The Fixer

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Form meaningful bonds. And it allowed other people to access the world like he did. M y friend Phil likes to say my father ran his life like a corporation and raised me in it. His underwear was pressed. UPS and FedEx came nightly to our driveway to drop things off, pick things up. He had packing down to a science — sets of clothes folded and fitted into plastic cases, cosmetics ready to go.

We had a whole suitcase closet in the basement, and at some point, he turned the downstairs guest room into a staging area for packing, his clothing and cosmetic sets stacked in laundry baskets. A fun party trick was bringing people inside — his business associates, my siblings and my friends. Sometimes we used the items ourselves. Often, we gave things away. When he went to India twice as a family, several times he alone for work , he brought things along. Like travel, for Dad, the Secret Room was an extension of souvenir collecting as a kid. Steven Rothstein was there. He was very much there.

And always in touch. I mean, he used a phone … he was one of the first people with a cell phone. Most of my life, I focused on how Dad was always on a plane. When I think about it now, when he was home, he was there: sitting with me on my bedroom floor, or at the dinner table, or coming in to kiss me goodnight. He has a presence. Not only a loud voice, but also a boom of self. He arrives. He is both taking off and landing at once. If there was a chance he could come home and stay with his family overnight, he preferred that to any hotel in the world.

I wanna go home. I wanna be with my family. Dad was an airport celebrity, and when we traveled together, it embarrassed the shit out of me. Like riding a cart from security to the gate because as a family, we ran late — Dad has a knack for rushed arrivals. Or walking into the Admirals Club locations and having the folks at the front desk know us by name, which was really kind, but also like … I was a kid.

Or when in second grade, he took me to Japan for the weekend because he wanted me to experience an inaugural flight San Jose to Tokyo. We were in the bulkhead, the first row of any flight cabin. As we landed, there were reporters flooding the jet bridge to photograph the first person off the flight. Technically, based on his seat, that was Dad. But as he figured out what was happening, he insisted I go first so I could be the star.

I stood there with my 7-year-old smile, bright-colored headband, and long V-neck Limited Too sweater hanging down to my thighs. I was mortified. But Dad wanted us to experience absolutely everything there was in life. He wanted to take me to all 50 states by the time I was We put a big U. But I sort of doubt, for the most part, they had the kind of wanderlust and open-mindedness and fascination that your father had with the world, and still does for that matter. It was woven into your tapestry. Into the fabric of who you are, and how you look at other people and the world.

I understood the weight and privilege as a kid. I understood — we all did — that the AAirpass meant my father could travel and do business in unprecedented ways, and it allowed our entire family to travel in ways few people on earth could. We got the privileges, all of them, all of us. I ask my sister, Natalie, a psychotherapist living in Chicago, her earliest memories of traveling on an airplane: landing in Australia at age 3, walking down the aisle as the plane was still moving, and someone grabbing her to keep her safe.

But I was aware very early. Wont to interrogate privilege — race, class and otherwise — I pry. Did she really get that first class was different than the rest of the plane? It was clear I was surrounded by mostly people who had a lot of money, and I was always one of the only kids in first class, and that felt weird and I always wanted to be with other kids in coach. That trip to Australia I was in fifth grade was our first big international family vacation. You and Josh are in all the black-and-white-check stuff.

It was so unusual to be Americans at Christmas in Tokyo. It was about seeing the world …. We wanted to connect to the people. For a while we were in touch …. We would send him pictures and things. People enriched us. Hopefully we enriched others. She starts laughing as she recalls a time we visited the Holy Sepulchre in Israel and Dad got in trouble for laying down with his yoga strap, trying to stretch his back in front of the church.

The travel was first class, the hotels were first class, but the experiences were very real and authentic. O n October 6, , Josh — 15 and a half — was hit by a car while walking down the sidewalk. A car had pulled an illegal U-turn. To avoid a collision, another driver accidentally accelerated, swerved up onto the sidewalk and flung Josh into the side of a building. His head hit the building. He was knocked unconscious. My uncle Jeffrey called me from Scarsdale and told me to get on a plane. It was my first month of college; I rushed to the Philadelphia Airport and bought a ticket home.

It would be at least another 15 years before I could descend the American Airlines baggage claim escalator without going into a trauma shock. Over a thousand people attended his funeral. Lorraine helped get people on flights. Ernie from American says it was sad to watch Dad when they occasionally saw each other over the years. His only son. Outwardly, his strength was renowned. But I knew how much it impacted him … I know his children meant more to him than any business deal, than any situation in life that could come up.

I had asked Dad what the media tends to overlook when they cover this story. I was just very confused and very lonely and I was calling American Airlines because they were logical people for me to speak to. They knew me. I knew them. I knew their names. I knew their lives.

I knew that a husband and wife both worked at the Raleigh-Durham reservations office of American. So by calling the number, I was able to talk to somebody in my loneliness. I talk to Natalie, who was still at home with a front row seat to his grief while I was away at college. She tells me about the shame Dad felt when people in our community often pitied him after Josh died — and still do to this day — as if he were a broken man. But the airport and American were where he was still treated like a full, whole man.

I went into the ticket counter. I checked in my luggage for London. Turns out a letter had been drafted to notify Dad that they were concerned with his behavior and use of the pass.

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But they decided not to send it. I was probably more shocked than anyone else. He called someone in the baggage department at Heathrow, who assisted. Aamil never made it to Sarajevo. In fact, that was one of the last times they ever spoke. Ultimately, Aamil disappeared from our lives. Dad went home.

Told Mom. Got in bed. And slept for the rest of the weekend, and arguably — at least figuratively — for a really long time after that. And I had no idea how I was going to live my life the way I lived it. His blood. It was his superpower. Dad was one of a few lifetime, unlimited AAirpass holders that American had been monitoring and claimed had breached their contracts. But now, after years of quiet and secret investigation, apparently Dad and others were costing American too much money.

Even though Dad had dealt with the reservations agents on an almost daily basis, it was the revenues department that got involved, interjected, and launched an investigation that brought the whole house down. The dollar amount was based on the value of the lifetime unlimited AAirpass the last time it was sold for public consumption — though American had stopped selling them in , a Neiman Marcus catalogue offered them for 3 million bucks.

A primary issue in the case was whether American properly terminated his AAirpass Agreement based on Section 12, which read:. According to Lorraine and the legal documents, a longtime American employee launched the investigation, looking into several other AAirpass holders, including Dad and Jacques Vroom, another lifetime unlimited customer, whose AAirpass termination also resulted in a lawsuit.

