Vigilante Justice – Sinful Deeds by Kristine Mason @KristineMason7

Kristine Mason has outdone herself in this thriller about four women who can’t get over their past and band together to create their own form of justice.

BUT…how far is too far?

Amazon US l Amazon UK l iBooks | Kobo | Google | Nook 

Goodreads

MY REVIEW

WHOA! Right out of the gate the horror begins and I feel for Lena, the terror she must feel as she crouches, hidden in her parents closet, praying the police will arrive.

OH NO! Please tell me it isn’t so. Kristine, WTF are you doing to me?

Now….we are into present day…

Vigilante justice. I know we can’t have everyone running out killing willy nilly in the name of justice, but DAMMIT, sometimes scum needs to be cleaned off the face of the earth.

Four women whose lives had been forever changed by tragedy, haunted by their past, unable to move on…found their answer….Retribution. The characters could be you or I, pushed beyond our limits.

When Poppy was dealing with Melissa at the PTA meeting, I loved it. Melissa was totally oblivious to Poppy’s true thoughts. LOL

“A badass PTA mom with a vendetta.”

A farmer with a bone to pick. A waitress serving justice. The characters are flawed with issues and secrets. Makes for some fantastic reading and my emotions are all over the place as I worry about what will happen to them in the end.

I see some ‘rocky’ times ahead for Jagger and Kenna. Jagger is a cop, working the Homicide Unit and Kenna is called in from CORE to help.  Both have issues with intimacy and relationships, but Kenna’s secret may be a bit bigger.  I do have a problem with Jag and his choice of the Ohio Buckeyes. Wolverines don’t care for nuts. LOL

The sexual tension, and playful teasing has been clean and light…so far, but I think all bets are off on Date #3. I do believe it will turn into a smoldering, sizzling hot romance.

I know they all have to ‘come together’ and I wonder at the ending. I am super curious to see how Kristine will handle Jag and Kenna as the story takes a drastic turn. I am worried because I love happy ever after, but how can it be possible? With CORE involved, anything is possible, isn’t it? CORE is a living, growing organism, making room for new characters through each story.

 Man oh man, Kristine how much longer you gonna drag me through the fire…I can’t believe where are you are taking this, but it sure tells me why vigilantism is a big NO!

Kristine definitely captured the meaning of romantic suspense. I love her ability to write humor and love into murder and monsters of the human kind. She can take something I know is coming, and twist and turn it to an even more grisly and jawdropping end, yet invoke a smile or two along the way. My expectations for her work is of the highest levels and she continually surpasses them.

I was right about my thoughts from the very beginning. I’m in your head Kristine. LOL

I voluntarily reviewed a free copy of Sinful Deeds by Kristine Mason.

Animated Animals. Pictures, Images and Photos 5 Stars

GOODREADS BLUB

When a group of female vigilantes are out for vengeance, heads are going to roll…

New to the Homicide Unit, Cleveland detective Jag Stone has been handed a skull and asked to identify the victim and killer. He turns to Dr. Kenna Jordon, anthropologist and forensic facial reconstructionist, to give the skull a face. When he meets Kenna, he’s immediately attracted to her beautiful smile and curves, and intrigued that she works for the criminal investigation agency C.O.R.E. What he likes best…Kenna will return to Chicago in less than six weeks. Jag likes easy, and has no interest in a committed relationship. With Kenna’s help, he’s hoping to solve his first case…then watch her go.

Until now, Kenna hasn’t wanted a relationship, either. Between working cases for C.O.R.E. and her job as an assistant professor at the University of Chicago, she hasn’t had the time. Only Jag is everything she wants in a man, and as they grow closer, it’s hard for her to keep her emotions in check. But a fairytale ending can never be, because she knows who the skull belongs to—and who has killed him. Three women. All wronged. All out for justice. All waiting for Kenna to admit she is one of them.

As the body count rises, and the vigilantes pressure Kenna, her conscience and loyalties are put to the test. But if she refuses to cooperate, will she be the next to die?

ABOUT KRISTINE MASON
 

AuthorPhoto_PerfectlyToxicKristine Mason is the bestselling author of the popular romantic suspense trilogies, C.O.R.E. Shadow, and Ultimate C.O.R.E. She is currently working on her next trilogy, C.O.R.E. Above the Law, along with a series of Psychic C.O.R.E. novellas.

Although Kristine has published a few contemporary romance novels, she focuses most of her energy on her romantic suspense stories, which she loves for their blend of dark mystery/suspense and sexy romance. She is fascinated with what makes people afraid, and is famous for her depraved villains whose crimes present massive obstacles for her heroes and heroines to overcome.

Kristine has a degree in journalism from Ohio State University and lives in Northeast Ohio with her husband, four kids, and two dogs. If she’s not writing, she’s chauffeuring kids, gardening, or collecting gnomes. Oh, and she makes a mean chocolate chip cookie!Connect with Kristine on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/kristinemasonauthor, Twitter https://twitter.com/KristineMason7 or email her at [email protected] You can also find out more about Kristine’s books at http://www.kristinemason.net

Blog Facebook Twitter  /  Goodreads Pinterest

  • You can see my Giveaways HERE.
  • You can see my Reviews HERE.
  • If you like what you see, why don’t you follow me?
  • animated smilies photo: animated animated.gifLook on the right sidebar and let’s talk.
  • Leave your link in the comments and I will drop by to see what’s shakin’.
  • Thanks for visiting fundinmental!

MY REVIEWS FOR KRISTINE MASON’S NOVELS

The Children Are Missing – Sinful Sacrifices by Kristine Mason @KristineMason7

Kristine Mason is a suspense and thriller author that remains at the top of my must have reading list. If you are not familiar with her, you are truly missing out on some fabulous stories that will keep you up all hours of the night, unable to stop reading.

Amazon US  /  Amazon UK  /  Goodreads

MY REVIEW

Kristine Mason starts Sinful Sacrifices out with a BANG, but that’s no surprise. She manages to hook me from beginning to end in all her books. She loves to share her blood and guts imagination.

