A highly readable and intelligent thriller…
Phayre utilizes his experience with ransom drops and real-life pirates to craft a well-paced thriller, setting his promising new series in motion. When a novice band of Somali pirates steals an oil tanker, a team of experts, including negotiators, security, and maritime experts comes in to locate and recover the tanker. With the crew’s lives at stake and a massive environmental disaster looming in, the team must do everything in their power to make their mission successful. But things are not as easy as they seem on the surface. Phayre certainly knows his way around ransom drops and dealings with modern-day pirates and parlays this knowledge into an enthralling page-turner. There are fast-paced plot twists, nifty negotiations, and relentless political intrigue as he piles on the setting, surprises, and details. The intriguing premise is absorbing, and the expert plotting and execution keep the readers turning pages fast. Scares, negotiations, plot, and counterplot—things get complicated, with Phayre throwing in surprises, one after another. Abdi and Zahi remain the prime movers, and the array of secondary characters are thoroughly sketched out. Phayre knows how to spring a surprise: he takes time out to explain the nitty gritty of the modern-day pirate maneuvers, but he does so without slowing the pacing or losing the momentum. The result is a taut, compulsively readable tale that is well suited to the lovers of swiftly moving military thrillers. Phayre is an author to watch.
Phayre, a security and crisis leader for multiple organizations and companies, debuts with an excellent series launch that draws on his experience helping to resolve hostage incidents across Africa. Finlay, the duty crisis response manager for the Global Response Company Limited, springs into action after he gets a call that a super tanker, the Hibernia III, has been taken control of by an unidentified crew of pirates while en route from Qatar to Kenya. In exchange for the safe release of its crew—and for not dumping two million barrels of petroleum worth $120 million—the hostage-takers demand $100 million in ransom. As Finlay’s team develops elaborate plans to rescue the hostages, Phayre keeps readers on the edge of their seats en route to the satisfying climax, and the taut story line is enhanced by details that make suspending disbelief easy. Nuanced characterizations—even of the bad guys—are a plus. Nautical thriller fans will eagerly await the sequel. (Self-published)
Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite
The Ransom Drop is a work of fiction in the military genre and is the first installment in The Response Files series. It is aimed at the mature adult reading audience and was penned by author Robert Phayre. The book tells the story of a hijacking performed by inexperienced Somali pirates and the ensuing rescue attempt undertaken by a crack team of experts from multiple fields. With only one objective in their sights, the team must race against time to save the crew and prevent a disaster with international implications.
There is an authenticity to writing thrillers about hostage negotiations that can only come from lived experience, and Robert Phayre fully utilizes his experience as well as his skills as a writer of prose to create an edge of your seat tension that veers away from Hollywood and into the real world of hostage takers and those who try to negotiate with them. Each of the characters that form the dream team of hostage rescue is thoroughly grounded in the real world, and all of them contribute to an exciting and dynamic story filled with twists and turns. The Ransom Drop will stay in your mind when you try to put it down between chapters as your imagination starts to play out what might happen next, only to pick the book back up again and have it blow those predictions out of the water. An absolutely essential read for fans of thrillers and military fiction.
Read the article below with Author Rob Phayre to find out about real life Somali Ransom Payments and how they happened.