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In Desperation (A Jack Gannon Novel Book 3) [Kindle Edition]

Rick Mofina
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Eleven-year-old Tilly Martin is dragged from her suburban bedroom. Her mother, Cora, pleads for mercy but the kidnappers are clear: if they don't get their $5 million back in five days, Tilly dies. If anyone contacts police, Tilly dies.

Journalist Jack Gannon's estranged sister, Cora, disappeared without a trace decades ago. Now she is frantically reaching out to him for help. Cora tells him about the shameful mistakes she's made—but she guards the one secret that may be keeping her daughter alive.

A twenty-year-old assassin, haunted by the faces of the people he's executed, seeks absolution as he sets out to commit his last murders as a hired killer.

In the U.S. and Mexico, police and the press go flat out on Tilly's case. But as Gannon digs deeper into his anguished sister's past, the hours tick down on his niece's life and he faces losing a fragment of his rediscovered family forever.

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Rick Mofina is a former crime reporter and the award-winning author of several acclaimed thrillers. He's interviewed murderers face-to-face on death row; patrolled with the LAPD and the RCMP. His true crime articles have appeared in The New York Times, Marie Claire, Reader’s Digest and Penthouse. He's reported from the U.S., Canada, the Caribbean, Africa, Qatar and Kuwait's border with Iraq. For more information please visit

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Phoenix, Arizona, Mesa Mirage

Cora Martin was propped against two pillows in her bed when she heard a faint noise and put her book down. Was that Tilly?

Her daughter was asleep down the hall.

No, that sounded like it came from outside.

Cora listened for half a minute. Everything was quiet. She dismissed the noise as a bird or the Bannerman's darned cat. The clock on Cora's night table showed the time: 12:23 a.m. She returned to her book. After reading two pages she began drifting off when she heard another strange sound.

Like a soft murmur. This time it came from a far side of the house.

What the heck is that?

Cora got up to investigate, groaning. She had to go to work in a few hours. She needed to get some sleep.

Wearing only a cotton nightshirt, she padded down the hall to Tilly's door. It was partially open, as usual. Her eleven-year-old daughter was asleep on her stomach. One foot had escaped from the sheets. Cora moved to her bedside, adjusted it then took in the room, Tilly's stuffed toys, posters of teen idols and Cora's favorite: the drawing of two happy stick figures holding hands, titled 'Mommy & Me.'

Cora smiled.

Soft light painted Tilly's face. She was more than a beautiful child to Cora; she was her lifeline, her hope and her dream.

I love you more than you'll ever know, kiddo.

She stroked Tilly's hair, then went to check the rest of the house. Cora had rented the small, ranch-style bungalow at an affordable rate from a widowed realtor who didn't hide her maternal fondness for single-working moms and their daughters.

Cora checked the front and back doors then the windows in each room. Nothing was amiss. She reconsidered what she'd heard. It had kind of sounded like someone walking around the house.

She thought of calling the police but pushed it aside for now.

Should I go outside?

It would be better to check the alarm system. She went to the console on the wall to inspect the indicator lights. Cora wasn't afraid to check the yard. This was Mesa Mirage, almost hidden among the larger east valley suburbs of metropolitan Phoenix. Mesa Mirage was a tranquil community of retirement villages and golf courses. It didn't have its own police department, but it was served by the County Sheriff's Office, supported by volunteer posses and was safe.

Almost crime free.

Everything was in order, according to the light sequence of the alarm system. Good. Cora was thirsty. She'd get a drink in the kitchen then crawl back into bed and sleep.

Finishing her water at the sink, she touched her fingers to her lips. She had forged a good life here and she would do anything to protect Tilly.

Especially from the monsters she'd buried long ago.

Cora's attention shifted to the knock on her front door. Who could it be at this hour? Moving through the living room, she looked at the window and glimpsed two uniformed officers at the door.


She opened the door.

In the instant Cora absorbed their grave faces, half in shadow under the porch light, she was pricked by a twinge of unease.

Something was wrong.

Not the kind of wrong that often accompanies a late—night visit by the police, but something darker. She had no time to ponder it.

"Sorry to trouble you, ma'am," one of the officers said. "We're checking on the welfare of residents here. Is everything all right?"

"Yes. Why?"

"Can you tell us how many people are in your home tonight?"

"Just me and my daughter, why?"