I reached out to American Airlines for comment on this article. Truth is, AAirpass was — even in its earliest, earliest days — a failed program. As for the case, American anticipated a resolution without a trial; Dad anticipated a trial by jury. They spent the summer of debating — back and forth — over the fraud clause, and whether it was ambiguous or clear.

Then, American counterclaimed, saying Dad broke the contract by improperly using the companion feature. In April , an American employee had approached Dad and asked him to stop, as security measures around flying had clearly started to shift after September So he stopped. He was the first person I knew to have a cell phone, and then the first person I knew to get a BlackBerry and remains one of the last to have one.

But a computer — never. Ernie says Dad found creative ways to use his AAirpass, even though Ernie knows of other cardholders who absolutely violated the terms of use — letting others use it, getting paid. Seven third-party witnesses connected to Dad — family members, friends and business associates — were interviewed during discovery. Rarely could anyone else do that, even if they gave their word.

Only Dad knew how to drop everything and fly. That was his superpower. He had wings. Yet American Airlines agents condoned it for decades. They had won. As mentioned, the judge issued a summary judgment. Then, the Court of Appeals affirmed. Dad had lost. The appeal stayed until American exited bankruptcy in December And the final chunks of paperwork were filed in early But it never really quieted. That my mother, two uncles and an aunt all went in for depositions, or that hundreds of legal hours and thousands of dollars and documents unfolded.

This spring, after gaining access to the court documents, and reading over 80 documents in full, I call Dad as I leave my writing space at p. I say this is clear: What American did to interpret fraud was out of line. During the same time period, he booked 2, flight segments for travel companions, and 2, were either canceled or a no-show. I tell him I need to maintain my journalistic balance and integrity. Under those terms I bought the extra seat.

Anyone I wanted. He wanted to be alone, just as had always been his booking practice on many airlines, even well before the AAirpass days. He liked his space. He liked access to bringing extra carry-on bags. He liked some privacy. The airplane was his home. He was at home.

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People buy extra and empty seats all the time. A permanent extra seat for life — whether another human was in it or not. Here is why. I was up and [alone] in my home office and bored. So I would call the number for the AAirpass desk and talk to the agent about the news or the weather or about Paris or little London. Then, after an hour of nothing they had to hang up. So I would make a reservation and ask them to fax it to me. Then the next day I would take the fax and cancel the reservation. I needed someone to talk to at midnight. The number was open. His understanding was that fraudulent behavior was limited to giving the AAirpass to someone else — which he never did.

I still have never ever ever booked any reservation online. I always use the phone.

If it’s not broken, improve it.

So their own agents never stopped me from anything. Real depression. On his iPad, he FaceTimes me from his hotel room. It took away my hobby. I thought that I could go to Sweden for the weekend in July and pick up flowers when I was They stole the very thing that caused me to give them a half a million dollars in the first place.

And a half a million dollars is probably like 5 million dollars today. And they did it maliciously. So maybe someplace in between. Or maybe my mind goes back and forth. Of course, racial and class privilege, body ability, access to health care and support, and other privileges obviously play a massive role. But the inside spectacle of pain is traumatic across the board. So it was a huge loss, and it was shitty timing because it gave our family an opportunity to still travel, to find the joy in travel.

Hong Kong. New York. We inherit things from our kin. As an internationally touring poet, performer and educator, when I am on tour, I am alive. I know how to operate an airport or bus terminal or Amtrak station or a rental car. Natalie does too. People have come to me about their hatred or fear of flying. A certain amount of time in the sky that belongs only to you. Regardless of your seat. Of course, I recognize that because I was socialized to fly in first class, my feelings about travel are biased. Even though I fly economy now, even though my eyes can tell the difference, somehow my body does not.

I am in the air. I am free above the world. My best friend, Chloe, recently asked me what my favorite airline is, given all the travel I do. I feel nostalgia. Fargo is on my bucket list! I am yelping at this point. Literally hitting my leg and chair audibly. Suddenly, I feel like Dad must have felt talking to her — laughing, joking, dreaming up trips.

Some people inherit money. Or trauma. A host of other things. I thank her and wish her a beautiful day. From a near-death experience that shook a family to its core to a shocking proposition in a therapist's office, Believable explores how our stories define who we are. I n each episode of Believable , we dive into a personal, eye-opening story where narratives conflict, and different perspectives about the truth collide. These are complex and suspenseful audio stories that expand to say something larger about the role of narrative and identity in our lives.

Episode 1 of Believable , which is now live, is about a woman who bounced around state institutions and foster homes as a child, always wishing for the family she never had. Until one day she finally gets what she asked for — and then some. How a brilliant scientist went from discovering a mother lode of treasure at the bottom of the sea to fleeing from authorities with suitcases full of cash.

Thompson had long insisted that he suffers from neurological problems and chronic fatigue syndrome, which impairs his memory, and that his meandering explanations were a symptom of the distress foisted upon him. Thompson was genuinely sickened and overwhelmed, however, and he found it extremely frustrating that nobody seemed to take his condition seriously. In the 30 years since, the weight of the find had upended partnerships, ended his marriage, and set loose the specter of greed.

What began as a valiant mission of science turned into something else entirely. O n September 11, , about 7, feet beneath the surface of the Atlantic Ocean, a set of glowing orbs moved smoothly through the darkness and illuminated the mysterious world below. That far down there are few currents, the water is close to freezing, and it is almost pitch black.

The only light typically comes from the bioluminescent creatures that float by like ghosts, but in this case the lights were from a six-ton, unmanned vessel. The Nemo , looking like an industrial freezer with two robotic arms, made a small adjustment to its thrusters and hovered above the scattered remains of a sunken ship. Video of the wreckage was relayed to a vessel bobbing above, giving the crew — and the world — the first look at a ship whose location had stymied treasure hunters for generations.

It was the SS Central America , a massive side-wheel steamship that sank in a hurricane off the coast of South Carolina in Illustration of the S. Central America before its sinking. Photo courtesy Library of Congress. The find was remarkable for many reasons. The artifacts eventually recovered from the ship were a window into a bygone era and gave voice to the hundreds of people who were pulled into the abyss. But the discovery was also a spectacular victory for pocketbooks — the ship was carrying gold when it sank, and lots of it: coins, bars and nuggets of every size surrounded the wreck and covered its decks and rotting masts.