Brennan managed to get a quick text off before the kidnappers confiscated their phones. Kristine’s bleak description of the rundown park they would hide in mirrored his feelings of despair. I lived in Rochester NY near Sea Breeze Water Park, so this was easy to visualize, looking other worldly, alien and forlorn. The danger is very real and escape is on their minds…all the time.

When it’s discovered a Senator’s son has been taken, CORE is called in and Chase makes his appearance. Also, the Senator insists the FBI be in on it and we meet Summer. Kristine likes her hotties and simmering romance with flawed characters and I am always eager to see what she puts them through.

The push and pull of romantic suspense is some of my favorite reading, after the initial thrills of whatever tragedy brought them together. Communication is one of the most difficult things to do and one of the most common problems in any relationship.

Strength is letting your shield down, showing your emotion, letting someone really know you. Men see it as more of a weakness…or are they truly from Mars and we will never understand them. I want Chase to put his big boy pants on, quit wallowing in denial and talk to Summer. How else can they heal the wounds of their breakup?

I love Chase’s cute attempt to ‘help’ Summer. But taking away her coffee…that can be hazardous to his health and considered cruel and unusual punishment. I too count on my coffee in the morning and I feel her frustration.

I laughed out loud when Summer gave herself the finger at her scowling face in the mirror.

I love the scene in the kitchen, him cooking her breakfast. Humor in the morning is a good thing…a great way to start the day.

Summer has a bad feeling, but I don’t see why. Is it just experience telling her she’s missing something? I do agree with Summer, because Kristine always has more than meets the eye going on. She can twist and turn a story with the best of them. Her writing makes me feel as if I am there, at times….with the kids in the ghostly run down park, with Summer and Chase as they struggle to come to terms.

The romance is complicated. Kristine Mason’s men have ways of slipping into your heart and never leaving.

She keeps the mystery of the leader alive making me use my powers of deduction to figure it out. A process of elimination, if you will, but it took me a long time to get there. Good luck trying to figure out the mastermind. 

Her stories are never about just a murder or just a kidnapping. They are elaborate, detailed, filled with convoluted characters whose motivation is of the most twisted and dark kind.

I voluntarily reviewed a copy of Sinful Sacrifices by Kristine Mason.

Animated Animals. Pictures, Images and Photos 4 Stars

GOODREADS

Some sacrifices lead to murder…

A ski trip turns deadly when a bus carrying boys from an elite high school is hijacked and driven to an old abandoned amusement park. With a frozen lake on one side, acres of forest on the other, and up against a blizzard and sub-zero temperatures, the teens are trapped and at the mercy of their kidnappers. They have less than forty-eight hours to escape before the gunmen make good on their threats and begin killing them…one by one.

Chase Sawyer, agent for the criminal investigative firm, CORE, was a badass Crisis Negotiator with the FBI until a hostage situation resulted in the deaths of innocents. In the fallout, he left the Bureau, left the woman he loved, and left town. When a ransom is demanded for the release of fifteen kidnapped teens, Chase returns to Cleveland to work with the FBI and is forced to deal with past mistakes, along with the woman who haunts his dreams.

FBI Agent Summer Raines wonders why she still loves Chase. Before their breakup she’d been questioning their relationship. The man never could commit, and after becoming a crisis negotiator, had turned controlling and distant. Yet, five months ago, when he’d been in Cleveland for an assignment, she’d let him into her house and bed, only to be left brokenhearted once again. Now he’s back and about to get a huge surprise…she’s pregnant with a child he never wanted.

Chase is in for the negotiation of his life as he and Summer work to rescue the hostages and find a killer before more innocent lives are sacrificed…

ABOUT KRISTINE MASON
 

AuthorPhoto_PerfectlyToxicKristine Mason is the bestselling author of the popular romantic suspense trilogies, C.O.R.E. Shadow, and Ultimate C.O.R.E. She is currently working on her next trilogy, C.O.R.E. Above the Law, along with a series of Psychic C.O.R.E. novellas.

Although Kristine has published a few contemporary romance novels, she focuses most of her energy on her romantic suspense stories, which she loves for their blend of dark mystery/suspense and sexy romance. She is fascinated with what makes people afraid, and is famous for her depraved villains whose crimes present massive obstacles for her heroes and heroines to overcome.

Kristine has a degree in journalism from Ohio State University and lives in Northeast Ohio with her husband, four kids, and two dogs. If she’s not writing, she’s chauffeuring kids, gardening, or collecting gnomes. Oh, and she makes a mean chocolate chip cookie!Connect with Kristine on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/kristinemasonauthor, Twitter https://twitter.com/KristineMason7 or email her at [email protected] You can also find out more about Kristine’s books at http://www.kristinemason.net

Blog Facebook Twitter  /  Goodreads Pinterest

  • You can see my Giveaways HERE.
  • You can see my Reviews HERE.
  • If you like what you see, why don’t you follow me?
  • animated smilies photo: animated animated.gifLook on the right sidebar and let’s talk.
  • Leave your link in the comments and I will drop by to see what’s shakin’.
  • Thanks for visiting fundinmental!

MY REVIEWS FOR KRISTINE MASON’S NOVELS

 

Giveaway & Review – A Desolate Hour by Mae Clair @MaeClair1 @SDSXXTours

 
I am sad to see The Mothman’s story end, but happy to have Mae Clair here to share her thoughts.
 

