A young woman finds her life in danger when she puts a Colombian village’s economic future above her own in Smolders’ (The Bridge of Whispers, 2012, etc.) latest novel.
Gloria Romero is a young humanitarian working for the Futuro Fund in Colombia, which is backed by mining company The Silverman Group. In Cupíca, a small coastal village surrounded by jungle, everyone welcomes Gloria’s new ideas for manufacturing and fishing—except Marcos Rojas, who also works for the Fund. Marcos takes a fee from the local Paisas to ensure their control of fish distribution in the area, and he stymies Gloria in order to protect his financial arrangement—even when he finds out he’s the father of her unborn child. Gloria’s only true supporter is her boss, Liliana, a Silverman Group lawyer in Bogotá. The same night that Gloria presents a grand plan for an improved economic future, she disappears—only to reappear in Haiti, where she’s kidnapped and held for ransom. Facing a tough decision, Marcos and the Silverman Group launch a rescue plan. Smolders creates just the right amount of suspense throughout, with the omniscient narrator providing key insight into the characters’ thoughts and motivations (“She sighed as her thoughts turned to other Marcos-related matters. He wasn’t ready for a commitment. I should’ve known. For me, he’s gone. She knew herself, and she knew she couldn’t live with a man she’d have to share with a crowd.”). However, nothing is ever made too obvious to readers, and the author weaves the characters’ intriguing power plays with the flavor and danger of both Colombia and Haiti. Overall, Smolders delivers a convincing, understated thriller that brings Gloria’s humanitarian efforts, and the obstacles she faces, to vivid life.
An engaging international thriller.