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Hostage: A Novel Mass Market Paperback – Jun 25 2002

4.1 out of 5 stars 122 customer reviews

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99 by Wayne Gretzky 99 by Wayne Gretzky

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Fawcett (June 25 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345434498
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345434494
  • Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 2.5 x 17.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 181 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars 122 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #136,111 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Amazon

Robert Crais is the real thing: a writer who keeps topping himself. Last year, after eight popular books featuring private eye Elvis Cole (including L.A. Requiem and Voodoo River), he produced Demolition Angel, his first standalone suspense novel. Its complex, multidimensional hero was a damaged cop haunted by her past failures. It worked in that book, and it works even better in this one.

Jeff Talley, the police chief in a small Southern California town, still has nightmares about the young hostage who died when he made the wrong call in his previous job as a negotiator for an LAPD SWAT team. Now, three smalltime punks go on the run after a grocery store robbery and killing in Talley's town. Soon his deputies have surrounded the house where the inept robbers have taken Walter Smith and his two children hostage, and Talley's back in his worst dream again: until the county sheriff's full-fledged SWAT team arrives and takes over, he has to negotiate for their lives.

Crais keeps the point of view moving from Talley to the punks to the hostages as the situation unfolds in the house and on the ground. Then he ratchets up the dramatic tension: there's something in Walter Smith's house that a ruthless Mob boss wants, and he'll sacrifice anyone to get it--which puts Talley's own family in danger. The action speeds to its climax with the velocity of a heat-seeking missile, which makes it almost criminal to slow down long enough to savor the great writing. Take this passage, from a scene when Talley's face-to-face with the man who's holding his own wife and daughter hostage:

Talley ... had stepped into the Zone. It was a place of white noise where emotions reigned and reason was meager. Anger and rage were nonstop tickets; panic was an express. He had been all day coming to this, and here he was: the SWAT guys used to talk about it. You went to the Zone, you lost your edge. You'd lose your career; you'd get yourself killed, or, worse, somebody else.
Crais belongs in that tier of writers whose novelistic gifts transcend the thriller category--writers like Michael Connelly, Dennis Lehane, and James Lee Burke. Hostage is a breakout. --Jane Adams --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