Cryptozoology, Urban Legend and Myths
By Mae Clair

The word “cryptozoology” is one that often leaves people scratching their heads. Simply put it’s a pseudo-science devoted to the study of creatures that may exist, but haven’t been proven to exist. Most commonly, Bigfoot and the Lochness Monster spring to mind. I love reading up on cryptozoology, urban legends and myth, so I thought I’d share my Top Ten:

  1. The Mothman
    I spent three years researching this winged “cryptid” including visiting the area where he was sighted in 1966-67, so of course he gets the number one position! My Point Pleasant Series incorporates the mythology of the Mothman, UFOs, Men In Black, and an ancient curse.
  2. The Lochness Monster
    I’ve been fascinated by Nessie since I was a kid. I honestly hope no one ever discovers she’s “real.” The mystery is far more compelling.
  3. The Van Meter Monster
    This gargoyle like creature haunted the town of Van Meter, Iowa during the autumn of 1903. Most of the eyewitness accounts were made by businesses men and other professionals who couldn’t afford to be viewed as “crackpots,” thus lending credence to the sightings.
  4. Jellyfish of the Air
    In 1953 William Reich and an assistant raised an “orgone-charged” rod into the air in the hopes of attracting invisible beings he believed co-existed in our in our dimension, but were invisible to the naked eye. Within five seconds, a huge jellyfish-like creature attached itself to the rod, becoming visible long enough for Leistig to capture it in a photograph.
  5. The Squonk
    I love the name! This Pennsylvania creature is reputed to be so hideous in appearance it spends its entire life sobbing and will vanish in a pool of tears if captured.
  6. The Hopkinsville Goblins
    Extraterrestrial visitors who descended on the Sutton family farm in August of 1955, terrorizing the Suttons and their guest. No evidence of a hoax was ever discovered, causing many to believe the events an authentic UFO encounter.
  7. Men in Black
    Mysterious men in black suits descended on the town of Point Pleasant, West Virginia in 1966-67 with the sole intention of warning UFO witnesses not to talk about their encounters.
  8. Scotland’s Dog Suicide Bridge
    Since the 1960s more than fifty dogs have leapt to their death from the Overtoun Bridge in Scotland. Even stranger, all the dogs jumped from the exact same spot, and each apparent “suicide” has occurred on pleasant, sunny days.
  9. Ley Lines
    It’s believed many of the old places of the Earth resonate with power—hillforts, crossroads, standing stones and old funerary paths among them. When these and other “ley markers” align in a geographical pattern, they create a hypothetical link capable of releasing powerful energy.
  10. The Snallygaster
    Maryland’s half-bird/half reptile creature was given enough credence in 1909 that Teddy Roosevelt almost canceled an African Safari to hunt it.

Thanks so much for the opportunity to share The Mothman’s story.

A DESOLATE HOUR
by Mae Clair
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Pub Date: 7/18/2017
 
MY REVIEW
 

This is the third book in the series, and the finale, so I will do my best to not include spoilers. Just make you want to run right out and buy this mystery series. If you are a creature feature lover, like me, this will be a must read collection you want on your reading shelf.

It’s nice to be back in Point Pleasant, with familiar friends and monsters, waiting for the next adventure to begin.

Book II left me feeling so sad for Mothman and I worry about what will become of him. He has lived for A Thousand Yesteryears, the only one of his kind.

The Ouija Board had foretold QM would become a part of Sarah’s life. WTH is QM?

The curse brought HIM to Point Pleasant.

Caden is a cop in Point Pleasant and knows the Mothman, and others, that I won’t speak about. You’ll have to meet them all yourself…and you might want to have someone with you when you do.

Lach is back and there is always trouble when he makes an appearance.

Stone amulets…a deadly blade…a curse

Shawn and Preech will play their part as the curse rises from the past, demanding retribution. You can never escape the past…innocent or guilty, it just doesn’t matter.

A Desolate Hour, great title by the way, has an aura of menace from the beginning.

“A Desolate Hour when a tear in time renders past and present in one.” How can that be anything but bad news?

When Mothman vanishes for long periods of time and everything is normal in Point Pleasant, I wonder where he goes, what he’s doing. He didn’t ask for his fate. Alone. Isolated. Angry. Suffering.

As the people and forces in Point Pleasant draw together, it is ‘the culmination of A Desolate Hour’, and the door closes on the Mothman’s story. Mae Clair did a bang up job with the ending, leaving me satisfied, but…

I am so sad to be leaving Point Pleasant and the marvelous characters and adventure I have had, but I do not despair. I know Mae Clair has another marvelous story up her sleeve and I aim to get my hands on it.

If you are a creature feature lover, if you crave reading about myths and legends, if you like to be scared and surprised, run and soar through the air, this is one series you don’t want to miss.

I voluntarily reviewed a copy of A Desolate Hour by Mae Clair.

Animated Animals. Pictures, Images and Photos  5 Stars

 
Sins of the past could destroy all of their futures . . .
 
For generations, Quentin Marsh’s family has seen its share of tragedy, though he
remains skeptical that their misfortunes are tied to a centuries-old
curse. But to placate his pregnant sister, Quentin makes the
pilgrimage to Point Pleasant, West Virginia, hoping to learn more
about the brutal murder of a Shawnee chief in the 1700s. Did one of
the Marsh ancestors have a hand in killing the chief —the man who
cursed the town with his dying breath?
While historian Sarah Sherman doesn’t believe in curses either, she’s compelled
to use her knowledge of Point Pleasant to uncover the long-buried
truth. The river town has had its own share of catastrophes, many
tied to the legendary Mothman, the winged creature said to haunt the
woods. But Quentin’s arrival soon reveals that she may have more of
a stake than she realized. It seems that she and Quentin possess
eerily similar family heirlooms. And the deeper the two of them dig
into the past, the more their search enrages the ancient mystical
forces surrounding Point Pleasant. As chaos and destruction start to
befall residents, can they beat the clock to break the curse before
the Mothman takes his ultimate revenge? . . .
 
 
Mae Clair opened a Pandora’s Box of characters when she was a child and never looked
back. Her father, an artist who tinkered with writing, encouraged her
to create make-believe worlds by spinning tales of far-off places on
summer nights beneath the stars.
Mae loves creating character-driven fiction in settings that vary from contemporary to
mythical. Wherever her pen takes her, she flavors her stories with
conflict, romance and elements of mystery. Married to her high school
sweetheart, she lives in Pennsylvania and is passionate about
writing, old photographs, a good Maine lobster tail and cats.
 
