iUniverse, Aug 2003, 12.95
Having just arrived from Bolivia, teenager Claudia Lopez accompanied by their baby Juliana waits in the Newark Airport for her husband Antonio to pick her up. Antonio had come to the states several months earlier. Margot Fortune assisted Claudia when she first landed at the airport. Having flown back and forth to Boston, Margot notices that the young foreigner and her infant remain where she left them eight hours ago. Margot takes the two lost people with her.
When he arrived stateside, Antonio was enticed by the easy money and fast lifestyle of a drug dealer. However, on the day he is supposed to meet his family at the airport he slowly awakens from a purple haze. He realizes that he failed to pick up Claudia and Juliana, but even worse he lost a kilo of cocaine. His employers want either the kilo, the money, or if not him, Claudia.
Surprisingly THE PAYBACK is as much a deep character study as it is an action thriller. There are plenty of tense scenes that will elate the adrenaline seeker, but also the key three protagonists are interesting and fully developed. Claudia is a young stranger in a strange land, but how pathetic and helpless is she? Antonio is a lost person who too late understands the cost of his short cuts. Most intriguing is the Good Samaritan Margot, who is less than she appears (read the book to learn her agenda). Though the drug crowd is too easily stereotyped as predators and some sub-plotting seem off kilter, fans of a fast-paced suspense thriller will receive plenty of positive PAYBACK from Hilary Hawke's exhilarating novel.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner