In the mountainous north of Spain, on a quiet Sunday morning, a Basque terrorist group kidnaps the country's wealthiest woman after a violent ambush along a winding country road. At the same time, in New York City, a murderous shootout alongside Central Park leaves two dead and Spain's ambassador to the United Nations held hostage. NYPD Detective First Grade Brian McKenna and his partner Cisco Sanchez (the self-described world's greatest detective) are assigned to the Joint Terrorist Task Force. The task force is focused on locating the ambassador, but for McKenna, the investigation becomes urgent when he learns that the kidnapped woman is Carmen de la Cruz, a personal friend.
The search begins for two dangerous cells, one in New York, the other in Spain. McKenna and Sanchez work with the FBI, ATF, and state troopers to comb the city and eventually the state, but in Spain the investigation is stalled-until the two detectives negotiate an unprecedented role in a foreign police matter. When they arrive in Madrid, McKenna and Sanchez are caught in the crossfire of a war between Basque nationalists and the Spanish police themselves. Intercepted cellphone calls lead the partners to resort area of Gibraltar, and a complex of caves beneath the famous rock that might conceal Carmen and her kidnappers.
Combining terrific suspense, only-in-New York characters, and first hand knowledge about how an international terrorist incident is investigated, The Protectors is Dan Mahoney at his best.