on November 4, 2003
The Negotiator by Dee Henderson is about a female police negotiator that has a past she would rather forget. She was removed from her family and put in an orphanage at an early age, her and other orphans decided to adopt one another and make their own family. But when someone from her past becomes involved with a plane blowing up she gets scared. She tries to clear this person from any wrongdoing. The negotiator didn't believe in god at first but eventually she does. This author seems to bring the word of god into her writings, she writes a mystery that has a little romance and action tied into one story line. I will admit when I found out this book came out of the Christian living category I thought this is going to be a boring book, much to my surprise it isn't. This book keeps you interested and makes you want to read more to find out what is going to happen next. This book is more like something that would happen in real life although it is fiction I could see something like this really happening. I can't wait to read the next one out of the O'Malley series. I would recommend anyone that likes a suspenseful story this is a great book for them. If all of Dee Henderson's are as good as this one is then you can bet I will start reading them all.
on September 6, 2003
This is a wonderful book! I stumbled across Danger in the Shadows by accident and enjoyed it, so I decided to go ahead and read the Negotiator. I'm so glad I did. This is truly a great book. The suspense made it a page turner, the romance was sweet, and the religious questions addressed were interesting and thought provoking.
Kate O'Malley is a no nonsense hostage negotiator who doesn't believe in relying on anyone, other than her family, the O'Malleys, and who believes God doesn't exist. How could He exist, she wonders, with all the bad that happens in our world? Then, Kate works a hostage situation and meets Dave Richman, who was introduced in Danger in the Shadows. Dave and Kate are opposites in many ways; Dave is rich and he grew up with his father in Britian, while Kate grew up in an orphanage. Dave is a patient FBI agent with a strong faith in and devotion to God.
As Dave spends time with Kate trying to protect her, his feelings grow. But their opposite views on God hold them apart. This book is excellent at examining religious issues people face as they date. Dave has feelings for Kate, but must wrestle with the fact that she is a non-believer. Meanwhile, Kate likes Dave and she respects his beliefs, but she still struggles with her questions. In the midst of it all, Kate is in danger and trying to solve a high profile case.
This book is wonderful is so many ways. There are many choices a reviewer could make to talk about in a review; the well written and suspenseful plot, the gentle romance, etc. All would make interesting discussions. I also don't think the reader has to be Christian to enjoy The Negotiator. This book will generate some great thought questions. It isn't empty entertainment by any means. And the best part is that is a clean read. Dee Henderson did an absolutely fabulous job in creating this book. It is, indeed, compulsively readable.
on August 5, 2003
While the prequel "Danger in the Shadows" was 25% suspense and 75% romance, the first official entry in Dee Henderson's popular "O'Malley" series sees a welcome switch of the figures: 75% suspense and only 25% romance. The main plot of this mystery concerns hostage negotiator Kate O'Malley and FBI agent Dave Richman (brother of the protagonist Sara from the prequel), who together unravel the mystery involving a bank robbery crisis, a bombed aeroplane, a family member from Kate's past, and various mysterious threats against Kate's life. This suspense thriller plot dominates the novel, generating strong interest and resulting in a real page-turner. The only real weaknesses is that the solution is rather complex and at times frustratingly hard to follow, and the clues given on the first page of chapter four are enough for astute readers to figure out whodunnit, preventing them from being misled by the red herrings which rest suspicion on a different character. And the characterization isn't very deep (both Kate and Dave are rather too bold and beautiful to be believeable), but it's the storyline which really drives this book. On the whole, the main plot is immensely satisfying, and carried me from the beginning of the novel to the end.
