Quercus, $26.99, 361 pages, ISBN 978-1-68144-310-2
This week’s MBR is an international thriller by a debut author that takes off with the first sentence like an F-18 Hornet under full military power, and never, ever, ever stops accelerating! And hey . . . I can almost hear you thinking . . . That’s a pretty bold statement Johnny, and, like Animal said to Joker in the movie FULL METAL JACKET, “You can talk the talk . . . but can you walk the walk . . .” Oh yes. I can. And this start of a series is one hot summer read you just don’t want to miss if you crave original, action-adventure thrillers of the first class.
The Freedom Broker, by K.J. Howe, starts out on page one with a dead-of-night combat mission by a team of hand-picked, private-contractor commandos. They’re dropped by helicopter into the thick of the Nigerian jungle, where they’ll attempt to rescue an oil company engineer who’s been kidnapped and held for ransom by a militant terrorist group whose stated goal is to emancipate the Niger Delta. The rescue team is being led by a woman named Thea Paris, who’s one of only twenty-five elite kidnap and ransom specialists in the world . . . and the undisputed best of the bunch. Her task is to do whatever it takes to retrieve the hostages, bring ‘em back alive, and all in one piece. She’s involved in the K & R crime wave because twenty years earlier, her brother Nikos was abducted in the middle of the night while she hid and watched, paralyzed by fear. Nine months later, after their oil tycoon father paid a multi-million dollar ransom, thirteen year-old Nikos was returned, utterly changed and Thea has been racked by guilt ever since. No sooner does the hostage rescue team return from Africa however, than Thea’s billionaire father Cristos is snatched from his yacht by a commando squad who executes the entire crew before making their escape in a black helicopter.
All that action takes place in the first fifty pages as Ms. Howe plunges her readers straight down into the treacherous and murky depths of the kidnap and ransom criminal universe, where events take place some 40,000 times per year, all over the globe, and collect hundreds of millions of dollars. Dollars which are then used to finance terrorism, overthrow governments and promote anarchy. The Freedom Broker will lift some of the shroud of secrecy that encompasses this ever-growing element of crime. The author is getting rave reviews from everyone who’s anybody, including some of the biggest A-list writers and best-selling authors in the world. Ms. Howe will enlighten, thrill and entertain all readers with one of the most enjoyable novels of the year to date! Read it, see for yourself and get to know this most promising and talented of new thriller writers. You’ll be glad you did!