And that was only what the crew could see — somewhere in the remains were said to be between 3 and 21 tons of gold, a haul some experts valued at close to half a billion dollars. For Thompson, the Edisonian genius who masterminded the expedition, the discovery was the first salvo of what looked to be a long, impressive career. He became an American hero, a mix of brains and daring in the tradition of the scientist-adventurers of yore.

But Thompson was subjected to a legal hell storm as soon as he set foot on shore. Numerous people and companies were vying for their share of the gold, and the unending litigation was compounded by the lawsuits filed by investors who claimed Thompson had ripped them off. In , long after the litigation had sidetracked his calling, Thompson went underground, allegedly taking with him suitcases full of cash and gold.

Months later, Thompson was staying under an assumed name at a hotel in Boca Raton, Florida, trying to keep his faculties in check. He was unkempt, unwell and barely left his hotel room, as he had been on the run from federal authorities for the past two and a half years. From the witness stand in Columbus, Thompson disclosed startling information in a story already laden with tragedy and fortunes lost — and shed light on the mystery of millions in still-missing gold.

The pressure 8, feet below the sea is times greater than on the surface, and Tommy Thompson was squeezed by something even more intense for the better part of 30 years. He grew up in Defiance, Ohio, a small city in the northwestern corner of the state. He was always drawn to the water, and he enjoyed challenging friends to breath-holding contests.

When he was a teenager, he bought and fixed up an amphibious car, and he loved pranking his friends by driving unsuspecting passengers into a lake. Rife with lore, the hunters spoke of ships sunken somewhere out in the ocean with more gold than could ever be spent. However, nobody knew quite where to start looking, nor could they afford the technology necessary to undertake the search. Following his graduation from The Ohio State University with a degree in ocean engineering, Thompson went to work for the Battelle Memorial Institute, a prominent research lab in Columbus that has developed everything from kitchen appliances to nuclear weapons.

There, he was able to work on deep-sea engineering projects, at one point developing technology that allowed the U. Thompson wanted to work exclusively in deep water but was routinely warned that such jobs were hard to come by. So he began looking for other ways to pursue this heady scientific passion. It was actually the means to an end. One of the first orders of business was to find the perfect wreck to hunt. Thompson worked with Bob Evans, an equivalently intelligent polymath and professional geologist, to winnow down the list of candidate ships.

The Central America ferried passengers to and from California at the height of the Gold Rush in the mid 19th century. Six hundred people, and up to 21 tons of gold coming from California, were aboard the Central America when it disembarked to New York from a stopover in Cuba on September 3, Five days later, the ship found herself floundering in the middle of a terrifying hurricane.

Passengers attempted a hour nonstop bucket brigade to keep the ship afloat, but the engines flooded and the storm ripped apart masts and sails. The ship was doomed. The vessel let out a final tortured groan as it sank on the evening of September 12, sucking souls down in a horrifying vortex. The loss in gold was so profound that it was one of the factors precipitating the Great Panic financial crisis of Finding the Central America would be no easy matter — proportionally it would be like finding a single grain of sand in the floor plan of a four-bedroom house.

The key, Thompson knew, was to undertake a logical and hyper-organized search.

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Bob Evans used every known detail about the fateful voyage, including passenger and crew accounts of the weather as the ship sank, and worked with a search theory expert to determine that the wreck was likely somewhere in a 1,square-mile grid miles southeast of Charleston, South Carolina, in part of the ocean that was nearly a mile and a half deep. Each square on the grid was assigned a number based on the likelihood that the ship had ended up there, and the idea was to trawl a sonar apparatus up and down the grid and take in-depth readings of the most promising results.

Obsessed with his work, Thompson was said to be indifferent to food and sleep, dressed in a thrift store suit and hair afrizz. As a result, the high-powered investors waiting in their upper-floor offices and elegant conference rooms were often skeptical of his bewildering presence. But time after time, Thompson would speak to them reasonably, thoroughly and intelligently. He was realistic about the low probability of success, outlined various contingencies, and emphasized that the mission offered the chance for the investors to participate in a journey of good old American discovery.

Investors soon found themselves chuckling in delight at the audacious fun of the project and the inspiring confidence they felt in Thompson. Wayne Ashby told the Columbus Dispatch in Thompson was the head of both. Under the aegis of these companies, Thompson outfitted a search vessel, put together a crew, and developed a seven-ton remotely operated vehicle capable of withstanding deep-ocean conditions.

They also conducted various other experiments useful to the recovery, such as purposely giving Evans the bends. As Gary Kinder writes in Ship of Gold in the Deep Blue Sea, the deepest an unmanned submersible had gone previous to this was 6, feet. That vehicle had been difficult to control, with only one arm that could perform rudimentary functions. The technology Thompson and his crew developed in secret streamlined and refined the submersible so that it was much easier to control and could perform the delicate tasks needed for the recovery of the ship.

It was one of their secret weapons, and the mission to find the Central America was officially launched in June The mission was subject to numerous difficulties: seasickness, short tempers, errant weather, malfunctioning equipment, little sleep, and a stretch of time when the only food served was fried chicken. Investors groused about the delays, but Thompson always managed to assuage their fears. In late summer , the crew sent the submersible robot down to check out an overlooked blip on the search grid.

The control room aboard the ship, with its walls of monitors and technology that made it look like an alien craft from an old movie, exploded with profoundly human joy. Gold and artifacts were brought to the surface starting in fall , the beginnings of a haul that would grow to include gold ingots, 7, gold coins, and, at 80 pounds, one of the largest single pieces of gold ever discovered and at the time the most valuable piece of currency in the world.

Wayne Ashby told the Dispatch when the discovery was announced. When asked by a reporter to estimate the value of the haul, Thompson demurred. The first haul of gold was taken from the ship straight into armored cars by guards carrying machine guns amidst cheering investors, well wishers, and descendants of the survivors of the Central America wreck. But as it would turn out, that brief glimpse was the closest any investor would ever get to the treasure found at the bottom of the sea. I n , the Columbus-America Discovery Group had secured its right in admiralty court to excavate the Central America site and retain possession of whatever they discovered beneath the sea.

But this ruling was challenged almost as soon as Thompson set foot back on the shore. Thompson and his companies were sued by no less than separate entities, including 39 insurance companies that had insured the cargo on the original Central America voyage. Things got even more complex when an order of Capuchin monks sued Thompson, alleging he had copped the intel given to them by a professor from Columbia University whom they had commissioned to do a sonar search of the same area.