 
 
 
Follow the tour HERE
for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!
 
 
 
 
 
  • You can see my Giveaways HERE.
  • You can see my Reviews HERE.
  • If you like what you see, why don’t you follow me?
  • animated smilies photo: animated animated.gifLook on the right sidebar and let’ talk.
  • Leave your link in the comments and I will drop by to see what’s shakin’.
  • Thanks for visiting fundinmental!

New Release – Seeing Red by Sandra Brown @sandrabrown_NYT

I have been reading Sandra Brown for a long time now, and she never fails to delight me.

Seeing Red by Sandra Brown releases on 8.15.17.

I picked up a copy from Net Galley. Thank you, Sandra and Grand Central Publishing.

Seeing RedAmazon US  /  Amazon UK  /  Goodreads

MY REVIEW

Seeing Red by Sandra Brown has a great hook to start off, with lots of questions to be answered and I am eager to learn them all.

An act of terrorism brings them together., but Kerra never could have predicted what would happen next. Trouble seems to follow her and her life is in danger once again. But why?

Kerra’s a TV reporter. Glad she’s not the bloodthirsty, story at all costs type, or is she? Does she have some principles and ethics, or is she just playing Trapper?

I love flawed characters and Trapper is a good…bad boy, a handful for Kerra. I love his cocky, arrogant attitude and his soft side when he wants to show it. He’s a Private Investigator, the suspicious sort and will be by Kerra’s side until the danger passes. And I plan on stalking every step he takes.

Romance + Suspense = Fireworks.

“You’re everything bad boy wrong, which makes you everything desirable…”

I love all the sexually charged banter in romantic suspense, the frustration and humor. Kerra and Trapper manage to supply me with plenty to smile about…and I do want to smack them upside the head occasionally.

I don’t know exactly why, but I kept putting it down, reading something else, and coming back to it. Not enough action and suspense? Read too many thrillers in a row and need a change? BUT, now that all the pieces are coming together, we have surprise after surprise and I am all in.

The bad guys list is growing and man am I getting POed. I am twisting, turning, wondering who will have to fall, and I mean drop dead, before it’s over.

I knew there would be greed, corruption, and betrayal, but I didn’t see all this coming.Thank you, Sandra, for making the last quarter of the book so nail bitingly suspenseful and unpredictable, that I couldn’t quit reading until I reached the happy ever after ending.

I voluntarily reviewed an ARC of Seeing Red by Sandra Brown.

Animated Animals. Pictures, Images and Photos  4 Stars

GOODREADS BLURB

#1 New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Sandra Brown delivers her trademark nonstop suspense and supercharged sexual tension in this thriller about tainted heroism, cold fury, and vengeance without mercy. Kerra Bailey is a television journalist on the rise, and she’s hot on the trail of a story guaranteed to skyrocket her career to even greater heights: an interview with the legendary Major Trapper. Twenty-five years ago, the Major emerged a hero from the bombing of the Pegasus Hotel in downtown Dallas when he was photographed leading a handful of survivors out of the collapsing building. The iconic picture transformed him into a beloved national icon, in constant demand for speeches and interviews–until he suddenly dropped out of the public eye, shunning all members of the media. However, Kerra is willing to use any means necessary to get to the Major–even if she has to wrangle an introduction from his estranged son, former ATF agent John Trapper.

Still seething over his break with both the ATF and his father, John Trapper wants no association with the hotel bombing or his hero father, and spurns the meddling reporters determined to drag them back into the limelight. Yet Kerra’s sheer audacity and tantalizing hints that there’s more to the story rouse Trapper’s interest despite himself. And when her interview of a lifetime goes catastrophically awry–with unknown assailants targeting not only the Major, but also Kerra–Trapper realizes he needs her under wraps if he’s going to track down the gunmen before they strike again . . . as well as discover, finally, who was responsible for the Pegasus bombing.

Kerra is wary of a man so charming one moment and dangerous the next, and she knows Trapper is withholding evidence collected during his ATF investigation into the bombing. But having no one else to trust and enemies lurking closer than they know, Kerra and Trapper join forces and risk their very lives to expose a sinuous network of lies and conspiracy running deep through Texas–and uncover who would want a national hero dead.

ABOUT SANDRA BROWN

Sandra BrownSandra Brown is the author of more than sixty New York Times bestsellers, including FRICTION (2015), MEAN STREAK (2014), DEADLINE(2013), LOW PRESSURE (2012), LETHAL (2011), & TOUGH CUSTOMER (2010).

Brown began her writing career in 1981 and since then has published over seventy novels, bringing the number of copies of her books in print worldwide to upwards of eighty million. Her work has been translated into over thirty languages.

In 2009 Brown detoured from romantic suspense to write, Rainwater, a much acclaimed, powerfully moving historical fiction story about honor and sacrifice during the Great Depression.

Brown was given an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Texas Christian University. She was named Thriller Master for 2008, the top award given by the International Thriller Writer’s Association. Other awards and commendations include the 2007 Texas Medal of Arts Award for Literature and the Romance Writers of America’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

Website  /  Twitter  /  Facebook  /  Pinterest  /  YouTube

MY REVIEWS FOR SANDRA BROWN

Mean Streak

  • You can see my Giveaways HERE.
  • You can see my Reviews HERE.
  • If you like what you see, why don’t you follow me?
  • animated smilies photo: animated animated.gifLook on the right sidebar and let’ talk.
  • Leave your link in the comments and I will drop by to see what’s shakin’.
  • Thanks for visiting fundinmental!

