**The Takers and Keepers was sent to me for free in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to Random Things Tours and Hooklike Books for having me on the tour.**
Where do the disappeared go?
The girls and women who vanish, seldom to resurface.
Allen Kimbo, a freelance reporter, believes there is a network of men who guard their “taken” and keep the silence that surrounds such deeds.
An email lures him to Eastern Europe, to a meeting of the Takers and Keepers.
His girlfriend, Emily, pleads with him not to go.
In Belgrade more is revealed than he had thought possible.
Back at home, Emily is missing.
The Takers and Keepers gives a dark, disturbing insight into the horrifying underground world of human trafficking.
Allen Kimbo is an ex-convict turned journalist, who has chosen to make it his life’s mission to rescue others who’ve gone missing. He has a distinct knowledge of the underground world where women and children are being hidden away from the world to be used for sex and a twisted sense of companionship. I love that Allen is a journalist because, being one myself for a time, I could understand that drive to get to the bottom of every story. He didn’t leave any stone unturned throughout the book and even ended up in dangerous locations to uncover the truth.
I feel Allen was the only semi-likable character. His girlfriend, Emily, came across as a bit whiny to me initially. She hated his line of work because it put him in danger which anyone could understand. I found Allen could be quite selfish where Emily was concerned, it did feel as if he put his needs before her own when a big story presented itself.
This didn’t feel like a story you could necessarily enjoy. It was so traumatic, especially when the stories of the women and children who are being trafficked are shared. Even for those with the strongest stomach, it would be enough to make you feel physically sick. I could understand why Allen had this deep need to ‘save’ them because it would be inhumane to not want to. My skin was crawling as I read of the vile things that happened. It did feel slow even though it was a short book.
I give The Takers and Keepers 3/5 stars. It still held enough of my attention for it to be intriguing, but I struggled to connect with it. This is not a book for those who are deeply affected by disturbing content but would be well suited to crime fans.