As one of the officers took notes, a thousand points of concern flashed across Cora's mind. She glanced to the street for a patrol car, finding a late—model sedan. She didn't think the two men were with the county or the volunteer posse. She scanned their uniforms for a shoulder patch and found one. But since she really never encountered police, she was not sure if the officers were from Mesa, Tempe, Chandler or Gilbert.

"I'm sorry," Cora said. "Who are you with?"

"We're with the task force," the first officer said. "Ma'am, are there any firearms in your residence?"

"No. I hate guns. What task force? What's this about?"

"Earlier tonight, an inmate escaped custody, a convicted murderer. He was sighted in this area of the community."

"Oh my God."

"I'm afraid there's a bit more to this. May we come in?"

"Yes, of course."

Cora let the two men enter her home. Inside, the officers looked around Cora's living room.

"Where's your daughter located at this time?" the first officer asked.

"Down the hall, in her bedroom. She's asleep."

The officer nodded to his partner.

"We'll check on her welfare."

"But she's fine." Cora watched the second officer quietly enter Tilly's room, while the first officer spoke to her.

"It's routine," he said, indicating the kitchen. "Let's go there and I'll explain."

The first officer went directly to the sink over the kitchen window that looked out to the Cora's back yard. He pulled a pocket telescope from his utility belt, clenched one eye and gazed through it.

"The suspect is in the house directly behind yours, one row back."

"I don't understand."

The officer turned to her and she noticed a scar running along his jaw.

"We're here to help set up a perimeter for the SWAT Team," he said.

At that point the second officer emerged, nodded to his partner and approached them at the sink.

"Ma'am?" The first officer offered Cora his scope. "Take a look. It's the house with the pool lights."

She was apprehensive.

"Go ahead."

Her kitchen seemed to be closing in on her as the two officers now stood near. Was this a dream? She took the telescope, raised it to her eye, not sure what she was looking for when pain shot through her skull. Her hair strained her scalp, pulled by some force. Duct tape peeled, Cora's mouth was sealed before she could cry out. The invaders moved her swiftly and silently to a kitchen chair, taping her ankles, her wrists, then her chest to it.

Terrified, Cora looked down the hall.

The first man drew his face to Cora's.

"Your daughter is fine. Look at me!"

Cora tried to talk.

"Are you going to cooperate so we can get through this quickly?" Cora nodded.

"We do not want to hurt you, or your daughter. Understand?"

Cora nodded.

"If you resist, we will kill your daughter in front of you."

Cora sobbed against the tape.

"Do you understand? If you cooperate, you survive."

Cora understood.

"We know you work for Lyle Galviera at Quick Draw Courier." Cora nodded.

"I'm going to remove the tape and we'll talk. If you scream, if you refuse to cooperate or lie, you and your daughter will die. Do you understand?"

Cora nodded and the second man peeled the tape from Cora's mouth.

She gasped, swallowed and listened to the first man. "Lyle uses his company to distribute our product and move cash to be cleaned. Where is the money?"

"I don't know what you're talking about!"

"He stole five million dollars from us."

"No! This is a mistake! Are you looking for drug money? Lyle's not involved with drugs. I've got nothing to do with drugs. This is all wrong, it's a mistake. Please leave us alone! I don't know what you're talking about!"

"We can't find him. Where's the money?"

For the next thirty minutes the invaders ransacked the house. What did they do with Tilly? They must've tied her down.

Or worse!

"Where is our money?"

"Did you hurt my daughter?"

"She's not hurt. Where is it?"

"I told you this is wrong, this is a mistake!"

"Listen to me: You will find Galviera and tell him to return our money."

Sobbing, Cora shook her head.

"This is a mistake. I don't know anything about this."

"You know. You do the books for his company."

"No. No. I'm the office manager, the secretary. I know he left a few days ago for business in San Diego, then in Los Angeles."

"He is not in California."

"But I made the travel arrangements. Please, I don't know what you're talking about. Please leave us alone. Please. This is a mistake."

"No mistake."

The first man turned to his partner. After speaking in rapid Spanish to him, the man left the house and returned with a large suitcase they placed before Cora.

"Remember," the first man said. "Do not scream."

The second man went down the hall to Tilly's room. Seconds later Tilly emerged, her mouth covered with duct tape, eyes popping with fear as they met Cora's.

Tilly was in her pajamas with the unicorn pattern; her wrists were taped in front of her in a praying position as she hugged a hastily balled collection of items. Cora could see jeans, a pink shirt and white sneakers. Was that her toothbrush sticking from the heap? It was as if she were rushing off to a sleepover.

