The Ransom Drop

The Response Files

Fiction - Military
315 Pages
Reviewed on 11/26/2021
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Rob delivered his first ransom to Somali pirates about twelve years ago. Since then he has helped resolve nearly 40 hostage incidents both onshore and offshore across Africa.

Rob's debut novel, 'The Ransom Drop' won the Audiobookreviewer.com Reviewers Choice Award, and five star reviews from Readers Favourite, Prairies Book Review and BookView.

In 2021 he published Jungle Heist book 2 of The Response Files Series, which also won professional 5 star reviews. Rob Phayre is now working on Book 3; The Insurgency.

Rob started his career as a military helicopter pilot. After that, he moved to Africa and worked as a security and crisis manager. He has led projects all around the world. From the ice and snow above the arctic circle to the deserts in the Sahara. From the jungles in Africa to the rippling waves of the Indian Ocean.

His experience in so many places with so many fascinating characters doing such daring deeds makes him the ideal author of The Response Files

Rob still lives in Africa and is lucky to do so with his wife and daughters.

    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

The Ransom Drop is a work of fiction in the military genre and is the first installment in The Response Files series. It is aimed at the mature adult reading audience and was penned by author Robert Phayre. The book tells the story of a hijacking performed by inexperienced Somali pirates and the ensuing rescue attempt undertaken by a crack team of experts from multiple fields. With only one objective in their sights, the team must race against time to save the crew and prevent a disaster with international implications.

There is an authenticity to writing thrillers about hostage negotiations that can only come from lived experience, and Robert Phayre fully utilizes his experience as well as his skills as a writer of prose to create an edge of your seat tension that veers away from Hollywood and into the real world of hostage takers and those who try to negotiate with them. Each of the characters that form the dream team of hostage rescue is thoroughly grounded in the real world, and all of them contribute to an exciting and dynamic story filled with twists and turns. The Ransom Drop will stay in your mind when you try to put it down between chapters as your imagination starts to play out what might happen next, only to pick the book back up again and have it blow those predictions out of the water. An absolutely essential read for fans of thrillers and military fiction.

Steven Robson

The Ransom Drop by RobPhayre, whilst being a fictional construct, evolves into a very real-life experience of one of the most terrifying and pernicious acts that can be played out on the high seas, known to all as piracy, and infamously stretching back throughout recorded history. This is a world of extremes that is beyond understanding for most of us; a world where small settlements eke out an existence from the barren lands of Somalia whilst mega-ships ply their trade off the coast, carrying hundreds of millions of dollars with them to destinations forever beyond reach. This vast disparity ultimately leads to a breaking point, where some Somalians decide to take matters into their own hands and grab a piece of the pie. The truly terrifying thing about all of this is that the values by which these local people live seem to only apply to their own kind; foreigners are treated as property to be bought and sold, and heaven help you if they don’t get their way.

Rob Phayre’s The Ransom Drop is a fascinating read, with unique perspectives from all of the players involved, backed by an obvious depth of knowledge of the author. The incredible thing about this story, in my opinion, is the attitude of the pirates. These are people that have little regard for those outside their culture, and see what they are doing as just another job; incredulously, they seem to look at this as a career path of choice! Further, it seems the authorities are either too apathetic or disinterested to take action, even when the criminals are clearly identified and photographed carrying out their actions. Against this background, the characters were nicely built up into quite believable individuals, with obvious cultural differences molding their personas. The Ransom Drop is a quality read that opens your eyes to a problem that is obviously not going away without concerted effort.

Pikasho Deka

The Ransom Drop is a thriller novel by Rob Phayre inspired by the hijacking of international cargo ships near the Somalian coast. Abdi, son of a warlord in Hobyo, Somalia, hatches an audacious plan to hijack international cargo ships. After borrowing a hefty sum from a nefarious man named The Associate, he uses those funds to buy skiffs and hire men needed for the mission. Soon, he successfully hijacks the Herbernia III, a VLCC commanded by Captain Oleksiy for a Greek company. John, manager of the company's fleet of ships, leads the negotiations with help from a hostage negotiator named Finlay. Meanwhile, a former MI6 agent, Max, and his team are hired to make the drop. As the days go by, the situation becomes increasingly precarious.

