?! Tom was a completely forgettable hero. For all the supposed Navy SEAL toughness, he was such a weak, Beta character. Tom and Kelly were both forgettable. Some of the most boring characters I¿ve read. And then the secondary characters...well, why in the world would or should I care about a couple of teenagers creating graphic novels?! Why in the world does this take up a third of the book? Isn¿t this supposed to be military suspense written for adults? The fact the secondary characters took over was bad enough. But the fact the woman who was the subject of the love triangle that took over the book was a self-absorbed, undeserving little miss was even worse. When she rejected a marriage proposal, claiming the only thing she could care about was her baby...well...I hated her with a passion. I don¿t want to read about annoying little wenches from World War Two in my contemporary romance stories. The fact two elderly characters had spent the better parts of their lives alone because of this woman...that fact alone earned this book its low rating. The coincidences in this story were embarrassing. Guy just happens to spot radically transformed terrorist at the airport in his hometown? Then he just happens to spot him again when he¿s out shopping? Teenage niece just happens to