Thrillers with Strong Female Characters

Books One and Two of The Jungle Rules Trilogy have major female characters that drive the narratives.  These are thriller novels that focus on the actions of men fighting other men, but they also feature three strong women in prominent roles.  Without these women, there would be no stories to tell.

Gabriele Bach is a rather tall German-born blond of forty, teaching diplomats at the Foreign Service Institute in Washington, DC.  She is a scholar and voracious reader whose social life is on hold.  Gabriele grew up at the edge of the Black Forest.  Her parents were both killed in an automobile accident when she was just sixteen. Her formative years were difficult, but she managed to attend the University of Freiburg.  Her early marriage to a German professor turned into a nightmare of drunken beatings and an unwanted pregnancy.  She ran away, had a desperate abortion, and fled to the United States.  Her new life is rich with intellectual and cultural activities, but Gabriele does not trust men.  Carl Malinowski comes to the rescue after she is mugged on a city street.  They begin a romantic relationship that blossoms just as Carl admits to her that he kills for a living.  Gabriele leaves him, but Carl’s enemies come for her anyway.

Julia Mendoza runs the Mena drug cartel with an iron hand.  She is about thirty years old and right out of a fashion magazine.  She inherited the cartel’s leadership when her husband was kidnapped by the American government.  She likes the power but wants him back.  Posing as a wealthy socialite, Julia seduces and then kidnaps the American ambassador, proposing to swap him for her husband.  That begins a series of actions that lead Carl Malinowski back to the jungle.  Carl’s mission is to find the hostage, but he learns along the way that the cartel’s thugs and FARC guerrillas are not the only enemies trying to kill him.  Working from a jungle drug lab, Julia executes a brilliant strategy to get her husband back and bring down the American president.  But that is just for starters.  Julia sets up the Colombian president for assassination by a rival cartel.  Then Carl and his men interrupt her plans.

Gabriele is back with a new last name as the hero of Book Two.  At the beginning of the story, she loses Carl to a terrorist bomb.  Gabriele hates violence but the FBI convinces her to work for them undercover to unmask the suspected attackers.  She becomes a reluctant warrior, posing as a neo-Nazi, philosophically aligned with the group’s leadership.  Her husband’s teammate and best friend, Jerry Tompkins, goes with her.  Together they infiltrate the terrorist cell, living with fanatical white supremacists and gathering intelligence.  Gabriele and her undercover husband soon find they are in way over their heads.  After a series of hair-raising events, Jerry gets Gabriele out safely while saving the lives of a million Californians.  Their ordeal ends in triumph and love.

Susan MacKenzie is a thirty-two-year-old policewoman in Washington, DC.  She is thrust into Book Two as an ally of Gabriele Barnes.  After Gabriele’s husband is killed in a bombing attempt at the Air and Space Museum, Susan is seconded to the FBI by her ex-husband to care for Gabriele as she goes undercover.  While preparing them for the operation, she becomes Gabriele’s good friend and Jerry’s lover.  She is a professional beset with personal anxiety over Gabriele’s survival and Jerry’s loyalty.  Susan is the one who got them into this mess, but she is powerless to get them out.

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