The estimated location of the S. Central America. Illustration by Yunuen Bonaparte. Recovery operations were suspended in because of the lawsuits, leaving the fate of the gold brought to the surface in legal limbo — and tons of gold still on the wreck at the bottom of the sea. The back-and-forth continued until and in the process established case law in admiralty court when Thompson and his companies were finally awarded Coupled with a significant devaluing of the rare coin market, a few investors wondered about the future of their investment. The pressure mounted as Thompson attempted to balance his obligations to his crew, his companies, and his investors while being a dad to his three kids.

He was right there, every time there was a hearing. He read every page of every brief, and a lot of times he was helping with the writing, too. Army, but this later proved to be a myth. Meetings with investors became less frequent, they said, as did updates and newsletters. Once lauded for his openness, Thompson appeared to go into a shell. Thompson said that his silence was necessary to protect trade secrets. By , some of the investors were fed up with the way Recovery Limited Partnership was being run and made moves to establish another company, this time with the investors in charge.

The companies were restructured, with the reworked Columbus Exploration as a partner company to Recovery Limited Partnership. Thompson was again the head of both entities, though it was stipulated that he would draw a salary only from the former and not the latter. Much of it was sold to gold and coin dealers, and some of the treasure was displayed in a lavish traveling exhibit across the country, with Thompson sometimes making an appearance alongside his discovery.

Photos courtesy Donn Pearlman. Thompson then allegedly told investors that they would not be seeing any of the proceeds, as all the money went to pay off the loans and legal fees that had accrued since the mission began. Thompson took the coins without approval from the board, though his attorney Keith Golden maintains there was nothing clandestine about it. Nonetheless, in , two former investors filed lawsuits against Thompson for breach of contract and fiduciary duty: Donald Fanta, president of an investment firm, the Fanta Group, and the Dispatch Printing Company, owned by the family that ran The Columbus Dispatch.

Dispatch scion John W. However, he died and his cousin John F. Convinced that Thompson was ripping him off, the cousin pushed the lawsuit ahead. Thompson was next sued by a group of nine sonar techs from the original mission who claimed they had been duped out of 2 percent of the profits from the gold, plus interest. The two cases were combined with a third into a mega-lawsuit in federal court, creating a labyrinthine legal situation with a rotating cast of attorneys and thousands of motions and maneuvers that bewildered even seasoned courtroom players.

Missions to the Central America were once again put on hold as Thompson put his mind to work filing legal briefs and appeals. Once having bragged of being the subject of more than 3, articles, Thompson had long since stopped talking to the press, and now spent half the year living in a Florida mansion rented under another name. Thompson began to show symptoms of the gilded affliction.

In he was arrested in Jacksonville after a sheriff observed him hiding something under the seat following a routine traffic stop. In July , U. Organ had never actually met Thompson and claimed that he was out to sea. But Judge Sargus shook his head and declared bullshit.

The two were presumed to be together and, some of the investors speculated, in possession of millions of dollars in cash and the gold coins. On top of the civil suits against him, Thompson was charged with criminal contempt of court, and U. Marshals were tasked with tracking down him down. Marshal Brad Fleming told the Associated Press in the midst of the pursuit. Once the most successful treasure hunter in the world, Tommy Thompson was now the one being hunted. I n late summer , a handyman named James Kennedy walked up to the porch of Gracewood, a large home in Vero Beach, Florida.

Kennedy took out his cell phone and pretended to call the landlord. I picked up my cell phone and I said it real loud. He had been a handyman for decades, but even he was taken aback by what he found inside. Thompson had been renting Gracewood since , a home away from the hassles in Columbus, and the mansion had become their home base when they fled Ohio two months earlier.

As renters, Thompson and Antekeier had always been friendly but maintained their distance, Brinkerhoff said. He searched for Thompson on the internet and learned that the tenants were wanted by U. Kennedy himself had once found a mammoth bone and was similarly besieged with people trying to take advantage of his find. The U. Marshals erected a wanted billboard as they worked to track down Tommy Thompson and Alison Antekeier. Photo courtesy U. Marshals Service. So he called the Marshals.

But by that point, Thompson and Antekeier had long since fled Gracewood, and law enforcement was once again unable to determine where they went. Marshal Brad Fleming said in an interview. Based on material found in the Pennwood cabin, the Marshals were alerted to the Hilton Boca Raton Suites, a banal upscale setting where the pair of fugitives had remained hidden since May 30, Marshals prepared to descend on the hotel.

Thompson was a brilliant mind and incredible strategist, but he was not suited for life on the run. One of the last times anyone had seen him, it was a worrisome sight: Thompson was in the backyard of a house he was renting, yelling into his phone in his underwear. Think more along the lines of Dilbert in charge of the operation. But what had to be one of the most intense disappointments in the saga, for Thompson, was the fact that the excavation of the Central America would carry on without him.

Kane in turn contracted a company called Odyssey Marine Exploration to finish the recovery of the Central America. The goal was to bring the rest of the gold to the surface and ensure that the investors got paid. Thompson has significant holdings in the U. If there are dollars that he is hiding, I want every penny of it. The renewed excavation launched in April , with U.

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Marshals putting a wanted poster of Thompson aboard the ship in case he attempted to rejoin the mission. The operation was quite successful, bringing up more than 45 gold bars, 15, coins, and hundreds of artifacts over the course of numerous dives, including a pair of glasses, a pistol, and a safe filled with packages. The sale of the gold was once again undertaken by the California Gold Marketing Group. O n January 27, , Thompson, then 62, was pale and sickly as he sat in his room in the Hilton Suites in Boca Raton, his body racked with the paranoid tics of a man on the run.

She took almost comically cinematic precautions when appearing in public, wearing big floppy hats and taking a succession of buses and taxis to lose anyone who might be on her tail. The hunt was led by an intimidating and extremely direct U. Marshal named Mike Stroh. He had been involved in manhunts all over the country, but the mission to find Thompson had special resonance with him as a professional person-finder.

After seven hours of following her, Marshals crashed their way into the hotel and surprised the two, screaming at them not to move. The Marshals would ultimately cart away 75 boxes of evidence from the room, but they came up empty-handed in one aspect of their quest. Investigators found boxes in the Gracewood mansion that looked a lot like those that had held the restrike coins, but the gold itself was nowhere to be found.