The title of Crais's fiery third thriller (after L.A. Requiem and Demolition Angel) can refer not just to the two sets of innocents held at gunpoint in the story but to the reader, who will be wired tight to the book. The novel launches with a familiar (as familiar as Demolition Angel) premise: a soul-scarred cop here, former L.A. SWAT hostage negotiator Jeff Talley, now chief of police of smalltown Bristo Bay, Calif. plunges into an assignment that forces him to confront his demons. The devil clawing Talley's brain is the dying gaze of a young hostage he failed to save in L.A. Now three outlaws two lowlife brothers and a homicidal maniac have, after botching a robbery-homicide, taken refuge in a swank house in Bristo Bay. At their mercy are the family's dad, whom they've knocked unconscious, and his teen daughter and preteen son. The whopper of a complication is that the dad serves as bookkeeper for Sonny Benza, West Coast mob kingpin, and Benza will do whatever's necessary to retrieve the incriminatory records secreted in the house before the cops storm the place. The narrative ticks with suspense as Talley negotiates with the three outlaws, and as they and the kids they're holding respond with panic, fear and courage to the escalating tension. It snaps into overdrive as Benza and his goons snatch Talley's wife and daughter, holding them ransom for the records; the flow is marred only by a couple of cheap turns obviously devised for the silver screen. Thriller vets will have seen a lot of this before, but every virtuoso is allowed variations on a theme, and Crais, with his record and with the smart suspense offered here, has proven himself nothing less. (On-sale date: Aug. 7)Forecast: Crais sells more with each title, and this will prove no exception. A 15-city author tour will enhance his visibility, as will forthcoming film versions of Demolition Angel and of Hostage, which has already been bought for Bruce Willis and MGM; Crais is writing the screenplays for both films.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
HOSTAGE accelerates from 0 to 60 in seconds, and then just keeps on rolling. Like A MAIDEN'S GRAVE, another hostage thriller I recently devoured, this novel is everything a trashy, can't-put-down potboiler should be.
Denny, recently released from a correctional facility, robs a Southern California suburban convenience store with his whiny brother, Kevin, and an inscrutable new buddy, Mars. The cashier is killed, and Mars smiles watching him die. Making their getaway, the transmission of the trio's pick-up fails. So, it's out of the truck, over a wall, and into the home of an accountant, where the boys take hostages: the owner, Walter Smith, and his two children, 16-year old Jennifer and 10-year old Thomas. Soon the place is surrounded by the local, bedroom community cops headed by Chief Jeff Talley, a mentally scarred former hostage negotiator for the LAPD, who quit that gig because of burnout and a hostage crisis that went bad. Soon the Highway Patrol and the county sheriff's SWAT team join the fun.
What the police and the Bad Guys don't realize is that Walter isn't just any accountant. He's the personal bean counter for Sonny Benza, head of the Mob's regional operations. It's tax time, and Walter has possession of the books for both Sonny's legal and illegal businesses, each on a computer zip disk. Through them, a link could be made back to the Big Boss on the East Coast. After Walter suffers a severe head injury, the disks are unprotected. (Oh, and did I mention that army of troopers itching to storm the house?) Ain't nobody happy about this one. Except maybe Denny, who's wondering how to spend the oodles of bundled C-notes he's found in a secret closet - if he can just get away with the swag.
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Format: Hardcover
Kinda bored to this writer's never changed writing format. What I need and would like to see is that Crais should try to write with certain deeper feelings instead of just incidents, cases, half-developed characters. Short of certain deep feelings is always the problem of this writer. His stories never moved or touched me deeply, just like watching an action packed movie with lot of explosions, digitalized graphics, stunts, dying people as victims, white-trash criminals....etc., etc. But once the lights are up again, you just get up like all other movie goers and exit. Your ear drums still ringing with the horrible sound effect. Crais books are always like this; readable but always short of something. They didn't make the readers think or ponder, or make them feel more complete, more mature and, more gratifying like reading those of by Connelly, Deuterman, Diehl, Block. I'd be very much appreciated that Crais may someday give me a "deeper" story intead of merely "COPS" stories like what we used to watch on tv. Sorry, man, you are a good writer, but you could be better.
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Format: Hardcover
Robert Crais is not an author I had read before I obtained a copy of Hostage. My mission is now to read his other efforts for this was a compelling page turner.Jeff Talley, a former LAPD SWAT team hostage negotiator has left that position due to a hostage situation which haunts his life. He has taken the position of Chief of Police of a small California town where the big police issues have nothing to do with guns or danger. Unfortunately for Talley, three misfits of society are about to change all that. After a botched attempt to rob a convenience store during which the store employee was killed, their vehicles engine craps out, leaving them near an exclusive residential subdivision. Over the wall they go and into the house of Arthur Smith. Had they picked any other house in there, things might have been different, but Smith is an acountant for The Mob and his house holds their secrets and a few million dollars of dirty money. Unaware of all this, the trio entertains themselves by terrorizing Smith and his children until it becomes apparent that the police are looking for them. The first officer to suspect their location ends up paying for this discovery with his life as he is cut down in a hail of bullets from the house.
Talley and his men set up a perimeter about the house as things start to get very complicated. The people whose records are in the house undertake action to send their own people, posing as FBI agents to the scene to recover the records. To neutralize Talley, his wife and daughter are kidnapped and are themselves hostages. Talley is contacted by their abductors and agrees to cooperate. Crais's plotting of this piece is materful and needs to be read to be appreciated. It is an absolute "cannot put this down" book.
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Format: Hardcover
Jeff Talley was a cop, a good cop. He worked as a hostage negotiator for LAPD, and, eventually, found himself overloaded. He quit LAPD to preserve his tenuous grip on his sanity. He escaped Los Angeles for a sleepy California town. He got a job as a police chief where his major responsibilities included parking infractions and speaking at school career days. Then, one fine day, some not-too-intelligent street criminals rob a store but don't get far. Fleeing from the cops, they seek refuge in a house where an accountant lives. Talley finds himself once again in a hostage negotiation situation. Talley is a fine creation, with a complex personal life. The hostage situation grows more complicated when the mob learns of it. The accountant is their bookkeeper, and the house is full of evidence that can put the wrong men in prison for a long long time. Talley finds himself trapped between the mob, street thugs, personal problems, and his past. Picture Bruce Willis as Talley and read the book first, before the film gets made. HOSTAGE is already in development as a Willis project.
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