K.J. Howe brings just as much excitement in this follow-up novel as her debut brought curious readers! Without a doubt, this piece keeps the reader’s attention through to the final page flip while packing a punch throughout. This goes to show that she is not a one-hit wonder and will likely make a name for herself for years to come. After securing the adoption of two young African boys with a London family, Thea Paris is flying with Ayan and Jabari to their new home. Trying to explain what to expect in the United Kingdom, Paris realises that these two know only the life of being child soldiers, but hopes this new beginning helps let them be children again. When the plane on which they are travelling is skyjacked, Thea is forced to go into work mode, trained as a kidnap and ransom negotiator with Quantum International Security. As events unfold upon their landing in the Libyan desert, Thea discovers that the group responsible has their eye on one particular passenger, but will not elaborate. Thea negotiates the release of the passengers, but only if she will make her way to Turkey and secure a transport vehicle for the hijackers. Baffled, Thea agrees to do whatever she can to help, especially if it means she can get to London and save these boys from more devastation. Meanwhile, Austrian teen Johann Dietrich comes to learn that his father heads up an ultra-nationalist group that seeks to rid the world of Arabs the world over, blaming them for a handful of recent terror attacks. Armed with this knowledge, Johann goes through channels to reach Thea Paris, hoping she can properly synthesise what is to come and the fallout. Johann tries to make his way to Turkey, but is not alone, and the results could be disastrous. WIth the passengers still being held hostage and armed with this news, Thea pieces together what is going on and how all of Europe could be in danger, if she does not act swiftly. Howe keeps the reader on the edge of their seat through to the final chapter in this sensational second thriller with a unique spin. Recommended for those who love the fast pace of hostage rescue with a political bent.
I remember reading Howe’s debut and being very impressed, not only with the writing style, but the unique angle she took when it came to kidnap thrillers. Her personal experiences are not only helpful in pulling factual information and weaving it into the story, but there is surely some of Howe in Paris’ character. Thea Paris is a tough-as-nails woman who takes her job seriously. Her compassion comes through in an attempt to get her young charges to London, but she is also full of determination when negotiating the release of hostages. The reader will surely latch onto her early in this piece, particularly if they have the backstory of the debut novel. Thea surrounds herself with some of the world’s best at Quantum, leaving the reader to see others who are well-versed in security and human extraction, all while trying to limit the bloodshed. The handful of other characters, from passengers to those promoting terror, all play their essential role in this piece, which keeps the story moving forward. The narrative and larger plot are both highly digestible and the attentive reader will find themselves engrossed with both as the pages fly by. Easily read in a few sittings, Howe shows that her ability to convey intense information flows smoothly. Of particular interest is the sub-plot about Arab extermination, specially the parallels that Howe makes with Hitler’s ‘Final Solution’ of the Jews. The reader can see that this is a plausible plan by some ultra-nationalist groups, particularly with the massive numbers of displaced individuals around Europe, though I am sure it could just as easily happen on other continents. Full of realistic situations backed up with intricate knowledge of goings-on, Howe’s novel is not only a must read, but will keep the reader thinking long after turning that final page.
Kudos, Madam Howe, for another strong novel. I love your ideas and presentation, hoping that Thea Paris has the energy to stick it out for a long time to come.
A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/248185-a-book-for-all-seasons