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Thomas Rey
Crying Daughters
Thomas Quill, author
Jacob Grey is no ordinary sales VP; beneath his professional facade lies a skilled operative with a storied background in the army and as a private contractor. But it’s his deep love for Alessandra, a woman who has endured a harrowing past, that drives him to embark on a perilous mission of vengeance. His path leads him back into a dark world of corruption and greed and the sinister underbelly of human trafficking and child prostitution. As Jacob works to dismantle the crime empire responsible for Alessandra’s suffering, he finds himself in the crosshairs of Brazil’s most formidable crime syndicate. Supported by his former colleagues and government agencies fighting to end human trafficking, Jacob begins to wage a relentless war. However, as Alessandra discovers the truth about his secret identity, their bond is put to the ultimate test. The battle with the criminal world exacts a heavy toll, leaving Jacob with a newfound purpose: revenge. Jacob is set on becoming an unstoppable force that will dismantle the syndicate piece by piece. CRYING DAUGHTERS (60,000 words) is a thrilling crime novel based on true events. I have included a synopsis, an outline, and the first few pages of the manuscript. Thomas is a U.S. Army Veteran and was a subcontractor for a Department of State private security contractor. He has an expired Top Secret clearance, and had rendered services as an operator, senior tactical adviser, and director of tactical training. Thomas trained alongside several law enforcement agency personnel from the DEA, FBI, and many other SWAT teams. He trained in hostage recovery, dignitary protection, and high structure room breaching by rappelling, just to mention a few. Thomas wrote this book with hopes of shedding some light on global criminal organizations’ deep-rooted involvement in human trafficking, particularly the kidnapping and trade of young women and children.
This brisk thriller, purportedly inspired by “true events,” follows Jacob Grey, a former Department of State contractor and security specialist, as he embarks on a “solo sub-rosa mission” of exfiltration in São Paulo. His goal: the liberation of women and girls kidnapped, trafficked, and forced into sex slavery. The Brazilian syndicate he’s targeting has operated so brazenly that Jacob has been able to fund this exfiltration—dubbed Operation: Crying Daughters—by alerting U.S. hotel companies to the prostitution rings operating in their Brazilian locations. Soon after landing, Jacob realizes that two men standing with his girlfriend, Alessandra, are up to no good, and the action starts there.

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.

Production grades
Cover: A-
Design and typography: A-
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: B
Marketing copy: B+