The following review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper. You can read all of our book reviews and author interviews by clicking on the Books category link in the right side bar.
Skyjackwill elevate author K. J. Howe to a level close to Tom Clancy. She follows up her riveting debut novel, The Freedom Broker, with another gripping thriller featuring kidnap and ransom expert Thea Paris.
Her assignment is to escort two orphaned African brothers, Jabari, 12, and Ayan, 9, to their new adoptive parents in London. The children had been forced into soldiering after seeing their parents murdered by Boko Haram. Now they will finally have a chance at a better life, a real childhood and education.In route, the chartered plane carrying Thea, the boys, and 12 other passengers is hijacked and lands in the Libyan Desert. Her long-time nemesis, Prospero Salvatore, the head of the Sicilian Mafia, forces herto intercept a truck full of Syrian refugees who are headed towards Budapest and supposedly exchange them for the plane hostages, including the boys.
Howe noted, “Since I am an avid flyer, although not a pilot, I started to think about the new security measures on planes including reinforced cockpit doors. I wanted to create a real buzz in the air so I thought how passengers surrender control to the pilot every time they step on a plane. Everyone must trust that the pilots have our best interests at heart, but what if they do not. Think of the German pilot that plowed the plane intentionally into a mountain or the Egyptian pilot that intentionally crashed the plane. I thought how different it is than getting into an Uber or bus where if something happens there is the possibility someone can take over.”
From the very first page readers are swept into the action as they are placed in the middle of a skyjacking, horrific weather conditions, and passengers whose medical conditions create a dangerous situation. As the story progresses it becomes apparent that things are not what they seem to be considering those involved are a part of an organization who intends to reduce the world’s population by releasing a virus killing those of Middle-Eastern origin. They will stop at nothing including brutal attacks and killings of innocents.
Thea’s backstory is also being further drawn out. It is heart-warming to have a female protagonist who can be an alpha. She is strong minded who can stand on her own with any male antagonist. Having the medical condition of diabetes does not slow her down.
Howe wanted to make sure Thea is “Smart, fearless, and vulnerable. It is incredibly important for me that girls have strong female protagonists to look up to. We have all these males: James Bond, Jack Reacher, and Jason Bourne. Where is the strong female? But, males are not turned off by her. In fact, a lot of my Special Forces guys enjoy reading her exploits. I think through her I am able to weed into the story both action and emotion.”
The intricate plot has action, manipulation, betrayal, murder, and political intrigue intertwined within family relationships. Anyone looking for a new series should read Howe’s books.