Thompson tried to fight the extradition. Marshal Brad Fleming said Thompson was chatty as they made the journey back, perhaps relieved that he no longer had to hide. Both pleaded guilty to criminal contempt. T he capture of Tommy Thompson made for a fairly pedestrian end to a story that had captivated Columbus for years. Other associates were wistful about the turn of events. But the notion that not even a brilliant mind could resist running off with gold was too salacious not to report, and the allegations of thievery became the dominant narrative.

It was an unfortunate bookend to the legacy of someone who had long maintained that the historical and scientific aspects of the recovery were the most important point of the mission. Gold ingots, pokes, dust and nuggets, all part of the exhibition showing the recovered treasure from the S.

Central America Photos courtesy Donn Pearlman. Indeed, the non-gold accomplishments of the Central America mission are impressive and resounding. Michael Vecchione, a zoologist with the Smithsonian who briefly worked with the expedition, said the jerry-rigged technology of the Nemo is now standard practice for deep-ocean explorations. The mission took thousands of hours of video, giving scientists an unprecedented look at deep-sea life and revealing new species and their evolutionary adaptations, he said.

Deep-sea sponges were retrieved and studied for their antitumor properties. And the way in which they physically nabbed the gold was incredible in its own right: The robotic arms of the submersible gingerly placed a frame around a pile of coins and injected it with silicone, which, when solidified, made for a block full of gold that could be stored until it was ready to be brought to the surface.

Controlling all of this were systems less powerful than those contained in the average smart phone, Bob Evans said. The coins and other gold items recovered from the Odyssey Marine—led excavation debuted in a public exhibit in Los Angeles in February to record-setting attendance, and they were next seen in May at an NRA convention in Dallas. After administrative costs, court costs and creditor claims, there would theoretically be a distribution to the investors in Recovery Limited Partnership — the first time they would ever see a dime, 33 years after the initial investment for some.

The prison, an imposing but generic detention facility surrounded by razor wire, is about three hours from Columbus, and it is the place Thompson has called home for more than four years. It appears to be his home for the foreseeable future, as Thompson is serving an indefinite sentence in federal prison for civil contempt for refusing to divulge the whereabouts of the coins. It has been hard to deduce his motivations, even for those who know him well. His intense concentration and extreme focus found the Central America , and the same focus applied to trying to find an answer to his current predicament is taken as unwillingness to play ball.

Only two of the hundreds of investors in the mission have sued Thompson because they knew it was a gamble to begin with, she said. Moreover, as Bob Evans explained, the actual value of the gold was highly speculative in the first place. The inventory has been published. There is no other gold that has been recovered. Perhaps the math is not simple, but it is not beyond the talents of the most elementary minds, or at least the reasonably educated. But according to Quintin Lindsmith, attorney for the Dispatch Printing Company, recouping the supposedly missing returns is not the point.

Thirty years and two months after the treasure was found, Thompson was driven the long three hours from Milan, Michigan, to Columbus, Ohio, to stand trial and answer questions many people had been waiting a long time to ask. The missing defendant suggested a repeat of previous events. Had he somehow fled? Thompson, in a navy sport coat and light-colored plaid shirt, was momentarily nonplussed, and his eyes, behind his black, thick-framed glasses, registered a small amount of surprise.

Most damning, however, was alleged evidence that he had stashed gold at the bottom of the sea, presumably to be retrieved later on: When the receivership went back down to the Central America in , they found coins and gold bars that had been neatly laid out on trays. Thompson also admitted that he had made off with the gold coins as a form of remuneration he felt he was due. In her testimony, Alison Antekeier said that between and she moved them from California to a safe-deposit box in in Jacksonville, and then to a storage facility in Fort Lauderdale, where she gave them, in a handful of suitcases, to a man who was supposed to transfer them to an irrevocable trust in Belize.

This was the point Thompson was trying to make all along. As his attorney Keith Golden explained, an irrevocable trust means that once the trust is set up, the person who opened it cannot access it without the permission of the named beneficiaries. Who was supposedly named as beneficiaries on the trust is unclear. The ruling was later overturned on appeal. Finally, after weeks of testimony, the attorneys made their closing arguments and the jury reached its verdict. Thompson sat in his wheelchair, legs shackled, as the official paperwork was handed from the foreman to the bailiff to the judge.

After the decades of science, discovery, stress and flight, it all came down to this. In the matter of the civil case against, it was determined that defendant Thomas G. Thompson sat expressionless while everyone else gasped. However, the jury declined to award any punitive damages or court fees, indicating that there was no evidence that Thompson acted with malice. Either way, Lindsmith said the victory is once again about the principle. Like the cost of the litigation itself, the financial cost is immaterial to the larger point.

The receivership is fielding offers for a multitude of items from the Central America and the recovery missions. Available for sale are bits and pieces of scientific and historical ephemera , including silicone molds with gold coin impressions, and even the Nemo , the remote underwater vehicle that was the first human contact with the Central America since They have tickets from the passengers. Gold bars and coins at the shipwreck site in Golden adds that the relentless litigation torpedoed an opportunity that would have made the Central America recovery look like chump change.

Thompson was working with the Colombian government in the mids to recover an old galleon whose estimated value is legitimately a few billion dollars. The next steps for Thompson in the case brought by Dispatch Printing include an appeal of the judgment, with the hopes that the award will be diminished or overturned. Separately, Thompson has filed an appeal in federal court to be let out of prison. Thompson is currently awaiting the ruling of a three-judge panel about whether or not his is valid. What little time he has to use the phone is spent speaking with lawyers, business partners, and his family; ditto for the days he can have visitors.

For one book to have a bunch of characters, it is natural to expect the story cannot accommodate plenty of voices. But, fear not! They are integrated into the plot with fleshed out depiction. Like I always say familial aspect and a band of friends taking over the world is one of my favorite things. The Fixer gave me all of this desire. There is a heavy emphasis on family love and friendship.

I particularly teared up at a few scenes. What a dreamboat. The plot is engrossing. The author deftly made politics even more scandalous. Again, I did not guess any of the twists right. If you want a lump of people kissing, you will be dismayed with this part. Evidently this will be explored in the sequel, perhaps with a promise of love triangle? Bonus: There are two main POC who are integrated into the plot.

