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Desperate Measures (Gabriel Ash) by Jo Bannister
Review by Joseph B. Hoyos
Minotaur Books Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9781250075666
Date: 08 December 2015 List Price $25.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK

Links: Author's Wikipedia Entry / Show Official Info /

Four years ago, Gabriel Ash was working as a security analyst for the British Government. Somalian pirates were hijacking planes carrying weapons. When Ash got too close to their operation, the pirates abducted his wife, Cathy, and their two sons, Gilbert and Guy. Fearing them dead, Ash experienced a mental meltdown. He became a mere shadow of the man he once was. He wandered around the small village of Norbold, talking to his dog, Patience. Thanks to the beautiful Constable Hazel Best, he is slowly reentering society. After following an arms dealer, Stephen Graves, who was victimized by the pirates, Ash sees his wife during a live video conference. She and the boys, he learns, are still alive! Unfortunately, a series of tragedies ensues as Ash takes desperate measures to free his family from the pirates.

To date, Jo Bannisterís Desperate Measures (following Deadly Virtues and Perfect Sins) is the most exciting installment in the Gabriel Ash and Hazel Best mystery series. Fast-paced and riveting, the novel begins with a tragedy that shocked me. "It can't be true," I kept repeating to myself. "It canít be true." (I was left in a stupor.) From then on, I couldn't predict what would happen next. I didn't know who would die.

I was able to learn more about Ash's family and what four years of being held captive in a nightmarish world can do to someone. Needless to say, Cathy is not the same person Ash married. Horrible, shocking family secrets are revealed that threaten to rip apart Ash's delicate fragile psyche. They also threaten to destroy the friendship he shares with Hazel.

There is a subplot involving a bedraggled street youth, Saturday, who brings Hazel a laptop he claims he found at a service station. Saturday has hacked into the device and discovered filthy secrets. The owner will do anything to keep those secrets from being publicly revealed. Hazel, who is a kind, gentle, lovable soul, allows Saturday to move in with her. The entire time, however, she feels that someone is watching them in their new house. Could it be the laptop's owner, the Somali pirates, a coworker at Meadowvale Police Station, or someone else--someone who will take desperate measures to kill her?

Jo Bannister writes intriguing mysteries with unique, one-of-a kind characters. Desperate Measures is an enjoyable, edge-of-your-seat, psychological thriller that constantly asks: How far will someone go to protect the ones they love? Desperate Measures is filled with desperate people. Gabriel Ash is desperate to protect his family and bring them safely home to England. Constable Hazel Best is desperate for a family of her own. I truly believe, whether she knows it or not, that she is in love with Ash. Allowing the teenage Saturday to move in with her is her first steps towards obtaining a family of her own. The laptop's owner is desperate to keep its secret from harming his/her own family.

Desperate Measures is about families and the desperate measures we take to keep them safe from harm. As for me, I plan on taking desperate measures to ensure that I obtain the next installment in the wonderful Gabriel Ash and Hazel Best series.

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