The Consular Official, a Jaw-Dropping FBI Thriller by Bill King

The Bottom Line: A gritty FBI Thriller with jaw-dropping twists. King’s portrayal of the convoluted world of cross-border criminality, politics and business feels completely fresh. 

The Consular Official opens in Houston, Texas, as 23-year-old Juan Carlos Alonso – known as Pepe – leaves his office at the Mexican Consulate early to spend the weekend with new girlfriend, Suzy. But Suzy isn’t who Pepe thinks she is, and as he parks his $600k Ferrari at a pharmacy, he notices a pothole and checks the vehicle for damages. Suddenly, his bodyguards are nowhere in sight, and he’s quickly subdued and abducted. 

FBI agent Pete Cortez, who is fluent in Spanish, is tasked with finding Pepe. Cortez is the son of an American oil company executive. Born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela, he graduated from Texas A&M before entering a life of service in the army and the FBI. Assistant Special Agent in Charge (ASAC) Jack Gonçalves warns Cortez to be careful. He doesn’t understand why so many people in Washington are concerned about the kidnapping of such a minor official. Cortez guesses it’s just because Alonso is a “poor little rich kid,” but as it turns out, he’s only half right. 

Author Bill King has plenty of surprises in store for his hero. The first jaw-dropper comes when the abductors manage to exchange the money for a gory surprise. Readers have a lot to look forward to as Cortez zeroes in on the real source of Pepe’s money, as well as the answer as to why an interagency task force including the CIA and Homeland Security have been assembled to find him. While Cortez is a steady hand within the storm, seeing him flail a bit en route to cracking the case is part of the fun. Meanwhile, readers will find their pulse quickening once they learn the lengths to which Pepe’s brother Domingo may be willing to go to bring closure to the situation. 

The sixth book in the Pete Cortez FBI Thrillers series could easily serve as an entry point for newcomers. King delivers just enough backstory on Cortez to ensure readers aren’t disoriented without slowing down the story, and he delivers a handy character guide up-front to ensure readers don’t get lost. Elsewhere, King has created a fully self-contained world filled with cunning industrials, politicians and criminals willing to do anything to get the upper hand.

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