Fear twisted Cora's stomach.

"It's going to be OK, honey," Cora tried to comfort her as the second man opened the large suitcase and positioned Tilly inside, bending her knees to her chest, then zipping her closed as if he were a magician preparing a trick.

"What are you doing?" Cora raised her voice. "Wait! No."

The first man drew his weapon and placed it to the bag where Tilly's head would be, cocked the trigger and turned to Cora.

"Have you forgotten your need to shut up and listen?"

"Yes, please, please don't hurt her. I'm begging you."

"If you do as we say, she will not be harmed, understand?"

Cora nodded.

"We are taking your daughter with us."

"No. Please!"

"Listen carefully. Lyle must return our money, or your daughter will die. And if you go to the police, your daughter will die."

"Tilly, sweetie, everything will be OK. Do what they say. Tilly, I love -" Tape was replaced on Cora's mouth.

"Your binding is n...

Product Details

  • File Size: 520 KB
  • Print Length: 383 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0778329488
  • Publisher: MIRA (April 1, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004P5NYN6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #142,891 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great, fast, can't put it down, read. April 18, 2011
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I have read all of Mr. Mofina's books, and was an early fan. This one does not dissappoint. In fact, I think it's one of the best! I read it on my E Reader on a trip out West, and my only complaint was that I had to turn it off during take off and landing, and hated to stop reading for those minutes. It keeps you interested, on the edge of your seat, and involved with the characters. A fun read!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It grabs your interest from page one June 10, 2011
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
When Jack Gannon is suddenly reunited with his long lost sister, it's not the joyous occasion one would think. She has called him in desperation because her daughter has been kidnapped and she needs his help.

Jack, a world-class reporter with the instincts of a bloodhound, goes on the trail to find his missing niece and the story unfolds from there. With twists and turns a plenty to keep you on the edge of your seat, In Desperation is a book you don't want to miss.

A well-written [what else can you expect from Mister Mofina?] book, it grabs your interest from page one and I read it straight through.

Highly recommended.

Diane Davis White
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow! What a Thriller. June 9, 2011
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
It's late and I should be heading off to bed. I just finished this book, however, and I must tell you what an incredible book this was. How anyone can give it less than five stars is beyond me.

All of the descriptions contained on this site do a good job of laying out the basic story of this book. Thus, I won't go into that here. Suffice it to say that the author takes the reader on an emotional, nail-biting roller-coaster that spans past, present, future, and two countries. That's quite a task! Along the way, he doesn't lose focus or go off on unnecessary tangents.

I haven't read other books by Mofina, but after this one, I am inclined to do so.

It is intersting and a coincidence that one of the books I read recently was a reporter's inside look at the drug cartels in Mexico. I thought a lot about that book as I read this one.

Anyhow, grab a copy or download it onto your Kindle. Just make sure you have the time to get through it, though, as you won't want to put it down.

Ok, now I can go to bed.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I Couldn't Stop Reading October 13, 2011
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
When little Tilly Martin is kidnapped right out of her surburban Arizona bedroom, her mom, Cora, goes running to her journalist brother Jack Gannon - even though they've been estranged for years. As a matter of fact, she just up and disappeared and Jack (and others) assumed she was dead.

Needless to say, Cora has a lot of explaining to do. And she will, but there's very little time for long drawn out explainations. The kidnappers are demanding 5 million dollars or Tilly will die!

Mexican drug cartels, illegal immigration, and border violence - Rick Mofina covers all these ripped from the headline issues in his newest thriller In Desperation.

I simply cannot put into words how intense this book is. From the first gripping chapter to the last breathe-a-sigh-of-relief page, In Desperation is IMPOSSIBLE to put down. I've read some good books lately and given them thumbs up ratings but, wow, this book goes way above and beyond those. (It's a good thing I read them first, because it's hard to match up to Mofina's latest.)

Whether you're a fiction fan or not, you've got to read In Desperation. It's just too dang good to miss
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spend the Day Reading IN DESPERATION June 8, 2011
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I have read all of Rick Mofina's book these past few year. I think that IN DESPERATION is one of his best. This story is in a five day period and basically you do not want to put it down. I feel that Rick is one of the best writers out there now and people have not caught on to his wonderful writing and how well he puts a story together. When you say you can not put a book down and want to read it cover to cover, then that is a very well polished writer who understands how to grab our attention as readers and hold it. Take your time, read this book and then read some of his other books...M Soulard
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A hold-your-breath thriller April 17, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
Here's a hold-your-breath thriller that explores the bonds of "family," while also touching on addiction, drug cartels and illegal immigration. But it's the element of family that makes this novel so much more than a great read. It has a human factor, showing that Mofina isn't afraid to delve into emotions and relationships'or their pitfalls.

