The Freedom Broker is a ripping good story that injects the reader into the fast-paced intrigue of international kidnap negotiator Thea Paris and never lets up. Though not a big fan of the thriller genre, this one held me hostage from the first page.
Paris is a compelling heroine, more than holding her own through a mind-numbing series of dangerous hostage rescue operations that eventually target her father. Her blind spot (brother Nikos) and her Achilles heel (type 1 diabetes) do little to diminish the dazzling capabilities of this tactical dynamo—heck, she slays one deadly attacker in a dark alley with a single swing of her stylish stiletto.
The Paris family saga never runs short on thrill, suspense, action, and intrigue. Pitting Thea’s oil tycoon father against his hostage-turned-psychopath son, the tension and sometimes unnerving dynamics among Howe’s cast of well-drawn characters is captivating.
From the jungles of Columbia to the Aegean isle of Santorini, from Quantum Security headquarters in London to the oil-rich desert outpost of Kanzi, Africa, Howe keeps an unrelenting pace, using brilliant chapter segues to build momentum throughout. This author really knows how to create tension between characters and suspense in the storyline that will keep you pinned to the edge of your seat.
One weak link in this otherwise compelling narrative is the off-kilter sub-plot of Nikos’s early kidnapping at the age of twelve—nine months as a hostage turn him from a loving protective brother and son into a cold-blooded sociopath. Living a double life as a charitable entrepreneur under one name and notorious arms dealer under another, with a nasty habit of slashing people’s throats before they know what’s hit them, renders Nikos a less than plausible character in this reader’s opinion, yet one who savvy Thea is unwilling to see as he really is.
Howe’s exquisite attention to detail, nuance, layered plot lines, and complex characters make for an endlessly fascinating story that never stalls out. I highly recommend The Freedom Broker as an exhilarating read and enthusiastically look forward to the sequel.
Review by Dana Tibbetts (April 2019)
There are 25 elite kidnap negotiators who travel the world's hotspots to bring hostages home. Only one is a woman, and she is the best in the business. Thea Paris faces the most challenging case of her career--for a very special client. Her father.
ISBN/ASIN: 1543601286, 1681443104,
Book Format(s): Hard cover, Soft cover, Kindle, ePub/iBook, Audiobook
Review Genre: Fiction—Mystery/Thriller
Number of Pages: 377