A thrilling kidnap-and-ransom sequel that stands on its own beautifully
Thea Paris, an international kidnap expert, is on a plane traveling from Africa to London when it is suddenly hijacked and forced to land in the Libyan Desert. With no outside help to rely on, Thea must not only find a way to save the two former child soldiers who are under her care, but all of the frightened passengers aboard the plane, as well. When the hijacker turns out to be an old nemesis from the not so distant past, he makes a deal with Thea: she must hijack a truckload of Syrian refugees bound for Budapest and, once they have been delivered to him, he will let the boys and the passengers go free. As her nemesis takes the plane with the hostages to an unknown location, Thea and her team must hurry and locate the truck before any harm comes to them. However, what started as a hijack turns into a deadly conspiracy that could cost the lives of millions across Europe and the Middle East.
One can only imagine and fear what it would be like to be on a plane that is hijacked mid-flight. It is a rare occurrence, but something that could potentially happen to anyone who flies. Author K.J. Howe gives readers the chance to witness first hand a hijack in action in Skyjack, an edge-of-the-seat thriller and the second book in her Thea Paris kidnap-and-ransom novels.
This book has a perfect blend of every element readers look for in a thriller: action, mystery, suspense, surprises, humor, sincerity, good, evil, and more. This is all thanks to Howe’s incredible talent as she has a knack for seamlessly blending elements together to create a very enjoyable reading experience. Her writing style contains the perfect combination of detail and dialog, not giving too much attention to either element, but just the right amount to each. She keeps readers on the edge of their seat with her perfect blend of thrills and mystery, keeping readers guessing until the very end. She also she shares the point of view of both the good and the bad characters, giving readers a rare inside look as to what is happening on both sides of the spectrum.
Just by looking at the cover, one would never know Skyjack was a sequel and it does not even read like a sequel, so if readers were to pick it up and read it without having read the first Thea Paris book The Freedom Broker, they would be able to follow all of the events that are happening. The novel does refer back to elements in the first book that pertain to events in the second, but does so in a way that gives readers insight as to what has happened in a briefly detailed way that will allow the readers to no become lost on any details. Readers may actually become more curious to read The Freedom Broker upon finishing the sequel, but Skyjack does stand on its own beautifully.
What makes for a good thriller novel is the mystery within the story and the author throwing unexpected twists that the audience doesn’t see coming. Howe succeeds with this element for readers follow multiple characters throughout the story, yet readers will find a surprise or hidden twist with each. Even the title of the book throws a twist for one would think that a good portion of a story titled Skyjack would take place on the hijacked plane; however, it does not. Only a small portion does, but this in no way takes away from the story. If anything, it makes the reading experience even more intriguing because readers get to travel to various places around the globe with the characters
Of course, what would a story be without characters and Howe’s are rather in-depth, incredibly developed, and very well-written. With a plethora of characters to work with, Howe managed to give each character his or her own unique personality. Thea is a strong independent woman who keeps calm in stressful situations and will do whatever it takes to protect and save others, whether they are people she loves or complete strangers. Jabari and Ayan, the brothers who were once children soldiers, just want to get to their new parents in London; however, the soldier hidden within each of them comes out to protect themselves as well as those they care about. Johann, a teenage boy who is thrust into a situation by his father that he never asked to be a part of, takes a chance to rebel. He is terrified, yet will defy his own father to save the lives of millions. Even the hostages of the hijacked plane have their own unique and realistic personalities for in intense situations, the human body will go into “fight or flight” mode, and the passengers in Skyjack portray both sides at varying degrees.
Even the main villain of the story, Thea’s nemesis, is so complex that he can even become sympathetic in the readers’ eyes. As aforementioned, Howe has a knack for writing from both the good characters’ point of view as well as the bad characters’. This allows readers to always know what is going on on both sides of the battle; however, Howe also manages to maintain an air of mystery and uncertainty when it comes to what the villain’s true intentions are until the end of the story.
Skyjack is the next book readers will want to extend their lunch periods for or will want to take a sick day just to finish it. It is a story that has everything fans of thriller/ mystery novels love and Howe offers remarkable talent to the genre and has most certainly impressed with her Thea Paris series so far. Even with Skyjack being a sequel, it does not read like one and still offers an excellent introduction to both this new series and its author. The ending did seem a bit rushed, but it did not take away from the story in the least and it even hinted at more to come. This does not mark the end of Thea Paris’ adventures and readers can only hope for another one soon.
Originally published at rolloutreviews.com on June 19, 2018.