IN DESPERATION explores the kidnapping of a young girl and the reunion of a brother and sister, one I've been waiting for as a fan of the lead character, journalist Jack Gannon. When he discovers his sister is alive and she needs his help, readers can sense his confliction. But there are too many questions left unanswered. Why did his sister leave? And what dark secret is she still hiding?

From the first chapter, which will give you shivers of dread, to the final page, the countdown is on. Gannon must find his niece before her captors make good on their promise to kill her if the police are brought in. In the mix is an intriguing, almost sympathetic character in the form of a young assassin, who has reached his breaking point.

Rick Mofina is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. IN DESPERATION has it all'heart-racing action, taut suspense and an emotional story you won't want to put down. Two thumbs up, five stars and a standing ovation. Highly recommended.

Cheryl Kaye Tardif
bestselling author of Children of the Fog
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars In Desperation
Great storyline. Keeps you on edge and trying to predict what will happen next before it actually happens; The ending was good but not great.
Published 5 months ago by Dale Hicks
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it.
The first book I've read by Rick Mofina and loved it! I hope the rest of them are as good or better!
Published 8 months ago by Jacquelyn R Pettijohn
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
I have just discovered this author and really enjoy his books.
They are page turners and usually finish the book the day I start it or certainly the next.
Published 8 months ago by kay Bailey
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read!!!!
This is a very fast paced thriller. I'm not really into drug smuggling and cartels. But Mr Mofina tells a gut wrenching heart breaking story with this one. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Elizabeth Nyeste
5.0 out of 5 stars A psychological crime drama seemingly snatched from the headlines.
Possibly the author's, Rick Mofina, best crime drama so far.

This is an extremely well written page turner. Read more
Published on May 22, 2012 by Nice Lady
3.0 out of 5 stars A Turning the Pages Review
You may also read my review here: [...]

First off, let me say a big THANK YOU to Rick Mofina for always publishing his book in paperback and not touching hardcover... Read more
Published on February 14, 2012 by Turning the Pages
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Author
Fast shipping and delivery, will buy again. Mofina is a super story teller and all his books are ones you do not want to put down.
Published on December 7, 2011 by cmykalliekat
4.0 out of 5 stars good solid read
IN DESPERATION is #3 in Mofina's Jack Gannon series. I have reviewed the earlier ones (VENGEANCE ROAD and THE PANIC ZONE but IN DESPERATION didn't grab me right at the start in... Read more
Published on October 21, 2011 by K. A. Smith
4.0 out of 5 stars A Lot of Action
How far would you go to help a sister you hadn't seen in over twenty years? Or a niece you've never met? Read more
Published on October 11, 2011 by John O. Raab
3.0 out of 5 stars This book was not up to par with the last three.
Cora awakes to hear a noise. She looks at the clock and it says 12:23 am. Cora is just about to fall asleep again, when she hears some voices. Read more
Published on October 1, 2011 by Cheryl Koch
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More About the Author

Rick Mofina is a former journalist and an award-winning author of several acclaimed thrillers. His reporting has put him face-to-face with murderers on death row in Montana and Texas. He has covered a horrific serial-killing case in California and an armored car-heist in Las Vegas, flown over Los Angeles with the LAPD Air Support Division and gone on patrol with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police near the Arctic. He has reported from the Caribbean, Africa and Kuwait's border with Iraq. His true-crime articles have appeared in the New York Times, Marie Claire, Reader's Digest and Penthouse.

Rick Mofina's books have been published in 21 countries.

The International Thriller Writers, The Private Eye Writers of America and The Crime Writers of Canada have listed Rick's titles as being among the best in the world.

His books have been praised by James Patterson, Dean Koontz, Michael Connelly, Lee Child, Tess Gerritsen, Jeffery Deaver, Sandra Brown, James Rollins, Brad Thor, Nick Stone, David Morrell, Allison Brennan, Heather Graham, Linwood Barclay, Peter Robinson, Håkan Nesser and Kay Hooper.

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