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. She travels the globe trying to bring hostages home – mostly through negotiation, but occasionally through more forceful means. She’s 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.
Thea Paris is a response consultant, also known as a kidnap negotiator. She travels the world to bring hostages home, in whatever way necessary. She’s really good at her job. But then her father, an oil magnate, is kidnapped and things become personal. Who’s behind the kidnapping and why? And can Thea keep her wits about her and bring her father home safe?
The Freedom Broker is the first instalment in the Thea Paris series and it is a cleverly crafted, action-packed thriller. The world of the kidnap negotiator is fascinating and scary and the way the author uses current events really hits its mark. From the very first page, the reader is sucked into high velocity drama as we follow Thea and her team who are trying to extract a hostage.
There’s a superb backstory on Thea’s brother Nikos that was truly gripping. For many chapters, the action doesn’t let up and I kept thinking this would make a pretty cool movie. But then there’s a bit of a dip somewhere in the middle, where I admit I was beginning to lose interest a little. Luckily, things pick up again for the latter chapters, leading to a satisfying ending.
Author K.J. Howe spent a lot of time on her research into kidnappings and conducted interviews with former hostages and negotiators. This shows throughout the book, as it’s obvious she knows what she’s talking about and seamlessly combines fact with fiction.
This thriller offers an intricate plot with lots of players that aren’t always what they seem. There is corruption, backstabbing, intrigue, betrayal, murders, explosions, a few twists … what more could you possibly want?
Many thanks to Mickey at Creative Edge for my copy of this book, which I chose to review honestly.
The Freedom Broker was published on February 7th.