 

Giveaway – The Freedom Broker by K J Howe @KJHoweAuthor @SDSXXTours

 .
Everything about The Freedom Broker by K J Howe speaks to me.
Soooo….let’s check it out, shall we?
.
The Freedom Broker
by KJ Howe
Genre: Thriller
.
MY REVIEW
.
Everything about The Freedom Broker by K J Howe, spoke to me. I am always on the lookout for strong female characters that are different, that walk to the beat of their own drum and Thea does that in spades. The thrills and chill begin early and never let up.
 
I don’t feel I did this book justice in my review. For some reason, the words won’t come for the level of feelings I had for some of the characters…not the rich and famous…but the ones caught up in the maelstrom, for the sense of truth I felt throughout the story, even though I know it’s fiction. The level of brutality someone can callously inflict on another is indescribable.
 
All hell breaks loose in Africa.
.
We have action from the beginning…a hostage to be rescued in Nigeria.
 
Kidnapping is big business. Thea is one of the top negotiators in the world and the only female. Her team is the best of the best. When her father is taken, she will pull out all the stops to save him. There is no way she will step aside and let others run the investigation.
 
Thea is not so much flawed or disabled, she just has to stay in tune with her body. She has diabetes, but it doesn’t stop her from trudging through jungles, fully geared up, fighting alongside men twice her size.
 
Bullets are fired, throats are slit, bombs are exploding, bodies are literally falling off the cliffs, a plane crashing, and as the body count rises, so does the mystery for those investigating Christo Paris’ kidnapping.
  
The brutal torture, starvation and filth the kidnapped endure is only compounded by the mental isolation and helplessness. Professional kidnappers, terrorists, political agendas.
 
I was stunned at Ares’ true identity. He is wanted worldwide for gun trafficking, kidnapping and murder. This is really bad. Every time HE comes near Thea, I fear for her. When she does figure it out, I wonder what will happen.
 
Every time I begin to relax, trying to put the pieces together, some danger rears its ugly head and more people die.
 
An aura of danger permeates every page. We have many convoluted machinations within multiple factions, each with their own agenda. Betrayal…that word does not begin to describe what happens. I keep waiting…waiting…waiting…for her to learn the truth.
 
The Freedom Broker by K J Howe is one of those books that reads like a true story filled with death and danger. The research K J Howe has done shines through.
 
I voluntarily reviewed a copy of The Freedom Broker by K J Howe.

Animated Animals. Pictures, Images and Photos  5 Stars

 
KIDNAP & RANSOM
IN-DEPTH RESEARCH FOR CANADIAN AUTHOR’S DEBUT INTERNATIONAL THRILLER
There are twenty-five elite kidnap negotiators in the world. Only one is a
woman. And she’s the best in the business. Meet Thea Paris in THE
FREEDOM BROKER.
With over 40,000 reported kidnappings every year—which
translates to five people every hour
—the
world of kidnap and ransom is taking on a newsworthy role across the
globe. Displaced military and police in third world countries have no
way to put food on the table, but they do have security skills, so
they have turned to kidnapping as a way of making a living. Also,
terrorists are using kidnapping as a fundraising enterprise, filling
their coffers with over 125 million dollars since 2009. Kidnappers
used to only abduct high net-worth individuals and executives of
multi-national organizations. Not anymore. Journalists, aid workers,
and family members of executives have now become high value targets.
Kidnapping is a growing international crisis. What tools do we have to fight
against this increasing threat? There are twenty-five elite kidnap
negotiators who travel to the globe’s hotspots to bring hostages
home, through negotiation or recovery, and they are called response
consultants or freedom
brokers
. Local to Toronto, author K.J. Howe has immersed herself in the world
of kidnapping for the last three years, interviewing kidnap
negotiators, former hostages, kidnap and ransom insurance executives,
hostage reintegration experts, psychiatrists specializing in the
captive’s mindset, and the Special Forces soldiers who deliver
ransoms and execute rescues.
Howe’s research culminates into her debut thriller, THE FREEDOM BROKER,
published by the Hachette Book Group under the Quercus imprint in the
US, Canada, U.K. and many foreign territories. The book has reached
attention North America wide, and has led to reviewers such as #1
NYT Bestseller James Patterson
calling
it “fact and fiction at its best.”
 
 
K.J. Howe’s novel has received positive and international acclaim from some of North
America’s most influential mediums and authors including:

TIME Magazine called the book a “Dark Delight.”
 

#1 NYT Bestseller Lee Child endorses
the book: “Razor sharp and full of you-are-there authenticity—a
superb thriller.”
 

NYT Bestseller Linwood Barclay shares, “Breathless
action, great characters, and convincing details make Howe’s debut
a surefire rocket to the top of the lists.”
 

In The Providence Journal,
USA Today Bestselling author Jon Land reviews,
“The
Freedom Broker is a blisteringly original, superbly crafted thriller
that promises to be one of the major debuts of 2017. K.J. Howe’s
gut-wrenching foray into the world of hostage negotiation turned
upside down propels her straight into the league of Linda Fairstein,
Tess Gerritsen, Lisa Scottoline, and Karin Slaughter, thanks to a
tale framed by an emotional complexity and structural elegance both
rare for the genre. As riveting as it is bracing, this is reading
entertainment at its absolute best.”
 
EXCERPT
CHAPTER ONE

500 feet above Kwale, Nigeria
November 1st
2:30 a.m.

Thea Paris knew the drill.

If the mission failed, no one would retrieve her body. She’d be left to rot in the jungle, unidentified and forgotten. And that wouldn’t do. She couldn’t miss her father’s 60th celebration.

Her gloved hand glided over her flak jacket and M4 with practiced ease. Night vision goggles, flares, grenades, extra magazines—all easy to access. The weapon had been tested, cleaned and oiled, ready to combat the humidity of the jungle. Pre-mission checks done.

The hypnotic purr of the resurrected Hughes 500P helicopter set the tone for the operation. Black, in every sense of the word. Sound, movement, light, all kept to a minimum. They were flying Nap-of-the-Earth; low, utilizing the terrain to stay below the radar.