The Ransom Drop takes you to the dangerous waters of Eastern Africa, where piracy runs amok. Author Rob Phayre expertly builds up tension and intrigue in this thrilling tale of hostage rescue. The plot moves at a brisk pace, with a multiple POV narrative that shows the varying factions involved within the story. There is a realistic quality to Phayre's character work that makes them riveting to read. Apart from the protagonists, you also get a glimpse into the psyches of the antagonists that makes them all the more compelling. Scenes involving Max's crew were some of my favorite sections to read, and I thoroughly enjoyed the banter between Raj and Mike. If you enjoyed the movie Captain Phillips, you're going to love The Ransom Drop.

Tammy Ruggles

The Ransom Drop (The Response Files) by Rob Phayre is an award-winning, gripping military suspense novel about piracy that will have you on the edge of your seat. Fledgling Somali pirates hijack an oil tanker in a lonely, dangerous location, so expert maritime negotiators are summoned to rescue the crew, but are these professionals up to the challenge? They need to avert a huge environmental crisis, save the souls on the ship, and preserve the precious cargo worth millions of dollars. Reputations are on the line and secrets are revealed as to how this Somali piracy was resolved.

Phayre expertly guides this thriller through its breath-holding plot. Grounded in so much realism, the story pulses with life and tension, and the characters spring to life. The author himself has personally delivered huge ransoms at sea and negotiated hostage situations, so besides this being a cutting-edge work of fiction, it's also written from a foundation of personal experience. Trigger warnings may apply for hostage situations, strong language, and extreme violence, but as you read, you will become absorbed in this military page-turner, and get an inside view of how piracy works and how it was thwarted. The momentum builds along with the action and dialogue to a crescendo fit for a movie or mini-series. The characters are well-constructed, the plot well-executed, and perfectly paced.

This author seems to be a natural storyteller. You'll have an interesting time getting to know the team, and you'll wonder how the story will play out. Vivid details and attention to the little things keep you locked into the story, and he has a quick, efficient way of bringing you into the lives and minds of the characters and their situations. If you like high stakes and rescue scenarios, you will become an instant fan of Rob Phayre and The Ransom Drop.

Vincent Dublado

The Ransom Drop (The Response Files) by Rob Phayre is a tension-drenched narrative that sets the bar high for a thriller story at sea. Hibernia II is an oil tanker carrying a cargo of petroleum products and is on her way to Mombasa. Just as everything is smooth-sailing, a group of inexperienced Somali pirates hijacks the vessel, demanding 110 million US dollars by the end of the week. A team of negotiators, security, and maritime experts is called to help and ensure the safety of the tanker’s crew. They initially have no idea about the baddies involved in the hijack, except for one named Abdi, who speaks with a strong cockney London British accent. As negotiations are underway, the rescue team prepares for phases and timings—a plan that must leave no room for error. The problem is, things don’t always go according to plan.

What unfolds in these pages is gripping as Rob Phayre demonstrates his narrative skills at building tension: from an up-close and personal look at the Somali pirates to the detailed, meticulous plan of the rescue and ransom drop. Employing dialogue between negotiators increases verisimilitude, and this story greatly reminds me of Captain Phillips, except that this novel feels grittier and more intense. It has a balanced focus between hijacking and rescue. Moreover, there are powerful psychological exchanges between the pirates and the negotiators. It’s the kind of story where even the detailed plan of rescue is entertaining to read. It has a strong sense of urgency because the good guys are often fighting against time in order to deliver results. The Ransom Drop is an engaging military novel that ranks high in my list of must-reads.