The Freedom Broker by K.J. Howe

Review published on May 12, 2017.

I sometimes wonder if there are a finite number of plots for crime and thriller novels? And I guess the more you read, the less books there are that can overwhelm and amaze you. That may sound as if I am heading for an underwhelming opinion of K.J. Howe’s debut novel, but I’m not. I really enjoyed it.

It’s a good book, but not a great book. It’s action packed. It’s one of those stories where you know it’s the good guys against the bad guys and because it’s a fiction you can be pretty sure the good guys will win, it’s a matter of how they do it, and how long that takes!

The book is populated with what I like to call ’Houdini Heroes’ who survive the most overwhelming of odds and emerge relatively unscathed. And in good contemporary fashion, at the forefront, is yet another feisty female who strives to be both Lisbeth Salander and Katniss Everdene but never quite makes it. But please don’t let that put you off for Thea Paris is an delightful tour de force and drives this novel along. Thea is a member of a K and R team who finds herself in the unenviable position of having to rescue her kidnapped father.

To return to my original premise, I felt I’d read it all before and if that sounds critical maybe it is but it didn’t detract from an easy, entertaining read. One song can have several interpretations that all work maybe thriller plots can too! And it does work here. Some of the intended red herrings were ordinary herring colour and I never thought I’d say it, but I am becoming quite an expert on munitions! Glocks and Sig Sauers hold no mystery for me any more. The final denouement was not so surprising, the clues were readily available. There was a tenuous opening for a sequel, maybe?

I found this a very visual novel. I could imaging it translating well to the big screen. (How about Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper as Thea and Rif?) There’s some morality and social comment thrown in for good measure.

Initials seem to be another contemporary totem for anticipated success andiIt worked successfully for J.K., and for S.J. to a certain degree, maybe it’ll work for K.J. too. The book is probably overlong, often a failing of debut novels and the writers’ unbridled enthusiasm. The acknowledgements went on for six pages!! Is this a record?

But if you like a good action packed thriller and are happy to be carried along with the unfolding events, I think you’ll enjoy this one.

Gill Chedgey 4/3

The Freedom Broker by K.J. Howe
Headline 9781472240323 pbk Jul 2017

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