As operational commander, she’d led her seven-man team through endless rehearsals, using a model of the targeted area. Now it was time for execution. Brown listened to Hendrix in his earbuds, his way of psyching up. Johansson stared into space, probably thinking about his pregnant wife who wasn’t happy he’d accepted this mission. Team A, following behind in the other gutted chopper, consisted of twin brothers Neil and Stewart—yep, born in Scotland—and a wizened former French Foreign Legionnaire named Jean-Luc who could outshoot them all. She’d handpicked each one from the pool of operatives at Quantum International Security.

Except Rifat Asker, her boss’ son.

Who was staring at her. They’d known each other since they’d been kids, as their fathers were best friends. Rif had serious combat skills, but they often locked horns on methods of execution. She traced the S-shaped scar on her right cheek, a permanent reminder of Rif clashing with her brother Nikos.

She pressed a special app button on her smartphone. The glucose monitor read 105. Batteries were fully charged. Perfect. Nothing screwed up a mission more than low blood sugar. She slipped her phone into the pocket of her fatigues beside her glucagon kit. Rif’s assessing gaze still focused on her. Did he suspect she had diabetes? She’d done her best to keep her illness under wraps. Competition was tough among this elite group, and she didn’t want anyone thinking she wasn’t up for the job.

The pilot’s voice crackled in her earpiece. “Three minutes to touchdown.”

“Roger that. We’re green here.”

The second helicopter followed somewhere behind them, but the stormy sky obliterated all evidence of its existence. She wiped her damp palms on her fatigues. Rain rattled the chopper’s fuselage, and the turbulence unsettled her stomach. Flying had never been her strong suit. The reduced visibility worked in their favor, but the cloying humidity and heat degraded the airtime and performance of the chopper. To compensate, they’d reduced their fuel load to stay as light as possible, but that left only a minimal buffer for problems.

Rif shifted to face Brown and Johansson. “Okay, boys, let’s grab this ‘Oil Eagle’.”

The hostage, John Sampson, an oil executive based in Texas, earned high six figures to visit remote drilling sites and increase their output. Sampson had two kids, and his wife taught third grade. He coached baseball every Thursday night, but he’d missed the last ten weeks because he’d been held captive in the swamp by MEND—Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger-Delta. Seemed like every terrorist group had some catchy acronym, like they’d hired PR firms to come up with them.

This Nigerian militant group wouldn’t budge from a three-million-dollar demand, and Sampson’s kidnapping insurance topped out at one mil. That left one option. Rescue. But one out of five was the success rate for extractions.

“One minute until touchdown,” the pilot warned.

She slipped on her night vision goggles and clutched the straps anchored to the cabin walls.

“You sure there’s no leak?” Black camo paint emphasized the tension in the lines around Rif’s eyes.

“Roger that.” She concentrated on the positives—always better than bleak thoughts when descending into hellfire. They should have the element of surprise, and she’d selected a crackerjack team. Every member would put his life on the line for the others, and their combined combat experience read like the Ivy League of special ops.

The pilot threaded the riverbed using the narrow view provided by the FLIR camera mounted near the skids. Flying into the thick jungle on a moonless night was far from optimal, but their intel was time sensitive. They had to get Sampson out tonight.

“Thirty seconds.” The pilot’s warning was like a shot of caffeine injected into her veins.

They’d arrived at a small clearing in the triple canopy jungle two miles from the rebel camp. A film of perspiration coated her back. Her body tingled. Alive, awake, adrenalized.

“Ten seconds.”

The pilot raised the bird’s nose, flaring to a hover, then settled onto the grass. She nodded to her team, and they hit the ground and rolled away from the chopper. Heat emanated from the rotorwash, as their transport rose up and away.

A moldy stench flooded her mouth and nose, the residual effect of endless rainy seasons. They huddled in the thick bush while the other Hughes dropped off Jean-Luc and the two Scots. She scanned the area. The choppers faded into the distance, their peculiar silhouettes showcasing the modifications for stealth.

Night sounds returned. Crickets chirping, water gurgling from the nearby river bed, the ominous roar of a hippo. She checked her GPS, signaled Rif, and entered the dense foliage. Forty-two minutes to execute the rescue, rendezvous with the helicopters, and get the hell out of here. She circumnavigated the heaviest brush, then froze.

A sound. Scuffling in the bushes. Her hands tightened on her M4. A sentry so close to their launch point?

She glanced over her shoulder. Rif’s large frame crouched two feet behind her. Brown and Johansson squatted beside him while Team A covered the rear. The shrubbery to their left rippled in the brisk breeze.

Silence. A mosquito implanted itself in her neck. She ignored the sharp sting.

A branch snapped. She flicked off the safety.

Crunching footsteps. A shrill cry.

She scanned right, left. Movement flashed in front of them at ground level.

Her finger hovered beside the trigger.

More footsteps.

A porcupine scurried across their ingress route, its quills in full attack mode.

She exhaled a long breath and gave Brown a half-smile. Dammit to hell. She’d almost shot the prickly creature, which would have blown their cover. Brown touched the rabbit’s foot around his neck and nodded. Good luck charms were an operational must. She always wore the St. Barbara silver pendant her father had given her on her twelfth birthday. It hadn’t let her down yet.

The two teams traversed the unfriendly terrain, minimizing any disturbance of the bush. Animal sounds punctuated the night, the rainfall a constant backdrop. She scouted the path, moving cautiously in the darkness. At the edge of the ridge, she paused. Faint flames from a fire kicked her heart into overdrive. The outskirts of the MEND camp lurked below.

She scoured the area. No sign of sentries along the bluff. She squeezed Rif’s arm, signaling him to lead Team A down the escarpment. They’d have a rough time of it. The earth was thick, muddy, slick.

Thea, Brown, and Johansson remained on the curved ridge. As commander, she needed a bird’s eye view. Brown and Johansson flanked her, positioned to counter any patrolling rebels.

