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The Freedom Broker by K. J. Howe

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The Freedom Broker by K. J. Howe The Freedom Broker by K.J. Howe
Series: Thea Paris #1
Published by Quercus on February 7, 2017
Source: NetGalley
Genres: Thriller
Pages: 400
Format: eBook
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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?

I have to admit, I really enjoyed this action adventure/mystery novel. Thea’s job is get back people who have been kidnapped, whether through negotiation or rescue operations, and she’s good at it. So when her father is kidnapped she can’t trust anyone but her team to get him back. Of course, it’s not simple. We’ve got arms dealers and African politicians and oil magnates all vying for power, with her father smack dab in the middle of it. And we’ve got a love interest for Thea. It’s got a lot going on, but exciting and fast-paced.

Thea’s a great character, smart, tough, and skilled. She’s also a bit blinded by her feelings toward her family. This is one of those instances where the reader knows a lot more about what’s going on than the protagonist, but even at that there are a few surprising twists.

The author has clearly done her research into kidnappings and hostage situations. I also appreciated that Thea is a diabetic. It’s not often that we see women in fiction checking their blood sugar levels before jumping out of airplanes or worrying about whether her insulin will stay cool enough in the heat of the desert. Being diabetic doesn’t hamper Thea, it just means she has to be even more prepared.

Over all, a great start to a series. I’m looking forward to reading more, hopefully with a little less focus on crazy family drama.

About K.J. Howe

Kimberley Howe is the Executive Director of ThrillerFest. Thrillerfest is a conference of International Thriller Writers held every July in New York City. She is also a former medical, health, and fitness writer, as well as, a world traveler, cyclist, swimmer and tennis player.

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Dead Tide by Leighann Dobbs

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Dead Tide by Leighann Dobbs Dead Tide by Leighann Dobbs
Series: Blackmoore Sisters Mysteries #3
Published by the author on December 6, 2013
Source: instaFreebie
Genres: Mystery, Paranormal
Pages: 291
Format: eBook
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For three hundred years, the Blackmoore house has harbored a valuable secret ...

The Blackmoore sisters learn about this secret from the dying lips of the historian they hired to decipher their centuries old family journal. Too bad he never gets the chance to tell them exactly what he has uncovered...or where to find it.

But someone else knows where to find it, and they are prepared to take it from the Blackmoore’s no matter what the cost.

The sisters are forced to put their newly discovered paranormal powers to the test as they fight off treasure stealing pirates in between figuring out clues from ghosts, decoding an old journal, finding their way through an underground maze and dodging quicksand, bottomless pits and whirlpools.


Oh, and did I mention the dark and mysterious stranger that keeps showing up--is he friend or foe?

Of course, their trusty cat, Belladonna is around to give them a helping hand when they need it ... and she has a secret of her own.

Will the Blackmoore sisters be able to figure out where the treasure is and get to it before the dead tide turns and hides it for another three hundred years?

Mystery, magical power, romance – and pirates. It’s light and fun. This was one of my read-a-thon books and it was perfect. It’s a quick read, maybe a little unbelievable, but that’s okay since it’s so enjoyable.

The sisters are each discovering their own powers, like seeing ghosts or electric fighting powers – yeah, not sure about that one yet. I like how much they care for each other and how well they all work together. The plot is carried on from book #2; they’re hunting for the treasure and so are the bad guys. People end up dead, thankfully none of them. The mystery is not terribly strong here, but the girls and their men make up for it. It does veer strongly toward romance, so if you don’t like a love interest clogging up your mystery, avoid this series. I do enjoy it, when it works right, and it does for me with these stories.

I’m looking forward to reading the next. I think they’ll be heading out west for a book. We haven’t seen the sisters away from their home, I hope the formula works as well when they’re not in Maine.

About Leighann Dobbs

Leighann Dobbs is the pen name of a not so famous author who lives in New Hampshire with her husband, her trusty Chihuahua mix Mojo and her beautiful rescue cat, Kitty. She likes to write romance and cozy mystery short stories and novelettes perfect for the busy person on the go.

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A Fistful of Divas by Camille LaGuire

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A Fistful of Divas by Camille LaGuire A Fistful of Divas by Camille LaGuire
Series: Mick and Casey McKee
Published by the author on August 26, 2013
Source: Purchased
Genres: Mystery, Western, Short Story
Pages: 32
Format: eBook
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Young gunslinger detectives, Mick and Casey McKee, are eager to hear some opera singing. But when somebody takes a shot at some visiting divas, the concert is off. The ladies won't sing until Mick and Casey solve a case of blackmail and murder.

So I love Mick and Casey McKee. I wish there were more stories in the series. They are a gunslingers in the old west, a young married couple. And I do mean young. She’s maybe 17. He’s the talker, she’s the shooter and they make a great pair. This time around, the couple want to see singing at the local opera house. There’s a cute story why, involving Casey’s dad. Anyway, with these two nothing is ever simple. Just as they walk in to see who is warming up, there’s a shot, apparently aimed at one of the women on stage. If the ladies are going to feel safe enough to perform, Mick and Casey need to figure what’s going on and stop it.

The mystery was good, for a short story. The actual shooter’s identity is quickly established, but who hired him and why is the question. There are a couple clues and a nice, small list of suspects.

Like I said, I really enjoy the McKees. You get a good feeling for their relationship here. It’s not quite as good as the only full-length mystery in the series, Have Gun, Will Play, but it’s definitely worth the quick read.

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