Unseen, an Edge-of-Your-Seat Hostage Rescue Thriller by Traci Hunter Abramson

The Bottom Line: An edge-of-your-seat hostage rescue thriller featuring a truly memorable hero and a moving romance. 

Laura, a nurse practitioner based in California, escapes to Honduras for a much-needed visit with her grandmother. But when tragedy strikes and her beloved abuela falls ill, Laura finds herself trapped in a deadly hostage situation. Members of Jaguar Negro, a gang working in both Honduras and Guatemala, mistakes Laura for a doctor and captures her. Just as all hope seems lost, a savior appears, igniting a desperate and harrowing journey to freedom. Her salvation comes in the form of Manuel Banegas, a.k.a Ghost, a member of a highly classified guardian program tasked with protecting US interests in Central America. 

Author Traci Hunter Abramson, herself a former CIA employee, begins the novel with Manuel’s compelling origin story. Framed for a shootout at a local Target, Manuel is given a choice – life in prison, or a life in public service. Based on the heroics on display throughout the novel, it’s clearly a job that suits him, though it’s not without its drawbacks. Abramson’s intimate portrayal of Manuel’s psychological state is deeply felt without being overly sentimental.  “My job is very solitary,” Manuel admits. “Sometimes the Lord is the only person I really have to talk to.” In a surprisingly hard-hitting scene later, he imagines what it would be like to take a walk through the woods on a sunny day, “without any memory of his responsibilities or how he had come to be a guardian.”

Also in play is Xavier Argueta, a CIA informant who is in mortal danger almost from the get-go. Can he be trusted? After a series of harrowing scenes, it seems that Jaguar Negro will go to just about any lengths to get him back. Abramson presents Laura and Manuel with some gut-wrenching choices en route to the book’s twisty, satisfying end.

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