She cloaked herself in shrubbery and settled into her hide. They’d mapped all the major landmarks from satellite images: the rebels’ weapons hut perched beside the acacia trees, a large shelter to the west sequestered in the jungle, and five small buildings rooted in the southwest quadrant. Outbuilding Tango held their hostage, a quarter mile away.

She waited and watched for what seemed to be an eternity, rain seeping into her shirt mixing with sweat, leaving her skin clammy and cold. Her mind went to the weirdest places during missions—she pictured this sodden landscape as an ideal backdrop for a waterproof mascara ad.

A tiny shiver darted across her shoulders. The world was preternaturally still, quiet—like death had already arrived. Twenty-five precious minutes had evaporated. Not good.

Precise and measured, she nestled her rifle into the overhang. Her breathing slowed. She scanned the area, pursing her lips, the familiar taste of camo grease comforting her.

A soft hiss whispered in her earpiece, then Rif came on. “Going for the Eagle.” Team A hovered on the outskirts of the camp.

Muffled laughter echoed in the distance. A few rebels huddled by the campfire, undoubtedly trying to ward off the dampness with some kai-kai, a local palm liquor.

“Six hostiles by the fire with AK-47s. You’re good to go.” Her voice was barely audible. They had to assume MEND had guards posted. Double-crosses dominated the rebels’ lives, making them especially paranoid.

Footsteps sounded nearby. She froze. Definitely a human cadence. The soft glow of a cigarette caught her eye. A rebel headed straight for her.

Time for cocktail hour. She eased her hand into her pack and pulled out the tranquilizer gun, her fingers brushing the ballistic syringe loaded with an immobilizing drug.

The rebel cleared his throat and continued his patrol, oblivious. She waited, keeping her breath even, her body motionless. He stepped into range. In one motion, she twisted her body, lifted the tranquilizer gun, and fired. The rebel grunted and slapped at his neck, as if swatting an insect. Seconds later, he slumped to the ground.

She scrambled over to him and poked him with the toe of her boot. No response. She crushed his cigarette into the wet earth and secured his hands and feet with plastic cuffs, slapping duct tape on his mouth. They should be long gone before he woke.

Thea’s skin was slick as the rain continued to batter the earth. She glanced at her stopwatch—another four and a half minutes had passed since Team A had entered the camp. Glancing to the southwest, she waited for Rif and his team to return with the hostage, anxious to hear the code “gusher,” meaning the hostage had been found.

Minutes ticked by, and nothing. Her nerves were tighter than the strings on a Stradivarius.

Her radio buzzed. Rif’s measured voice came through. “Dry well. The Eagle isn’t in Tango.”

She sucked in air. Intel from two hours ago had confirmed Sampson’s location in that outbuilding. He must’ve been moved.

“Abort.” It killed her to do this, but she couldn’t endanger her team members’ lives by ordering an exploration of the camp. There wasn’t enough time. They’d tried—and failed. The intel was bad. End of story. End of mission.

Silence greeted her. Dammit. Rif was a pro; he knew to respond to her command.

“Abort mission. Confirm.” She scanned the camp. A few more rebels joined the group around the fire.

Rif’s voice filled the silence. “Give me three minutes, over.”

No way. Three minutes was a lifetime. They needed to leave immediately to meet the choppers.

“I repeat, abort mission, over.”

Silence.

Her earpiece finally crackled. “Wait, out.” Operator speak for bugger off, I’m busy. Rif had spent years in Delta Force, but this wasn’t the U.S. Army. She was in charge of this mission, and he was defying orders.

Before she could respond, shots fired below at the base camp. No more hiding in the shadows. Time to bring it.

“Go active,” she commanded her team.

The men from the campfire scrambled for their weapons while Brown and Johansson blasted their M4s from their positions on the ridge. Figures dropped to the muddy earth. Bullets ripped through the night, and the scent of gunpowder flooded her nostrils.

“Brown, take your shot.” He was responsible for disabling the rebels’ ammo hut with the grenade launcher.

“Eyes shut,” Brown warned, protecting the team’s vision from the bright lights of the explosion since they all wore night vision goggles. Seconds later, the building erupted in a burst of crimson flames.

The sound of metal hitting rock sharpened her focus. Bullets showered the area around her. She pressed her chin into the mud, flattened her body, and returned fire.

A group of rebels stormed toward the cliffside, but the team’s NVGs made the figures easy targets. Blasts reverberated across the valley as muzzle flashes flared.

“Return to home base, over.” Her voice remained calm, but four-letter words ricocheted through her brain.

Where was Rif?

She spotted rebels at the base of the hill, the men cutting off Team A’s egress route. Dammit to hell. Well, “all in” was obviously the theme of the day.

“Cover me, Brown.” She jumped up from her hide and ran down the slippery hillside, her footing uncertain in the muck. Before the rebels could react to her presence, she pressed the trigger on her M4, rattling off round after round. She slammed in a fresh magazine and kept firing. Several men fell, others ran for cover. She continued the barrage. The egress route was clear. At least now Rif and the others had a chance of getting out.

Her radio buzzed. “Bravo four, hit.” Johansson’s voice was reedy. He’d been shot.

The northeast wasn’t covered, and Rif was AWOL. It was up to her to help Jo.

She pressed the talk button. “Coming, Jo. Brown, watch my back.”

Sprinting back up the hill, she traversed the ridge toward Johansson, mud sucking at her combat boots.

Fifty feet. She pushed harder.

Thirty.

Ten.

Bullets peppered the air around her. She dove behind the tree.

Her forearms bore the brunt of her landing, the pain rumbling up to her shoulders. She scrambled forward on her belly and checked Johansson. Blood seeped from his shoulder. His face was ashen, his eyes unfocused. She grabbed a quick clot from the first aid kit in Jo’s backpack and placed it on his wound. “I’m too scared to face your hormonal wife alone, so keep your shit together.”

He gave her a weak smile.

