K.J. HOWE is the executive director of ThrillerFest, the annual conference of International Thriller Writers. A three-time Daphne du Maurier Award winner, she completed her MA in Writing Popular Fiction at Seton Hill University. She is an avid traveler who has raced camels in Jordan, surfed in Hawaii, and dived with the great whites in South Africa. She became fascinated by the kidnap and ransom (K&R) world after meeting Peter Moore, a British computer consultant who became the longest-held hostage in Iraq and the only person to survive of the five men who were taken that day.
Quercus – April 3, 2018
International kidnap expert Thea Paris is escorting two former child soldiers on a plane flying between Africa and London when the Boeing Business Jet is highjacked. The pilot has locked himself into the cockpit and diverts the plane to a deserted airstrip in Libya.
Forced to leave the jet to investigate, Thea comes face-to-face with a former nemesis, an Italian who is part of Gladios, a secret stay-behind army created after the Second World War to fight communism. Her old foe imprisons her in the hangar, and the plane takes off with the boys, the passengers, and the kidnapper aboard.
The kidnapper makes a strange demand for the return of the hostages: Thea must deliver a truckload of weapons and other material to a destination in Europe. Despite Thea’s efforts to read the tea leaves, the motives of the kidnapper remain a mystery.
While negotiating for the release of the passengers, Thea, Rif, and the Quantum team travel to Budapest to secure the supply truck. But the situation soon escalates, and the true stakes are revealed: her old nemesis is battling another private army for control of a genetically targeted bioweapon. When the bioweapon is stolen from under the noses of the competing shadow armies, Thea and Rif race to find the thieves first.
Revealing a conspiracy that connects the CIA, the Vatican, and the dark legacy of World War II, this case will bring all parties to an explosive conclusion at the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul.
Praise for SKYJACK
“K.J. Howe’s Skyjack is a rip-roaring adventure from first page to last. The novel’s thrilling blend of scientific plausibility, riveting spycraft, and ripped-from-the-headlines authenticity left me in awe. And the hero of this nail-biter, Thea Paris, is a Swiss Army knife of ingenuity, smarts, and skills. I want her to be my new best friend, or at least, to be there if I’m ever in harm’s way. I can’t wait to see what trouble she gets into next!”—James Rollins, New York Times bestseller of The Demon Crown
“Wow! Fans of Jack Clancy and Brad Thor can rejoice, there is a new literary giant in the land! KJ Howe is the “real deal”. Deeply experienced and informed in her own right, she has applied her knowledge, her amazing personal experiences, and her excellent writing skills, to give us Skyjack, a book filled with all the action and suspense that any reader could desire! From a US Air Force B-47 in the 1950’s, to a gunfight in the Hagia Sophia, Howe writes with authority and detail that is intensely satisfying to any reader.“—Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, author of On Killing, On Combat and Assassination Generation
“K.J. Howe’s Skyjack upends the thriller world with Thea Paris, a fresh, engaging, smart, compassionate, deadly heroine who first appeared in The Freedom Broker and seems destined for many more compelling novels to come. I don’t know what impresses me more—the accuracy of the action details (the result of thorough, intensive research), the global sweep of the story, or the underlying theme, which is the hazards, rewards, and complexity of family. As a private pilot, I was particularly taken by the airplane sequences, which are extremely accurate. This is all the more remarkable because K. J. Howe is not a pilot.”—David Morrell, New York Times bestselling author of Murder as a Fine Art
“Thea Paris kicks some serious ass in this action-packed thrill ride that grabs the reader from the first exciting page and doesn’t let go until the last. KJ Howe it at the top of the K&R game.“—New York Times bestselling author Karin Slaughter
“Another sensational Thea Paris adventure … starts at 600mph—literally—and never slows down, full of dense, twisty, informed plotting and real, compelling characters. Howe is a keeper!”—New York Times bestselling author Lee Child
“The Freedom Broker was no fluke. With Skyjack, Howe shows she is the real deal. An honest-to-God, first class thriller writer who will have your knuckles turning white as you flip the pages.”—#1 internationally bestselling author Linwood Barclay
“Thea Paris has returned in Skyjack, a pulse-pounding treat, sharp as a piece of Damascus steel. If you’re not reading K.J. Howe, you’re missing out.”—New York Times bestselling author Steve Berry
“Hang on tight: Thea Paris is back in a new nailbiting, high-stakes adventure. Skyjack is exciting, assured, and a hell of a great ride. Buckle up.”—Meg Gardiner, author of Into the Black Nowhere
“Good thing Thea has serious skills in fighting, shooting, and flying a plane. The enthralling plot moves across Europe with lightning speed, linking a WWII legend with an underground militant group’s plan to release a deadly toxic substance. In-depth character studies match the high tension. With this nail-biter, Howe seals her place as a first-class purveyor of adventure stories showcasing strong women characters.“—Publishers Weekly, starred review
“Few people combine breakneck action with utterly compelling characters as brilliantly as K.J. Howe.”—Internationally bestselling author Peter James
“In a genre that predominantly features alpha male characters, K.J. Howe re-writes the rulebook by making her protagonist a strong female operative with a medical condition, adding realism without sacrificing any of the action. Thea Paris can throw down with the very best the genre has to offer, and so can Howe.“—The Real Book Spy
“In Thea Paris’s latest adventure… the main story line excels, [but] a subplot involving a young teen with a horrible father adds further tension to the suspenseful narrative. Howe, executive director of ThrillerFest, is a master storyteller, and even though this is her second novel, it demonstrates the talent of someone who has been crafting thrillers for decades.“―Library Journal, starred review
“Howe is so committed to her story and skillful in its execution that the suspense scenes, especially when Paris’ group attempts to close in on the terrorists amid a crowd of tourists, are difficult to turn away from. And when Paris has to single-handedly battle a hangarful of thugs, the action is so exhilarating that we wish the scene would go on longer. For action-hungry readers, this one’s a must!“―Booklist
"KJ Howe's heroine Thea Paris is a sensational force of many talents... Scarcely a page passes without some new piece of breathtaking action."―The Times UK
THE FREEDOM BROKER
Quercus – February 7, 2017
There are twenty-five elite kidnap and ransom (K&R) specialists in the world. Only one is a woman: Thea Paris. And she’s the best in the business.