Besides the main plot, there are three sub-plots: 1. Romance - the relationship between Kate and Dave; 2. Religion - Kate's journey to becoming a Christian; 3. Sickness - the cancer of Kate's sister, which is left hanging and not resolved at the end of this book (as well as related questions about unanswered prayer). Unlike the prequel, these sub-plots do not weigh down or detract from the main suspense. Just as with the first book, I had a few questions about the Christian elements, such as attitudes towards Sunday rest and entertainment. I was pleasantly surprised to notice that Dave at the outset did not want to get into a relationship with someone who was not a believer, although disappointingly this didn't seem to put the brakes on the way he grew closer to Kate as the novel progressed, and that he wasn't able to stay entirely true to his principles by allowing himself to fall in love with her. But unlike other Christian novelists, the focus was neither romance nor an artificial conversion story (the conversion itself wasn't very plausible, but there are certainly some interesting apologetics!). In fact, it was refreshing to see some often misunderstood Biblical truths very clearly stated: "It wasn't his job to convince her to believe. God knew best how to draw her to Him." "He is both just and merciful in equal measure." "God didn't shortchange justice to grant mercy. He paid the full price Himself." In her post word, Hendersoon remarks that the relationship between justice and mercy is one of the questions that was central in her mind as she wrote the novel: "I was curious to find out which would be more powerful - a need for justice or a need for mercy - if the dilemma became very personal. I sketched a story that let me explore the subject, and found Kate's journey through the questions fascinating." These questions were not central to the novel (they seemed to be more questions about Christ rather than the characters themselves), but they were certainly not dealt with an an unsatisfactory manner as has been the case in other Christian novels I've read. Closely related to this theme is the Bible verse that Henderson begins the novel with: "For the Son of man came to seek and to save the lost" (Luke 19:10), about which one of the characters says "Part of the mystery of salvation is that to save the lost, us, Jesus had to die in our place."
But while the theology is there, Henderson doesn't make the mistake as some other Christian novelists, and focuses mainly on the plot. And she's right in doing so, because we don't firstly pick up her book to read theology, but to read a good story. And a good story is certainly what she delivers (although not as successfully as Terri Blackstock), while reminding her readers of God's justice and mercy in Christ in the process. The good news is that Kate is merely the first of the O'Malley family, seven siblings from an orphanage who became a family by changing their name to O'Malley, and that Henderson has a book on each other member of the family. Keep 'em coming! -GODLY GADFLY
on October 15, 2002
"The bomb goes off at 11:15. The plane is talking to the tower. Tell Kate O'Malley I haven't forgotten the past." Just when Kate thought that her week couldn't possibly didn't get any worse, she heard the message threatening to blow up a plane and had a personal message directed at her. As a hostage negotiator she was used to being able to handle situations like this and bring them to a peaceful resolution. She was also used to threats from those convicted through her job as a negotiator.
This time however, the rules are different. In the midst of all of the chaos her sister Jennifer and new friend Dave expect her to turn to the God that she blames for the turmoil in her life. One night when she can't sleep she reads the book of Luke and writes out the questions that she has. Jennifer and Dave really want her to believe, but don't they realize that it's not that simple? Believing is about trust, and Kate's life experiences have taught her not to trust easily.
Will Kate be able to overcome the obstacles that arise when she is tied directly to the bombing that caused the deaths of 214 people? How will Kate react when she is brought face to face with a past that she thought she had left behind for good?
This was an excellent novel. I found it hard to tear myself away from the characters and either go to work or to bed. I enjoyed meeting the O'Malley family and continuing getting to know Dave from "Danger in the Shadows" where he protected his sister Sara.
on September 8, 2002
Finally, an alternative to crime novels and love stories that leave you feeling upbeat after you read them. These books provide a wonderful alternative for fans of those genres.
The O'Malley characters are strong and express many of the sentiments of those just learning about Christ. Doubts and questions are not downplayed but are answered insightfully.
And what a concept for a story! Orphans who adopt each other and form their own family and take the name of the O'Malley's. Each family member is explored in detail in their own book.
"The Negotiator" tells the story of Kate a hostage negotiator. The action picks up from page one and never lags. We follow Kate through her chaotic job, love life, tortured past and search for God.
Also, while getting the Lord's message across, this book doesn't become "preachy" to the point where any one is turned off. However, you do leave the book feeling upbeat and encouraged. These books have just the right mix of action, suspense, love, tears, humor and inspiration. I haven't been this excited about a series of books in years.
Way to go Mrs. Henderson. Two thumbs up. Breathlessly awaiting the next in the series.
on August 1, 2002
I just finished reading the Negotiator and am moving on to the second book, the Guardian.
The strong points of this book:
The heroine, Kate O'Malley has an unconventional job for a woman, being a hostage negotiator. I liked that since you dont see this often.
The preaching of Christianity in this book is done to the right level and does not overwhelm the reader.
I really like the concept of the O'Malley family, adopting each other as family. It makes you want to go out and read all the other books about them which I am currently doing.
I like the character and place descriptions the author has used. Very good contemporary times setting. Very much a novel of the new millenium.
What I did not like about the book:
The romance was a little too syrupy sweet. Even though Kate O'Malley has a tough job as negotiator, she is always meant to be protected by her handsome, rich boyfriend, Dave Richman. Give me a break! I dont think it happens quite like that in real life.
