☆☆➹⁀☆ 4 stars ☆➹⁀☆☆
About the Book:
Kidnap negotiator Thea Paris has spent her entire life with survivor’s guilt, following an unspeakable childhood tragedy. At eight years old, she watched, frozen in fear, as her twelve-year-old brother, Nikos, was abducted from their home in Kanzi, Africa. Although he was recovered nine months later, he was never the same after that; worse, Thea discovers that she was supposed to have been the target.
This defining experience drives Thea to become one of the top operatives in the field of kidnap-and-ransom consultancy. Nicknamed “Liberata” because she once secured the release of a captive from the Sicilian mob without her client paying a cent, she travels the globe trying to bring hostages home–mostly through negotiation, but occasionally through more forceful means. She is very good at her job.
Twenty years after her brother’s abduction, Thea’s worst nightmare is revisited when her father, oil magnate Christos Paris, is taken on his sixtieth birthday. He disappears from his yacht while it is moored at Santorini, the ship’s whole crew slaughtered mercilessly.
Thea immediately calls in her team at Quantum Security International, premier K&R specialists. Following protocol, they break down Christos’ life, looking for leads, but the list of enemies and business competitors is endless. Not surprisingly, Christos Paris has imprinted his designer shoe on innumerable backs during his journey to the top of the oil business. And he was abducted only a few days before the biggest deal of his career.
From there, the case only gets stranger. Unlike most abductions, there are no ransom demands, no political appeals, no prisoner release requests. Instead, the kidnapper sends foreboding quotes in Latin by text from burner phones. What does the kidnapper want? And most importantly for Thea, will she be able to prevent a second kidnapping from destroying her family for good?
Author K.J. Howe hit a homerun with her debut novel, The Freedom Broker. This thriller starts with a big bang, and the intensity just keeps increasing. The story is layered with a variety of characters on several continents with different sub-stories. The complexity makes for a rich, interesting read!
I adored the main character, Thea Paris. She has a fractured childhood due to her mother’s early death and her brother’s kidnapping at the age of twelve. Yet, due to her father’s love and confidence in her, she has grown up to be a strong, successful woman. Thea stands out as she is one of the few lead female characters in this sort of thriller.
Thea’s sidekick, and sometime pain in the side, is Rif. He’s tall, dark and handsome, and he clearly has a thing for Thea given how protective he is of her. He’s not perfect though—sometimes he chooses not to follow her orders.
The Freedom Broker is told from multiple perspectives, which gives the reader a bit more insight than the characters have. I loved the twists and the subsequent family drama. I hope to see more of the secondary character, Gabriella, I future books. She was interesting but not fully developed.
The author’s thorough research, high action plot, and intriguing characters made The Freedom Broker a very engaging read. If high-octane action and mystery are your thing, then this book is for you!
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