Twenty years ago, a terrified young boy was abducted in the middle of the night by masked intruders while his sister watched, paralyzed with fear. Returned after a harrowing nine months with his captors, Thea’s brother has never been the same.
This life-shattering experience drove Thea to become what she is today: a world-class freedom broker. Most hostage-recovery work is done at the negotiation table, but when diplomacy fails, Thea leads Quantum Security International’s black-ops team on highly sensitive rescue missions to political hot spots around the globe.
Her childhood nightmare resurfaces when her oil magnate father, Christos Paris, is snatched from his yacht off Santorini on his sixtieth birthday, days away from the biggest deal of his career. The brutal kidnappers left the entire crew slaughtered in their wake, but strangely, there are no ransom demands, no political appeals, no prisoner release requests—just obscure and foreboding texts written in Latin sent from burner phones.
Knowing the survival window for kidnap victims is small, Thea throws herself into the most urgent and challenging rescue mission of her life—but will she be able to prevent this kidnapping from destroying her family for good?
Praise for THE FREEDOM BROKER
“Razor sharp and full of you-are-there authenticity—a superb thriller.”—#1 New York Times bestseller Lee Child
“Breathless action, great characters and convincing details make Howe’s debut a surefire rocket to the top of the lists.”—#1 internationally bestselling author Linwood Barclay
“Unrelentingly entertaining and impossible to put down, The Freedom Broker boasts the ferociously savvy, serious as hell, Thea Paris, who brilliantly plots and fearlessly fights to rescue her kidnapped father from the clutches of expert, deadly players.”—Karin Slaughter, international bestselling author of The Kept Woman
“With an alpha female heroine and a plot that’s smart, detailed, and highly engaging, Freedom Broker introduces a new name to the thriller genre. K.J. Howe. It’s a fantastic debut, top notch entertainment, a pulse-pounding treat for anyone who loves action and adventure.“—Steve Berry
“I absolutely loved this read and its super-smart and able protagonist, Thea Paris! KJ Howe’s clever and action-packed storytelling is an exciting and groundbreaking addition to the genre.”—Sara Blaedel, #1 international bestseller of The Louise Rick series
“K.J. Howe hits the ground at a dead run with her new heroine—smart, tough, and extremely driven kidnap-retrieval expert, Thea Paris. It’s clear Howe has done her research—on locations, the intricacies of kidnap negotiations, and the nitty-gritty realities of taking the fight to the bad guys. Expertly plotted, The Freedom Broker at once satisfies and leaves us impatient for the next one.”—Marc Cameron, New York Times bestselling author of the Jericho Quinn series
“Unparalleled storytelling by K.J. Howe filled with excitement that never stops. Freedom Broker is a plot loaded with surprises and intrigue. Her characters are memorable and realistic. She has a great talent for the description of landscapes, action, and an unerring detail for stealth from the beginning to the climatic end. I wish I could write as well.“—Clive Cussler
“KJ Howe’s debut novel is a high stakes geo-political thriller that is truly a page turner. The Freedom Broker explores and illuminates the exotic world of elite Delta Force-type professionals who make a dangerous and deadly living rescuing kidnap victims all over the world. And we are along for the ride of our lives. Incredibly well-researched and expertly written, this is a behind-the-scenes story of how some hostage victims come home safely and why some do not.“—Nelson DeMille
“An adrenaline rush! Move over Jason Bourne, action has a new name as international kidnapping expert Thea Paris pulls out all the stops to rescue her own father in this clever and gritty debut.”—Lisa Gardner
“KJ Howe’s The Freedom Broker is a stellar novel of intrigue, deceit, and propulsive action. Kidnap negotiator Thea Paris is a heroine with brains, martial skills, and true character, whose own dark and deep family history drives her on as she travels the world bringing kidnapped victims home to their loved ones. But when her own wealthy father is taken and the bodies start piling up, her world is turned upside down and she’s thrown headlong into a web of deception and high-octane thrills. The Freedom Broker is a stellar addition to the thriller genre, and here’s hoping Thea Paris returns soon for another outing.”—Mark Greaney #1 New York Times bestselling Author of Tom Clancy True Faith and Allegiance
