Precious Cargo

Book 2: The Cargo Series

Fiction - Thriller - General
360 Pages
Reviewed on 08/11/2018
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Ruffina Oserio for Readers' Favorite

Precious Cargo is the second book in The Cargo Series by Linda Sands, a novel with mature themes and a striking relevance to our time, featuring sex trafficking and drugs. A frightened young girl flags down their truck in Austin, and Jojo Boudreaux and her co-driver, Gator Natoli, help to get her to safety. A good job that puts their consciences to rest. Then they meet her again in Oklahoma City and this time she refuses their help. They quickly find out that they are on dangerous turf, and Jojo gets embroiled in a network of drugs, prostitution, and international sex trafficking. Follow her as she manages to stay one step ahead of the bad guys, relying on her instinct, her gut and help from unexpected quarters. Can she come out of this alive and can she get to the head of the snake?

Linda Sands has a great gift for storytelling and she creates characters that readers will enjoy. Making Jojo, a female trucker, the protagonist of the story is ingenious, something that shows imagination and originality because stories in this genre often involve police detectives. When the story starts, we learn that Jojo has been through a lot lately; a fierce fighter who rescued her father from kidnappers, shut down a ring of drug thieves and exposed a cancer drug monopoly—all while solving her ex’s murder. This promises that we are in for a rollicking ride, and that promise gets fulfilled in this story.

The narrative is done in a first person voice that conveys the protagonist’s point of view powerfully. I enjoyed the relationship between Jojo and Gator and, in many ways, they seem like the perfect pair. I loved their tirades and the way they tease each other. The plot is complex, the characters sophisticated and believable, and the conflict strong. Precious Cargo is a work of great entertainment, a powerful indictment of the lucrative business of human trafficking. You will learn to care about Linda Sands’ characters and can’t help longing to find out what happens to them. Realism fills the narrative and makes it enjoyable and hard to put down. A riveting read, well written, and cunningly plotted.

Viga Boland

From award-winning and prolific novelist Linda Sands comes Precious Cargo: Book 2: The Cargo Series, with a plot, characters and situations that are an unexpected departure from the usual fiction thriller genre. Second only to the protagonists, Jojo and Gator, the stars in this thriller are long-haul truck drivers and their rigs, and if readers aren’t savvy about what it’s like to be a cross-country cargo truck driver, prepare to be enlightened. As Linda Sands states on Amazon, “When interviewing over one-hundred long-haul truck drivers for a photo-essay book, I stumbled into an even better story, one where these generous, hard-working folks became heroes.”

If creating heroes out of truck drivers was Sands’ intention, she certainly succeeded. Not just with the characters of Jojo and Gator, who share the driving of their home on wheels, Sabrina, but with how these two, with the help of other drivers, brought down a Somali sex-trafficking operation. Jojo is one very tough cookie. As a child, under her father’s tutelage she developed strong survival skills and incredible inner strength. But the extent to which Jojo goes to rescue and protect the victims of sex trafficking nearly breaks her indomitable spirit. Readers will be holding their breaths as Jojo is pumped full of heroin, tied down, beaten into submission and nearly freezes in a truck’s freezer compartment. The action, like Jojo’s resolve to bring the bad guys down, never stops. And when it finally does, readers will laud the other side we see of these unrecognized, but unique highway patrol people who drive cargo for a living and help their co-workers in need. Enjoy!

Cheryl E. Rodriguez

Hold on tight! Linda Sands take you on a gripping ride in Precious Cargo. Jojo Boudreaux is on the road again with her co-driver and boyfriend, Gator Natali. Jojo loves being a trucker. She’s not cut out for the ordinary life; all she needs is “Gator, eighteen wheels, and the asphalt.” At a truck stop outside of Austin, Jojo and Gator encounter a young girl named Candy. She begs them for a ride. They drop her off in a nearby suburban neighborhood. Gator is curious why this girl was at a truck stop, and why she was so willing to get in a truck with total strangers. Several weeks later, in Oklahoma City, Jojo and Gator are attacked and drugged by a group of Somali mafia gangbangers. Somehow, some way, no matter where she goes, trouble finds Jojo. While recuperating and waiting for repairs to their truck, Jojo sees Candy. Shocked, Jojo watches Candy get into a car with the same gangsters who assaulted her and Gator. Determined to rescue Candy, Jojo is about to get up close and personal with the world of sex trafficking. Deep down, Jojo knows this isn’t her fight, but she is in it now. Jojo refuses to let the bad guys win, no matter what the cost!

Precious Cargo is book two in Linda Sands’ The Cargo Series. I selected this book because the prevention of child abuse and sex trafficking is very dear to my heart. Linda Sands does an excellent job at portraying the trauma of sex trafficked victims. The characters are gutsy, gritty and raw. The heroine is strong and fearless, masking her vulnerability, but her bravado conceals a life of pain. Buried deep within her is a haunting past. The love and tenacity of her sidekick and partner challenge and encourage her, creating a dynamic duo. Contrarily, the antagonist is a sick and perverted individual who surrounds himself with a ring of deviants.

The cast of characters is placed in the ever-moving, on-the-go trucking world. It is a culture all of its own. Sands highlights this truth throughout her thrilling story. The plot unfolds effortlessly; it is like listening and talking with your best friend. Heart and soul are woven into the plot – genuine pain, followed by the will to get beyond it. Sands pens exceptional setting descriptions, and uses the forces of nature to heighten the conflict, resulting in a climactic turning point. As the story concludes, we are reminded that "the places we end up are not always what we hoped for.” Nonetheless, we keeping on trucking toward the sunset because tomorrow is a brand new day.