She secured the morphine syringe from his front pocket and injected him. He’d be lost in the hazy world of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon soon enough.

A group of rebels climbed the embankment. Brown maintained his disciplined fire, but couldn’t keep up. She aimed at the oncoming attackers and pressed the trigger. Several men fell. She shoved a fresh magazine into her M4.

Figures appeared in the mist, the heat of their bodies a hazy green through the night vision goggles. She counted them. Four. The tallest one, Rif, had a body slung over his right shoulder. Sampson. They’d found him, but she couldn’t tell if the hostage was dead or alive.

“Jo, Team A’s back. Can you walk?” Her breath was rapid and shallow.

“Hell, yes.”

Not sure she believed him, given he was on morphine. She was strong for a buck thirty lightweight, but couldn’t run while carrying over two hundred pounds. They’d be an easy mark for the rebels.

Rif’s team had reached the ridge.

“Stand up, Soldier.”

Johansson groaned. “My wife’s going to kill me.”

“No time for marriage counselling.” She helped him to his feet. He stumbled, unsteady in the mud. She wrapped his arm around her shoulder, supporting his weight. “Let’s get you home, Papa-To-Be.”

The faint sound of incoming rotorwash spurred her. They only had a few minutes to reach the clearing.

A burst of nearby gunfire startled her. She looked up, prepared to shoot, but she recognized Rif’s lanky frame running across the ridge. He joined them behind a massive tree. Rain had smeared the black camo paint, giving his face a sinister look. “Team A’s headed back to the clearing with Sampson.” He slung his rifle across his back and hoisted Johansson over his shoulder. “Cover me.”

She stormed after them, heart and rifle on full auto. The rebels dove for shelter as she and Brown laid down suppressing fire. She shouted at Brown. “Chopper!” All of her teammates needed to be on the Hughes before she would jump in.

The three of them sprinted for the clearing as another onslaught of bullets barraged the surrounding trees. She used a large mangrove for cover and returned fire, giving Rif time to help Johansson to safety.

She zigzagged across the open field. Her chopper rested in a valley a hundred meters away. The other Hughes holding Team A and Sampson lifted off into the rain. Bullets whipped by. A sharp sting flared in her arm as she plowed through the thick underbrush. She ignored the pain and ran faster.

She scrambled down the gorge and dove inside the chopper. Johansson, Brown, and Rif were already on board. She ripped off her night vision goggles and grabbed her headset.

“Go!” she yelled at the pilot.

“Hold tight.”

The winds gusted from the east, which meant they had to power up while heading straight into the barrels of the rebels’ AK-47s. The rotorblades strained as a group of armed men ran toward the Hughes. Come on, come on. Her fingernails dug into her palms. They plunged straight into live fire like a flying piñata.

She kept her gaze straight ahead, willing the chopper to reach 60 knots so they could turn. Seconds felt like hours as they finally accelerated and swerved away from the camp. She glanced into the cockpit. The pilot’s shirt was soaked.

Rif glanced at the blood on her sleeve. “You hit?”

“Just a graze.” She stared at the holes in the fuselage, realizing just how close a call it’d been—and how Rif changing the plan mid-mission could have cost her teammates their lives.

“Is Sampson okay?” After all this, she prayed the hostage was alive.

“He’s dehydrated and a bit roughed up, but he’ll make it.”

“Amen for that.” Saint Barbara had done her job again. Thea slumped against the fuselage, grateful the rebels didn’t have an RPG. She checked her phone. As expected, the intense stress had skyrocketed her blood sugar levels. But the insulin would counteract that soon enough.

She inhaled a deep breath. Another hostage safely returned by Quantum International Security. Looks like she’d make Papa’s party, after all.

 

 
 
 
 
 
Born in Toronto, Canada, K.J. enjoyed a nomadic lifestyle during her early
years, living in Africa, the Middle East, Europe, and the Caribbean,
which gave her an insider’s view into many different cultures.
While abroad, she read every book she could find, which triggered in
her a desire to create her own stories.
She attended Salzburg International Preparatory School, Neuchâtel Junior
College, and Albert College before earning a Specialists Degree in
Business from the University of Toronto. K.J. found success in the
corporate world, but her passion for travel, adventure, and stories
drew her back to school where she earned a Masters in Writing Popular
Fiction from Seton Hill University. She also won several writing
awards, including three Daphne du Maurier Awards for Excellence in
Mystery and Suspense.
While honing her fiction skills, K.J. worked as a medical, health, and
fitness writer. She then became involved with the International
Thriller Writers as the executive director of ThrillerFest, the
organization’s annual conference held every July in New York City.
In preparation for writing THE FREEDOM BROKER series, which focuses on
elite kidnap negotiator Thea Paris, K.J. spent extensive time
researching the dark world of kidnapping. She has interviewed former
hostages, negotiators, hostage reintegration experts, Special Forces
operatives, and K&R insurance executives.
K.J. is an avid tennis player, cyclist, and swimmer. Travel and adventure
still rank high on her priority list. She has had the pleasure of
riding racing camels in Jordan, surfing in Hawaii, zip lining in the
Costa Rican jungle, diving alongside Great White Sharks in South
Africa, studying modern combat in the Arizona desert, and
working with elephants in Botswana. Home is in Toronto, Canada, but
she is often missing in action.
K.J. Howe is available for interviews and appearances along with
presentations about kidnapping and travel safety. For media
appearances, interviews, speaking engagements, and/or book review
requests please contact [email protected] by email or by
phone at 403.464.6925.
 
 
 
 
 
Follow the tour HERE
for exclusive excerpts and a giveaway
!
 
 
 
 
 
  • You can see my Giveaways HERE.
  • You can see my Reviews HERE.
  • If you like what you see, why don’t you follow me?
  • animated smilies photo: animated animated.gifLook on the right sidebar and let’ talk.
  • Leave your link in the comments and I will drop by to see what’s shakin’.
  • Thanks for visiting fundinmental!