Yay for that! Hopefully, this book will open more doors for Thriller-Politics book in YA. I am banking my money on this genre. To conclude this somewhat long review, The Fixer is a book you should be clamoring your hands to get into! Review also posted at Young Adult Hollywood. View all 9 comments. I need Jennifer Lynn Barnes and I to be best friends. View all 5 comments. Feb 23, Mlpmom Book Reviewer rated it really liked it Shelves: arc-book-read , kindle-books.

We all have those authors that we instinctively go to when we need something fun, original, and well written. Something that will keep us on the edge of our seats, engaged in the story from beginning to end. Something we will think about when we put the book down and something we will still be thinking about long after it is over. Jennifer Lynn Barnes, is that author for me. She hasn't let me down yet and her latest release, The Fixer, is testament to why that still remains the same. I adored this We all have those authors that we instinctively go to when we need something fun, original, and well written.

I adored this whole freaking book. I devoured it. They all made me smile and laugh numerous times, and I couldn't help it, I fell in love with them all as the story progressed. The storyline was completely engaging, completely unique and the added bonus of a mystery and a thriller, on top of a coming of age story, was something that was completely irresistible. Did I mention that I really loved this story? And honestly, I can't even begin to describe why other than the above already mentioned. It was just appealing, fun, exciting, action packed, mystery filled, funny I could go on and on but eventually I will run out of adjectives to use that apply.

So, just know this, I loved every minute of this read. Barnes is an amazing story teller and I love that even the bad guys, are hard to resist. I am so excited for this new series and will be on the edge of my seat waiting for book two to be released. View all 4 comments. Jun 14, Rashika is tired rated it really liked it Shelves: read , brain-candy , good-secondary-characters , loved , e-arcs , ya , awesomeness-redefined , good-female-leads , guys-one-cannot-help-falling-for , realistic-contemporary.

For starters, believe the tagline, this book actually did remind me of Scandal the tv show and in the best possible way. After a little questioning, Tess finds out that her sister is a professional fixer and is actually quite an influential person in DC she is on a first name basis with the first lady. She has been absent for the past couple years but she had her somewhat selfish reasons and you find those out later on in the novel. Tess is also a great main character.

I love how clever she is. I love how smart she is. I love how she hates bullies. And I love how badass she is. I love me some smart characters and Tess definitely hit that mark. I am not going to say that Tess if the first female lead with those characteristics in YA but I would also love to see more Tess-like female lead in YA. The secondary characters are also a great bunch.

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Mentallo & The Fixer

We also have Mr. The plot in this book is intense. In the world of DC, there is never just one person who is responsible but a chain of people. We never find out who is on top of the chain in this novel because they were probably PRETTY high up but that's okay because we found out a lot of other interesting things. When the book finished, I wondered about the characters.

Note that I received an e-arc of the book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Oct 03, Sophie rated it it was amazing Shelves: releases , 5-stars , read-in , own-read. In The Fixer, we follow Tess, as she rediscovers her older sister, Ivy, after a family tragedy. Since the deaths of their parents over a decade ago, Tess has been living with her grandfather on a farm in rural Montana. Unfortunately, her grandfather falls ill with Alzheimer's, and Tess can no longer look after herself. Ivy comes to the rescue, and flies Tess off to Washington D. As she discovers that Ivy is involved in high politics, and i In The Fixer, we follow Tess, as she rediscovers her older sister, Ivy, after a family tragedy.

As she discovers that Ivy is involved in high politics, and is known as a 'Fixer' around the city, Tess falls upon a conspiracy, one that she can only deal with herself. I was completely blown away by this book, so much so, that I devoured it only three hours. If you have ever watched Scandal, Ivy Kendrick is just like Olivia Pope, in the most perfect way ever! Also, Tess is wonderfully similar to Veronica Mars. This was honestly the best crossover I could have wished for. The characters, albeit very similar to the aforementioned TV characters, were wonderful in their own ways.

Tess was a character I associated with this author, and though her situation was unreal - I mean, who meets the President and First Lady on a regular basis? She wasn't shiny, and perfect, nor was she wholly a basket case. Simply, she was someone who put on a brave face in the face of adversity, and was still vulnerable and a bit damaged inside. She faced so many difficult situations throughout the book, and honestly, I would have been wary if it didn't affect her in some way.

Tess wasn't the only great character. Her sister, Ivy, though elusive and not around much, definitely cared for Tess, and proved time and time again that she was amazing at her job, if not at keeping up familial relationships. Tess's school friends, Asher, Vivvie, and Henry, each had their own redeeming qualities, and I honestly hope that Tess and Henry have a relationship in subsequent books - their chemistry was off the charts, and you can just tell there is something brewing below the surface.

If you have loved Barnes' The Naturals series, you will definitely enjoy this! Honestly, I think the majority of people would definitely enjoy The Fixer, if they give it a chance! Aug 02, Kels rated it really liked it Recommends it for: readers looking for a fresh take in the YA genre. Shelves: ya , favorite-characters , high-school-years , drama-drama-drama , face-stuck-in-book , fan-freaking-tastic , favorites , tr , mystery , contemporary. This was phenomenal! My review: Go get this book. Read it now! Give me more!

Okay, I'm not that versed on political thrillers and I'm unfamiliar with either popular hit sitcom "Scandal" or "Veronica Mars", so yeah, I was a tad bit hesitant picking this one up, wondering how on earth are they going to spin this one out for young adults, while maintaining a healthy dose of believability and excitemen HOLY SMOKES! Okay, I'm not that versed on political thrillers and I'm unfamiliar with either popular hit sitcom "Scandal" or "Veronica Mars", so yeah, I was a tad bit hesitant picking this one up, wondering how on earth are they going to spin this one out for young adults, while maintaining a healthy dose of believability and excitement?

The Fixer excelled at all the above effortlessly. And all without romance! Can you believe it?! Like, I didn't even realize it until I started writing out this review, but there's no romance tacky or not in this novel and I think that's pretty darn AWESOME in a YA novel which is bogged downed with insta-love and love-polygons tropes, which has become the "Twilight" of romances. And for this to be a pretty dense novel, it moved along rather quickly. The pacing was perfection! The plot was complexed, intriguing, filled with twists some I clearly saw comings, others I were completely oblivious to , and it never lost a grip on my interest.

