48 Hour Lockdown by Carla Cassidy, which is the first book in the Tactical Crime Division series, is a suspense drive tale surrounding a hostage situation. It features Annalise Taylor and Evan Duran. Annalise is a teacher at Sandhurst School for Gifted and Talented underprivileged children while Evan is the top negotiator with the Tactical Crime division a branch of the FBI.
The story began with the school being invaded and Annalise along with three of her students are held hostage. On hearing of the situation and learning that Annalise was a hostage, Evan is prepared to engage. They shared a romantic history, which ended when Annalise walked away to further her career.
As stated earlier the story was suspense driven leaving the romance to take a back seat. I had no issues with that as the suspense plot was well executed. It kept me glued to the pages. It had me turning the pages as I was intent on learning what were the motives of the hostage takers and also the identity of their inside mine.
I liked Annalise and Evan as individuals, but I never connected with them as a couple. I never felt their chemistry and their connection felt forced.
I loved how Annalise kept her head throughout the entire ordeal. Evan was driven, dedicated and determined, which made him perfect for the job. The story highlighted issues relating to his past, providing insight to the reason for his choice of career. Readers are also made privy to the emotional upheaval he experienced as a result of the ending of his relationship with Annalise.
There were a few situations throughout the hostage negotiations that had me rolling my eyes. I did eventually figure out the identity of the inside person, so the revelation near to the end cemented what I had believed.
Excerpt, 48 Hour Lockdown by Carla Cassidy
A new miniseries from Harlequin Intrigue.
Stopping criminal activity wherever it happens. The agents at the Tactical Crime Division are ready for anything.
More and more, federal law agencies have to mobilize to remote locations to address large-scale crime scenes and criminal activity—terror, hostage situations, kidnappings, shootings and the like. Because of the growing concerns and need for ever increasing response times to these criminal events, the Bureau created a specialized tech and tactical team, combining specialists from several active divisions—weapons, crime scene investigation, protection, negotiation, IT. Because they are a smaller unit, they are more nimble for rapid deployment and assistance to address various situations. This joint team of agents is known as the Tactical Crime Division (TCD).
CAST OF CHARACTERS
Evan Duran—Special Agent Duran is a hostage negotiator for the Tactical Crime Division, a specialized branch of the FBI.
Annalise Taylor—A teacher held hostage at a private school. She’s also Evan’s ex-lover. She’d broken his heart several years before, and now he holds her life in his hands.
Jacob Noble—Is he the leader of a charitable church or the dangerous leader of a cult?
Gretchen Noble—Jacob’s wife, who is not afraid to abuse or kill. Will she kill Annalise before she can be freed?
Hendrick Maynard—Brilliant tech agent for the Tactical Crime Division. Will he be able to get the information Evan needs or will he be destroyed by old painful memories?
Walter Cummings—Chief of police in Asheville. Would his incompetence be the death of the hostages?
As he drove he made a few phone calls, and he finally pulled up in front of the nondescript brick building where TCD’s offices were located. He parked, got out of his car and hurried inside. As he strode down the hallway toward the main meeting room, he could hear Director Jill Pembrook apparently still conducting the morning meeting.
The main conference room was the heart of the office. It was where assignments were handed out and situations were brainstormed. The agents sat at a long, highly glossed wooden table. On one wall was an oversize FBI logo, and opposite that was the TCD emblem. A large, digital flat screen was mounted on the far side of the room, and a tablet lay at the head of the table.
Evan burst through the door. Director Jill Pembrook looked at him in surprise. “Agent Duran, how nice of you to join us on your day off.”
The director was an attractive, stylish woman of substance with cropped steel gray hair and a penchant for dark, custom-tailored suits.
She’d been with the FBI for over forty years, and she was definitely a force to be reckoned with. Her blue eyes could be warm and friendly or they could frost a puddle of water into a sheet of ice.
“I just saw the news out of Pearson,” he stated. “I need to get there… It’s Annalise.”
There was a collective groan from some of the other agents. Evan ignored it. “I’ll need you to arrange a plane to be ready for takeoff. Also, I’ll need Hendrick’s help on this. And I’m taking Agents Brennan and Lathrop with me.”
“Call off the SEAL team, Duran is on the case, everyone,” “Agent at Large” Kane Bradshaw murmured as the three men headed for the door.
Evan ignored him. While he liked Kane okay, there were times in the past they had butted heads when Kane could sometimes be a bit of an arrogant jerk. Director Pembrook though tolerated his glib attitude. And while Kane had no official rank as an agent with the bureau, he had an extensive background with deep black ops.
Hendrick Maynard, the tech guru nodded. “You got it,” he answered without hesitation. “Heading to my desk now. I’ll send you any relevant info ASAP.”
The director narrowed her eyes, and Evan felt the frost radiating from her. “Agent Duran, you are way out of line.” She paused and continued to hold his gaze. “Ten minutes ago North Carolina state officials called for federal help…” She paused and he was wondering if he should offer to submit his resignation. “You will also take Special Agent Rogers along with the others. This is an all hands on deck situation. Rowan as usual will accompany you and provide team support.”
Rowan Cooper, an attractive woman with long dark hair who worked as a liaison between the local police departments and the TCD team members, also rose and followed the men out the door. She accompanied any crew that deployed to a different location. Her specialty was smoothing over any personality difference or turf wars among different law enforcement units on scene. But her main responsibility was arranging overnight accommodations and making sure the agents had what they needed in order to remain focused on the task at hand.
“Yes, ma’am,” he replied to the director. He knew he’d overstepped boundaries by barging in, but he’d felt the need to act immediately when he’d heard about the situation… About Annalise…
“Plane leaves in twenty minutes. Now go,” Di-rector Pembrook said. To him she added, “Duran…don’t pull this kind of stunt again.”
Evan would have offered to quit after the assignment if he met any resistance from the director to him heading up the detail due to his personal connection to Annalise. Nothing was going to keep him from negotiating this hostage situation.
“Never,” Evan replied before turning to leave.