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5+ stars for The Unexpected Hostage by Allison McKenzie #thriller #cybercrime #romanticthriller #technothriller #romanticsuspense #wrpbks #bookreview

Title: The Unexpected Hostage

Author: Allison McKenzie

Genre: Romantic Thriller, Techno Thriller, Romantic Suspense


Book Blurb:


Nothing in her life has been stable since Tess’s beloved fiancé Kyle died in a tragic accident. She’s spent the past year hell-bent on outrunning her grief, jetting between high-stakes meetings and the rock clubs where she can disappear. Avoiding her pain was working—almost—until she and her colleagues are taken hostage by a violent Eastern European terrorist group.

With no means to escape her captors, Tess and fellow captive Mark must rely on one another to survive. Together, they’ll risk their lives and endure a brutal journey toward freedom as they forge a bond that neither can forget.

The mysteries of the past refuse to lay dormant for long as Tess is thrust into the center of another international cybercrime and uncovers the shocking truth about Kyle’s death. This time, she’ll need Mark’s help to avenge her losses as she races across the globe to save her company…and their lives.


My Review:


Not since Robert Crais’ Hostage have I read a thriller like The Unexpected Hostage. Allison McKenzie reels in the reader through intense action scenes, amped tension, and a layered plot. The characters leap from the page. Hands down, you’ll be reading late into the night with The Unexpected Hostage.


Let’s start with the premise. The story is like something ripped from today’s news headlines. It grabs the reader’s attention from the very first page. The action is intense. The tension is high. The dialogue and narration moderate the high-octane suspense.


The characters drive the plot. I connected with Tess right away. She’s dealing with a lot of emotions and the deeper I delved into the story, the higher the emotions ran. Tess is a strong heroine and I loved how she overcame all that she goes through. She didn’t crumble into a heap and sob.


The rest of the characters are well-written. Each character has their own backstory, motivations, and voice.


The writing is superb. Allison McKenzie is a gifted author who writes immersive thrillers. I look forward to reading more from her.


My Rating: 5+ stars


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Author Biography:


Allison McKenzie has never shied away from adventure. She is at home skiing Canadian glaciers, exploring Scottish castles, and retrieving cultural artifacts from a Rarotongan jungle as she is at her writing desk. After graduating magna cum laude from Wellesley College with honors in English literature, she attended the University of Cambridge’s International Art History Programme in England. She spent most of her career in the software industry, including a stint in cybersecurity.


Allison’s debut novel, The Unexpected Hostage, earned a Kirkus Star and was named 2023’s Best Political Thriller by Best Thrillers Book Awards. Allison won the 2020 Pacific Northwest Writers Association Contest and was a Finalist for the 2021 Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense from RWA’s Kiss of Death Chapter.


She lives in Seattle with her husband, daughter, and two rambunctious cats. Her passions include travel, skiing, Peloton biking, and '80s New Wave music.

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Reviewed by: Nancy


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