The hero, Dave Richman is a little too unrealistic. Very goodlooking, multimillionaire, a do-gooder, a great Christian man and an FBI agent - The Perfect Boyfriend for Kate who is already willing to risk his life for her in the first chapter of the book itself.
The book is not suspenseful. Rather the plot moves slowly till you come to the identity of the killer. So it is not meant to be a thriller.
Overall this is a good book. It is definitely worth reading. However, I would recommend that you check the book out from the library first before deciding whether you want to purchase the series.
on June 3, 2002
Kate was probably the best way to start the introduction to the O'Malley family. Get done with the hardest of the family first, right? A quick note- All the O'Malley family is adopted. They were all in the same orphange and when they grew older they offically changed their name to O'Malley.
And so the story begins.
Kate O'Malley is a negotiator. And a really good one at that. She has this amazing ability to be able to mask any emotion that she is feeling. When she walks into a crisis situation, she seems, outwardly, as calm as can be. That is often a very annoying fact for the people she is negotiating with. The book starts out with on of those crisis situations, this time a man with dynamite strapped to his chest is threatening to blow up a bank because of some problem he had with it. And at the bank just happens to be Dave Richman.(Sara Walsh's brother from Danger in the Shadows.)I won't tell you any spoilers from the bank, I'll let you read it for yourself. Any how-
After the bank problem is successfully over with, we find that Kate is having her own private crisis. Somebody is sending her threatening phone messages and leaving black roses on her doorstep. It doesn't seem to be too serious until Kate is at the airport doing some 'offical business' when a call comes in and a man tells airtraffic control that he has placed a bomb on a plane. Not only that but he mentions Kate's name. Quickly, everyone trys to get every airplane down. But before they can get the last one down, it explodes! Is there some connection between the bomber and Kate? No one really knows for sure, but after that incident Dave sticks very close to Kate, mostly in a way to protect her. But soon he finds himself falling in love with this hard-playing lady who, not only can keep her feelings masked in a negotiation but also from Dave and even sometimes, her family. During the investigation that follows the bombing, they discover something that Kate didn't even know herself. She has a brother! Could he somehow be connected with the bombing? Well, read this book and you will find out.
This another one of those books that has a lot to do with the believing and trusting in God. Kate doesn't believe that there is a God but Dave does and furthermore, he greatly trusts his God. Kate not believing makes it hard for Dave to accept the fact that he likes her. But I really liked the way that the book ended up and I really think that Dave and Kate go well together. It seems that Dave is probably the only one that could handle Kate, she can be plenty overwhelming and not to mention, stubborn.
Another Dee Henderson masterpiece! If you haven't read this book you SHOULD! But first I recommend reading Danger in the Shadows, it is a very important pre-quel to the series.
The Negotiator is simply awesome!
on December 5, 2001
The Negotiator is a fine book. It is pretty good in the whodunit category. It also contains elements of romance, but it's not dripping with it. I don't read much fiction, but I really enjoyed this book. My wife and I read it concurrently. It was very nice to be able to sit down together and discuss the story. We both enjoyed sharing quality time, even if it was just to discuss characters in a work of fiction.
The story starts out in a very engrossing situation. The pace doesn't slow for quite some time. However, it does slow toward the end. In fact, my wife and I both thought the ending was anti-climactic.
Dee Henderson tackles some pretty deep theological issues in this book. I think she handles them well, but doesn't delve too deeply into the mysteries. Personally, I'd love to have seen her flesh them out more, but this is a work of fiction, not a work of theology. She handled them well within her storyline.
The O'Malley Family is a great set-up. And, I suspect the rest of the books in the series will be pretty good too. I'm hoping to find time to read the rest of them. Kate O'Malley, the negotiator, is an interesting character. I did find her penchant for eating junk food to be a bit overdone - I would have a hard time believing that the picture on the book's cover would be fitting for someone with those eating habits. Other than that, the character development is very good for Kate.
Dave, on the other hand, is a bit less believable. He speaks with a British accent, so we assume he is British. However, the book never tells us how or why a Brit is working for the FBI. Also, he's extremely wealthy (old money). This provides for a couple of sections in the "romantic" development of the book that do little to progress the storyline. They seemed extravagant to me. Perhaps that comes from my realist personality.
The story is very readable. I did finally have to go to the dictionary to look up the word "roil." Perhaps my vocabulary is too limited, but her heavy usage of this particular word struck me as odd. I would have thought the editor might have caught the heavy usage and suggested something else.
