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With a career in the military, police and private security, Darren has adventure coursing through his veins, which is perhaps not surprising. He is descended from a British explorer whose heroic death was the talk of Victorian society and whose name is commemorated not just in Westminster Abbey but in the Oval Office of the White House.

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Northern Territory
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Book Title

“Shoot first, shoot fast, shoot last.”

Darren Franklin, hostage rescuer, recalls a case which stood out from the rest.

This is a tense retelling of the real events of Franklin’s work as a hostage rescuer from his insider perspective. Escaping the Empire grants an insight into the profession in general - and the events surrounding an international child rescue mission.

Franklin’s service in the Australian military leads him to the world of private security.

The former soldier gets the call to help with the recovery of an abducted child.

After an initial surveillance phase a plan is hatched to snatch the child and make a hastily escape out of the country, who were at the time, not a signatory of The Hague Convention.

The Relph case was a typical and all too common example of parental abduction.

But not all goes according to plan. Franklin ends up alone in Tokyo, without intel or his colleagues.

To extract the child - and himself - from Japan Franklin must utilise all his training.

Incredible read, Darren as only his second book really shows a talent to write.

I read the book within 3 nights and could not put it down. He really takes you through his experiences that I could really visualize these experiences myself. This book takes you through a range of emotions, excitement, fear, sympathy and anger.

I will keep a look out for more from Darren in the future.

5 Star Rating on

I really enjoyed this read. Franklin takes you into a world I had no clue existed. This is gritty, real-life James Bond stuff at its finest. A movie waiting to happen. Thoroughly recommend.

5 Star Rating on

Sometimes stories like these can feel a bit far-fetched, but what marked The Hostage Rescuer out for me, was the fact that it's a real-life story. The author really did go through the events described in this book. I liked how nuanced the story was - the main protagonists all had little moments of doubt about their actions - and it made it all so much more relatable. Oh, and I really wasn't expecting the story to take the turn it did, which took the book into unexpected territory. That's real life for you, sometimes things don't quite go according to plan!

5 Star Rating on


This is the thrilling true story of the recovery of an abducted child against the odds.Two close encounters with death convince the author, Darren, that his career in the sometimes murky world of global private security is not the healthiest. Darren escapes a contract on his life and teams up with a former British special forces operative to get into the business of rescuing abducted children. Darren's company is called in to carry out a daring snatch raid. He and his team must contend with hostile locals, double-crossing police and dubious legal contacts to conduct surveillance on their target, formulate a plan and grab the boy before making their hazardous escape. They can trust no-one. A whole island community is ranged against them.

A beautifully written and poignant tale. I was gripped from the beginning. A real page turner and a fascinating true story.

5 Star Rating on

Great insight to a tough subject, a story that matters and is well written by a talented author.
Top stuff

5 Star Rating on

The story is well written and stays suspenseful as you wait with Darren, the mother Diane, and the two others who show up to help try to get her son Theo back too. It’s right down to the wire as to whether they will have a chance to get him back, or will they be caught by the father’s family, who are all over the place, looking for anything out of the ordinary, to alert everyone to close ranks and get the boy safely inside until the danger passes. A very interesting look at the inside of a hostage rescue case, and many of stresses and concerns on both sides of it that you may not have realized before. Especially in the case of a split family, where the parents have divorced and even possibly remarried others, and one former spouse has failed to return the child after a visit of several weeks in his home country with him.

4 Star Rating on

Book Title
Australian History, Biography/Memoir, Crime, Non-Fiction

In August 2001, Prime Minister John Howard refused permission for the Norwegian freighter, Tampa, to enter Australian waters with 433 refugees on board. He infamously said, "But my friends we will decide who comes to this country and the circumstances in which they come ...". The Baxter Detention Centre, near Port Augusta, became operational in September 2002 to detain refugees who made it to Australian shores using transport not welcome by the Australian government. This facility became a hotbed, both socially and politically. Darren Franklin recounts his experiences within the wire of Baxter as Operations Manager. This is the inside story that has never been told.

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