Even the bad guys, had some redeeming, likable qualities, and that's practically a feat in itself. That's to say: that from the main characters to the secondary players, they were all so well developed and layered. And oh my TESS!! A heroine that's not afraid of standing up to bullies or tyrannical teachers, who's smart with a sharp cutting edge And how can I not mention Asher who provided more than enough comic relief to this novel?

I so wish he was my best friend! He's hilarious, and charming, and I dare you not to fall for him! My only complaint I really have was with the writing. While the dialogues were wonderfully delicious at times a bit pretentious, but still great all-around , the writing came across a little stilted, a bit too formal, and repetitively fell prone to "telling vs showing" throughout the novel.

I also think it was entirely too passive for the excitement and action within the pages, which dulled the intensity of what was being read. The writing also suffered greatly from repetition, which was beyond annoying at times. Tess constantly repeats I'm talking multiple times within each and every single chapter what she's heard, what she's thinking, the conclusions she's drawing It's like the author was afraid the reader would so easily forget what was spoken two pages ago, and she didn't trust us to connect the dots for ourselves. Did I mention how annoying that was?

Bottom line, the story is wildly addictive. It's witty, cunning, intelligently plotted, well thought out, and a fresh take in the YA genre. The execution did suffer, yet overall, I'm still a happy camper which is pretty a big deal since I have a tendency to weigh heavily on the writing.

In fact, this is a top favorite for me this year! The Fixer was such a wild ride, and I enjoyed every twist and turn it took me on! Bravo Jennifer Barnes, this was fan-freaking-tastic! I'm aching to get my hands on the next book in this series!!! View all 13 comments. Dec 07, Fafa's Book Corner rated it it was ok. When I first heard about this book the only thing that went through my mind was the fact that it is compared to Heist Society. Naturally I added it thinking it would be an excellent heist and espionage novel.

Then one day I decided to read the synopsis again and warning bells went off in my head. The idea of a 'Fixer' sounded odd and I am not a fan of books that have politics in it. Nonetheless I wanted to read it because of Tess. Unfortunately I did not enjoy the book. The book begins with Tess in history class. From what she can figure her history teacher has a thing for picking on a particular student. Tess has a thing against bullies and stands up for the boy. Which lands her in the guidance counselors office. The guidance counselor is worried about Tess.

Tess has pretty much isolated herself from her peers in the beginning of the school year. The guidance counselor tries calling Tess's grandfather but he doesn't pick up. She says that she will call later on. Tess makes it very clear to the counselor that her history teacher loves to pick on that student. Said student always leaves the class feeling stupid. She explains that she has no tolerance for bullies and that her grandfather also knows that.

She then leaves. Once she reaches home she finds her estranged sister Ivy is there. Ivy explains that the guidance counselor called her and that they need to talk. She coolly tells her sister that they can talk after Tess is out of the shower. She takes a quick shower hoping that Ivy won't run into her grandfather.

She goes downstairs happy to find that her grandfather is on his own. They talk for a bit before Ivy shows up. Ivy and the readers discover that her grandfather has Alzheimer's. Which is why Tess separated herself from her peers so that they wouldn't discover it. She does not want to separate from her grandfather. Ivy arranges for him to go to a hospital and she takes Tess with her to DC. When Tess reaches DC she finds it odd how people keep making a big deal of Ivy. Eventually she asks her school guide Vivie what Ivy does for a living.

Vivie explains that Ivy is a Fixer. If there is any government problem Ivy makes it go away. By complete accident Tess gets herself wrapped up in 'Fixing' problems. This wasn't a bad book it just wasn't for me. The political stuff gets complicated and I don't see the point in continuing the series. Their wasn't as much heist and espionage as I would've liked. There was a bigger focus on the political scandals. The writing style was pretty good!

I liked how there wasn't any romance in the book. And I loved Tess's character! I loved how she stood up for people. No matter if the bully was some rich and powerful person. Despite the fact that Tess doesn't like Ivy, she does care for because Ivy's family. Overall this book wasn't for me. I would recommend it to fans of political drama and the author.

Mar 13, Natalie Never trust a duck rated it it was amazing Shelves: i-own , arc , bringing-out-the-sleuth-in-me , first-book-in-series , read2review , but-actually , aka-the-wait , favorites , smart-ass-protaganist. Thank you to Andye from readingteen. Political intrigue. Fitted with a Sherlockesque main character and a mystery that will get your brain chugging away. Topped with witty dialogue. Mix it all together and you've got a brilliantly plotted novel with a genius set of characters otherwise known as The Fixer. I had no idea what to expect going in to this.

I was thinking some kind of contemporary with a Gossip Girl Thank you to Andye from readingteen. I was thinking some kind of contemporary with a Gossip Girl vibe?? Ah, no, no no. She was sarcastic, strong, and very very smart. Her sister Ivy pulls her out of her ranch life in Montana where she lived with her her grandpa, and moves her to Washington D. Tess doesn't know much about her sister except that she abandoned her years ago, so there are hurt feelings and thus words are said that create tense situations.

Anyway, Tess learns about Ivy's job as D. You have a problem? You go to Ivy and she'll clear it up for you, the catch is she'll have dirt on you she can use to get whatever she wants. As Ivy Kendrick's little sister, Tess is expected to be a fixer herself, something she realizes as soon as she walks through her new school's doors where all of D. C's elite send their kids. The plot in this book was brilliantly done. There were so many components to the mystery I felt like I had to take out a notepad and write things down.

It was like playing a Nancy Drew game without the checklist props if you know what I'm talking about. Tess had been asked to help fix one thing, but then Jennifer Lynn Barnes infused all these other components that made you scramble the good kind of scramble to keep up with the fast paced plot. And you know how this book is compared to the show Scandal? Definitely recommend. Happy Reading!!! Dec 03, Nicole Wang rated it it was amazing Shelves: favorites. How is that even an occupation? I've said this before, but political intrigue is definitely one of my ultimate favorites in YA--typically, they come wrapped in high fantasy shaped packages though, and honestly?

I wasn't quite expecting this much intrigue in The Fixer. Why not? Holy shit, guys. Holy holy shit. Jennifer Lynn Barnes has just secured her spot in my Top Ten Favorite Authors list, and she's probably going to be there for a long, long time. Right off the bat, I loved Tess. She really just It seems she can't really resist helping those with wounds to be bound, and the way she dealt with everything was honestly badass. And kind of scary. And she was kind of incredibly incredibly good at what she does.