The one thing that struck me, and will stay with me when I read other works of fiction, is the way Henderson developed and showed the sense of joy of being with friends and family. I cannot remember ever reading a story that made me feel the joy and happiness of the characters. In fact, for me, the joy and happiness in the story were far more real that the worry and fear. I wish more people focused on bring out joy in life, even in difficult times, when they write. I wouldn't really classify this as a "feel good" book, but it will provide many occasions that bring this feeling to you.
In the end, I really liked the book. I think that most readers, Christian or not, will enjoy reading it.
on November 1, 2001
Dee Henderson is probably... no, not probably but she IS my favorite Christian writer!! "The Negotiator" is probably my favorite of the books she has written (though I still haven't read "The Truth-Seeker" or "The Protector" yet so I'll have to see!). This book is the first of the O'Malley series. The O'Malley family consists of seven brothers and sister, three boys and four girls. Since they were little they had been in the same orphanage and when they got out of the orphanage, they decided to 'adopt' each other, taking the name O'Malley as their family name. They all have very important jobs, Marcus is a U.S. Marshal, Kate a negotiator for hostage situations, botched-up robberies, etc., Jennifer is a doctor, Jack a fireman, Rachel a trauma psychologist, and Lisa is a forensic pathologist. This story is about Kate O'Malley, the negotiator.
The story begins when while Kate O'Malley negotiates with a man at a bank, she meets FBI agent Dave Richman. Dave Richman is interested with her and Kate also finds him attractive, but Dave is a Christian while Kate is not. Kate has grown up trusting no one except the O'Malley family. She has seen too much violence and injustice and can't believe that there is a God if He lets such things happen. In the Bible, it says that God is merciful and just, so she thinks "then why do I even have this job"? Before Dave can really talk to her about it disaster strikes. Someone sends Kate black roses. Black roses which stand for death. A few days after, an airliner blows up, and somehow Kate is involved in it when the bomber calls up and says, "tell Kate O'Malley that I haven't forgotten the past." But Kate O'Malley does not want to remember the past. She tries to shut it out but then she is faced with shocking and terrifying evidence that the bomber may be someone she know, someone from her past! Dave discovers that he is in love with Kate and vows to protect her but will she be able to trust in Dave and the God he trusts so much in?
"The Negotiator" is very well-written. I just fell in love with the characters of Kate O'Malley and Dave Richman. It's also so suspenseful that I suggest you read it on a day when you have plenty of free time because you won't be able to put the book down! It was terrible when I had only the last few chapters to read when I had to go to school! What agony! But it's not only the suspense, action, mystery, and the excitement I had when reading it that I liked, I also loved the humor and romance in it. The humor in it very much reminds me of my sister and I when we talk to each other. This book also talks about trust and faith in not only our friends and family, but in God. God is always with us and though we don't know why He does this or why He doesn't do that, we must always have faith in Him and to pray.
The next in the O'Malley series is "The Guardian" in which the main character is Marcus O'Malley, the oldest of the O'Malley's. This is also another great book! Then after that there is "The Truth-Seeker" with Lisa O'Malley then "The Protector" with Jack O'Malley. Can't wait to read those, too! Other books by Dee Henderson is "Danger in the Shadows" (written before "The Negotiator" whose main character is Dave Richman's sister, Sara) and "True Devotion", the first in the Uncommon Heroes Series. Don't miss any of these books!
on October 3, 2001
I first read about this book when looking through an Amazon list of "sleepers." I was surprised when I checked into this one to find it listed in Christian fiction. I hadn't tried to read Christian fiction in several years, and had been disappointed with my last attempt. I had no idea that this subgenre of Christian fiction even existed. I prefer fast paced action-suspense-thriller novels, and this has all of those elements, plus a sweet romance. I have since devoured all of the author's books and found them each very satisfying, but this one holds a special place in my heart. I think I particularly identify with Kate's feistiness.
Here are some of the things that I think make Ms. Henderson's writing especially enjoyable: she researches her subject situations well and provides enough small details to give a clear and credible picture of what is happening, yet manages to do so in a way that does not bog down the plot. She injects humor into the characters. They have strong personalities and both strengths and flaws. Thus, they seem very real. As another writer has noted, the references to faith flow as a natural part of the thoughts and dialog of the characters. Ms. Henderson also does a great job developing courtship between the main characters.
I find myself recommending this series to everyone I know, then having difficulty lending copies of the books for them to read. The books feel like friends that I don't want to part with. I am so pleased to have found them. Thank you, Ms. Henderson for writing them!