- Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
- Publisher: Fawcett (June 25 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0345434498
- ISBN-13: 978-0345434494
- Product Dimensions: 10.7 x 2.5 x 17.3 cm
- Shipping Weight: 181 g
- Average Customer Review: 103 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #350,060 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Hostage: A Novel Mass Market Paperback – Jun 25 2002
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From the Inside Flap
The bestselling author of Demolition Angel" and L.A. Requiem" returns with his most intense and intricate thriller yet.
As the "Los Angeles Times said, Robert Crais is "a crime writer operating at the top of his game." His complex heroes and heroines, his mastery of noir atmosphere, and his brilliant, taut plots have catapulted him into the front rank of a new breed of thriller writers. Hostage" proves his earlier success was no fluke. It's an unstoppable read.
An ex-con with delusions of grandeur and his tagalong brother unwittingly team up with a psychopath one wrong word away from meltdown. When their late afternoon joyride turns into a random act of violence, they take a family hostage in the affluent bedroom community of Bristo Camino. Enter Chief of Police Jeff Talley, a stressed-out former LAPD SWAT negotiator who is hiding from his past. Plunged back into the high-pressure world that he desperately wants to forget, Talley soon learns that his nightmare has only begun.
The hostages are not who they seem, and the home contains secrets that even L.A.'s most lethal and volatile crime lord, Sonny Benza, fears. As Talley tries to hold himself together and save the people inside, the full weight of Benza's wrath descends on him, putting the police chief and his own family at risk. Soon, all involved are held hostage by the exigencies of fate and the only one capable of diffusing the standoff is the least stable of them all.
Hostage is a blistering stand-alone thriller with superb characters in crisis, multistranded plotting, and pitch-perfect Southern California sensibility.
"From the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
Robert Crais is the author of nine previous novels, including the bestsellers Demolition Angel and L.A. Requiem. Demolition Angel is currently in development as a major motion picture by Columbia/TriStar and producer Laurence Mark (Jerry McGuire, Finding Forrester).
From the Hardcover edition.
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The action begins with losers Kevin, Dennis and Mars deciding to rob a convinience store in the suburbs. The robbery goes bad and a man is shot and on the getaway the car breaks down, forcing the thugs to escape through a ritzy neighborhood on foot. They plan to steal a car and make their getaway but the police are on their tail. Before they can escape, the police have them trapped. Dennis, the older brother and the leader, Kevin, the younger brother who really is an okay kid if it weren't for the influence of Dennis, and the loner Mars are all trapped in a house and they hold the Smith family hostage.
Jeff Talley, chief of police, is called to the scene. Talley has experience in these situations as a hostage negotiator. One bad experience forced him to quit the SWAT team and caused him to lose his family. Now he has to overcome his fears to ensure the safety of the family inside the house.
The novel seems pretty straight forward up to this point when Crais throws in a new plot twist. George Smith, one of the hostages, is an accountant for the Mafia with evidence that would incrimate families in LA and NY. The mafia then takes steps to ensure none of the evidence reaches the police.
The story moves back and forth between the point of view of Talley, the mafia, the hostages and Dennis and Kevin. Crais does a great job with the characters of Dennis and Kevin. You really can understand why Dennis has turned to crime and why Kevin is following him. Mars is an intriguing character (almost comical when listening to the audio book) whose motives are much more sinister than they appear.
The ending is satisfying and expected. I'll definitely look into more Crais novels.
I won't give much away, but Hostage is set in real time over the span of roughly just 14 hours, excluding a brief prologue and epilogue.
The prologue sets up the main character: Sergeant Jeff Talley, a hostage negotiator for the L.A.P.D. SWAT team. We briefly meet him and learn how he will come to find himself in the suburban setting of the story, living a solitary life, estranged from his family.
The clock starts ticking on Hostage as two bumbling brothers and a mysterious co-worker of theirs haphazardly rob a convenience store and find themselves in a chain of events rapidly progressing from a bad idea to a worse situation. It ultimately lands them in the midst of the Smith family home, where father, daughter and son become the title Hostage's of the story.
Now Talley must exorcise his personal demons and face another hostage situation that he was certain would elude him in the placid, bedroom community he'd settled into. At this point I thought I could see the writing on the wall for the rest of the plot, and I must say I was mildly annoyed with how predictable this appeared to be. Had I stopped then, I would have missed the best parts of the book.
--Will Talley face his fears and return to his profession and his family?
--Who will make it out of the "hostage" situation alive?
--What is the secret of the household patriarch that really throws a wrench in things?
--Who's double-crossing whom?
All questions you'll have to read the book to learn the answers to. Suffice it to say, Hostage has a bit more to offer than first impressions would lead you to believe.
The style of narrative is a bit different in Hostage. It jumps from person to person, sometimes in the midst of a chapter. This will definitely not appeal to everyone, but I think it added to the frenetic pace the author was striving for. I also found the characters to be wholly unappealing. I can't think of one that I cared for, or conversely cared about. Kind of crucial when you're supposed to be enthralled with what will happen to them. I think they could definitely have used some more development.
I still gave this an above average recommendation, why? It is a very different read than anything I've come across recently and I did appreciate all the technical aspects of crime fighting, and the police that were covered as well.
This is not the book for the immature or sensitive readers. There is considerable cursing. Drug use is discussed and done. There are allusions to both physical abuse of children and sexual innuendo. To top all that off, there are several scenes of graphically detailed violence. It's not something that bothers me given the context of the material, however I am sure it would be offensive to some readers.
I do recommend this book but with a cautionary mention of some of the graphic violence and mature subject matter covered in the book. I would not give this book to a reader under the age of 16. Fans of mystery, suspense and popular fiction should find this an entertaining read once it gets going.
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1) It has to many people involved, but the book explain perfectly who are these people and you know exactly what are they doing and why.Read more