It must be the genes. She was blunt when she needed to be, and while she did make some reckless decisions, she was never as idiotic as to try to handle everything on her own. She has no problem with name dropping to get what she wants. Dear god, though. Tess was so not the only fantastic character in the book. Ivy, Asher, Bodie, Vivvie, Henry--the entire cast.

They all had such different personalities and they all managed to crawl into my heart. They were hilarious together and the way so many of these characters cared about each other and how they protected each other was just another added element to this book that just made me adore it.

I stayed up until AM to read this book--which may not sound like a big deal, but it was a school day in which I had to wake up at 6 and take a test that same day. It was risky, but I took it, because who the hell can stop reading a book with a plot like this one? There were so many twists and the whole whodunit mystery is taken to a new level that I'm absolutely obsessed with. I will admit that I kind of saw the ending coming view spoiler [ but only because I'd only recently read Pretty Wanted and the twist was on my mind.

I think I had to reread that ending several times in order for me to make sense of it. And then that open ending that left me with more questions than answers. William Keyes, by the way, is a terrifying man. I need YA political thrillers to be the next big thing. The Fixer was by far one of my absolute favorite books of the year and I'm just stunned by how amazing it was.

Filled with intrigue and characters who are much more powerful than you'd think, The Fixer is a must-read for Find more reviews at. View 1 comment. Mar 19, AH rated it really liked it Shelves: blue , arc-netgalley , young-adult , zzread-july The Fixer was a fun and quick read. In fact, I managed to read it on one rainy afternoon. The Fixer is the story of Tess Kendrick, a teenager who is forced to leave her Montana ranch when it becomes apparent that her grandfather is no longer able to care for her. Tess moves in with her big sister Ivy, who happens to work with a lot of very influential people in Washington D.

Ivy makes things happen and Tess seems to follow in big sister's footsteps. When a classmate's grandfather dies, Tess is The Fixer was a fun and quick read. When a classmate's grandfather dies, Tess is pulled into a strange series of events which cause her and her friends to think that something sinister is in play. Jul 18, Kat rated it really liked it Shelves: read-in Could I have waited until the sequel was out so I wouldn't have to wait to see what happens next?

I totally could have. There are so many books to read! But did I do that? And now I have to wait. I can't wait to see what happens next!! Jul 11, Jess rated it it was amazing Shelves: where-do-i-throw-my-money , gimmek. I've reached the stage where I'd voluntarily read Barnes' shopping list. If you love a bit of politics--the push and pull of power--than you'll eat this one right up.

Review To Come. Aug 09, Sian rated it really liked it Shelves: politics-fiction , ya. This is the most dramatic thing I have read in a long time and I'm stressed. Jul 07, Kirsty-Marie Jones rated it it was amazing. That, was fucking awesome. Bring on book 2. The end. And you know what? The Fixer completely satisfied my crime novel craving! Her involvement starts out minimal, but soon grows into something of epic proportions. The book has excellent momentum and pacing, and I found it super difficult to put down! Barnes is one smart cookie. With advanced degrees in psychology from Yale University, her smarts really translate to her stories — they are written brilliantly!

She weaves such a compelling mystery that I spend the entire book analyzing every character to try to figure out whodunit. The mystery was the funnest element of The Fixer, but I also loved the characters. One character in particular, Asher, had me busting a gut left and right. Overall Jennifer Lynn Barnes is one of my top authors and current favorite to recommend. Via The Obsessive Bookseller at www. View 2 comments. Mar 10, Lisa rated it it was ok Shelves: , debut-series , arc , read-in , bloomsbury. This is a tough one. On the other, this book is a bit hard to swallow.

It's not just teens solving mysteries - they're solving deep-seated political schemes that go all the way to the top. It's Scandal meets Veronica Mars. Although I appreciated that the book is full-on uncovering government secrets, it could have done with a bit of softening with either humor or romance.

Because of that I got about 70 percent through and skimmed the rest. Jun 30, Eri rated it really liked it Shelves: steal-my-heart , blood-over-water , unwritten-reviews , i-m-lost-in-you , i-spy-things. It was smart and slick, and I throughly enjoyed the characters and the political conspiracy behind it all. This book reminded me of my favorite police drama, with its well thought plot and the sharp twists that brought it to life.

Full review to come soon. Jul 10, c, rated it it was amazing Shelves: non-white-characters , favourites , mystery-and-adventure , fave-tropes , found-family , black-characters , ya-lit , let-s-talk-diversity , 5-stars , favourite-characters. Rep: Indian side character, half black side character holy shit.

Mar 21, Meg rated it it was amazing Shelves: favorites. This is like YA House of Cards except the main characters aren't terrible people and it's amazing and I should've read it ages ago. Don't be like me, read it now. Jul 28, Laura rated it really liked it. Murder, blackmail, secrets, and cover-ups! Watch your back. These people can slice and dice you with smiles on their faces! Smiles that can sell papers, charm the masses, and win elections. Welcome to DC politics!

Estranged sisters, Tess and Ivy Kendrick, are trying to be a family again in Washington DC, where Ivy is a problem solver in the world of politics. Ivy is that someone you want on your side. Someone who can fix anything. Fixing problems becomes her thing in the halls of her new elite DC high school. When a death stirs up all kinds of trouble at school, home, and in the White House—both sisters find themselves in the middle of the action. Yes, I said The White House! This scandal could go all the way to the top! Have the Kendrick sisters met their match?

This fast moving political thriller was like a jolt to my reading world. Politics is a rare setting for young adult fiction. And I want more, more, more! I loved it! Things can make or break you so fast. Which candidate can outlast the drama and scrutiny of the press and the mainstream long enough to last and take office? I loved the energy and language and power of it all. What kind of character or mojo do you need to survive the ups and downs of politics though? Can you survive in DC with a heart and soul? Tess is fierce.

She has a fast, witty, clever mind that puts things together quickly. You want to support her. Root for her! Plus she is surrounded by a fun cast of characters with pain and strength of their own.

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I liked how each new face and personality added a new layer to the suspense and mystery. Henry was a mystery all own his own. What is he hiding behind those mint-colored eyes? Does his cold, control melt at all? Only time will tell. Then there is Asher—the hilarious, smart ass with trouble, trouble, and more trouble pumping through his blood.

Smarts and sarcasm fly through the air whenever they trade jabs and share space on the page. Will he help or hurt Tess in the long run though? The sisters have a history of pain, loss, and misunderstanding between them to unravel.