What follows is a heated inter-agency strike force thriller, tinged with hope and tragedy, that finds Jacob’s mission turning out not to be so solo after all, as friends and adversaries from the past get embroiled in complex international standoffs pitting the Departments of State and Justice against traffickers, rogue Brazilian Federal Police officers, and more. Quill’s first thriller, Crying Daughters demonstrates a zeal for operational accuracy, generating suspense and hurtling the story along through the chatter and logistics of agents and operators, and catching readers up on the fly about terminology through parenthetical asides. Later chapters involving task forces, SCIFs, and the complexities of international relations and weave into the narrative text from the Department of State’s 2018 Trafficking in Persons Report, and the narrative’s brief, un-sensational accounts of the horrors the kidnapped endure (including a young Alessandra) have power.
That documentary edge is at odds with the novel’s traditional men’s adventure action, as the “handsome, intelligent, and charming” hero downs villains and karate-kicks the glass from Bronco windows, while Alessandra, “exotic looking as ever,” feels a “strange sense of arousal.” A tendency to note how “suddenly” or “immediately” bits of action occur has the unintended effect of slowing things down. More effective is Jacob’s dedication to the cause, his camaraderie with an old friend, and Quill’s assured dramatization of skilled teams improvising in complex and deadly circumstances.
Takeaway: Fast, action-packed thriller of taking on human traffickers.
Comparable Titles: Timothy Jay Smith’s Cooper’s Paradise, Mark Greaney’s One Minute Out.
Design and typography: A-
Marketing copy: B+