“A masterful thriller that you won’t soon forget after turning the last exciting page—and one that will leave you wondering how fast you can get your hands on Thea Paris’s next extraordinary adventure.”—W.E.B. Griffin & William E. Butterworth IV, No. 1 New York Times bestselling authors
“KJ Howe tells a spellbinding tale, her descriptions so vivid you can smell every heart pounding second of her action, and she writes with a deeply human voice.“—Peter James
“The Freedom Broker is a blisteringly original, superbly crafted thriller that promises to be one of the major debuts of 2017. K.J. Howe’s gut-wrenching foray into the world of hostage negotiation turned upside down propels her straight into the league of Linda Fairstein, Tess Gerritsen, Lisa Scottoline, and Karin Slaughter, thanks to a tale framed by an emotional complexity and structural elegance both rare for the genre. As riveting as it is bracing, this is reading entertainment at its absolute best.“—Jon Land, USA Today bestselling author
“The Freedom Broker delivers big time with a compelling heroine, cracker jack action, and plot that grabs and holds to the last page.”—New York Times bestseller John Lescroart
“The pulse-pounding excitement never ends in this remarkable debut novel, The Freedom Broker, by KJ Howe. From Africa’s violent back country to cosmopolitan Athens and the corridors of power in Washington D.C., Howe takes the reader on the thriller ride of a lifetime. All of kidnap negotiator Thea Paris’s skills are tested when she has to save a billionaire who is also someone she loves. Memorable characters, muscular prose, and a world atlas of fascinating insider details make this a can’t-put-down read. I loved it!“—Gayle Lynds, New York Times bestselling author of The Assassins
“The Freedom Broker combines terrific thriller writing and fascinating research about hostage rescues. This is fact and fiction at its best.”—#1 New York Times bestseller James Patterson
“An impressive debut that delivers a dazzling thrill ride, leaving the reader breathless and smarter. Rich with exotic locales and insights into the high-stakes world of international kidnapping, The Freedom Broker soars with high adventure as Thea Paris does it all in this outstanding series starter.”—Lisa Price, international bestseller
“The Freedom Broker has great ‘BONES’: engaging characters, nimble pacing, and crackling action.”—New York Times bestseller Kathy Reichs
“Smart, fast, and vivid, The Freedom Broker pitches brother against sister in a global power play that turns to war. Unique settings and expertly told, K.J. Howe knows her stuff.”—New York Times bestseller Taylor Stevens
“What a crackling debut! International kidnap rescue specialist Thea Paris is a beguiling hero caught in the case of her life, and KJ Howe writes about her with knowledge and precision. Freedom Broker explodes with high-level excitement!“—Scott Turow
“The Freedom Broker is an adrenaline-fueled, non-stop thrill ride. From the pulse pounding first pages, through the shocking conclusion, Howe never lets up on the suspense, the twists, and the action. Hostage negotiator Thea Paris is my favorite kind of heroine—fierce, whip-smart, and very human. We’ll all be waiting anxiously for the next riveting chapter in her story.”—New York Times bestseller Lisa Unger
“A spectacular start for what promises be a great Thea Paris series.“—Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)
“This debut novel by Howe…generates nonstop suspense, commanding attention from the start and never letting go. Intended as the start of a series, this is a must for thriller fans.“—Booklist (Starred Review)
“The Freedom Broker opens hot and stays that way. Author K.J. Howe and her protagonist, hostage-negotiator Thea Paris, are off to a high-octane start in this international thriller and series debut. Thea’s oil-tycoon father is kidnapped—echoing the abduction of her brother two decades earlier—and it’s up to Thea to solve the family’s brutal business. A wickedly fast read.”—Neely Tucker, author of the Sully Carter series and Washington Post staff writer
“This new series is off to a fantastic start, and we think you’ll love Howe’s new protagonist.“—Bookish
““Howe uses fascinating details regarding real-world teams that specialize in kidnapping with gripping action and thrills to make this an amazing page-turner. It’s hard to believe that this is her first novel because the story, characters and pacing feel like the work of a much more experienced storyteller. This is the first in a series, and further adventures featuring Thea Paris and her company will be eagerly anticipated.”—Associated Press
“You know upon reading the first chapters of her novel, Freedom Broker, that you are in the presence of an enormous potential. The writing is brisk, the tone confident, and the story not only eye-popping original but also riveting.“—Huffington Post