Doubleday, Aug 2001, 24.95, 384 pp.
Former Los Angeles negotiator Jeff Talley left the force when he failed to save a young victim, whose eyes still haunt him. Jeff accepts the job as Chief of Police of Bristo Bay, California because he expects to ignore his depressing memories.
However, his life of avoidance ends when his skills honed during his LA SWAT days become needed. Two siblings and a maniac commit murder during a robbery. They take shelter in the wealthy home of accountant Walter Smith in Bristo Bay. The three thugs knock out Walter and hold hostage his teenage daughter and preadolescent son. However, Walter is no ordinary bean counter. He keeps the books for mobster Sonny Benza, who knows the cops and probably the FBI will have access to damaging records. As Jeff negotiates with the kidnappers, the Benza gang is coming to end everything Sonny's style.
The latest thriller from Robert Crais is the usual action packed, never a moment to breath tale. The story line is fast paced and loaded, but what turns this novel into a winner is Talley. Readers will feel his demons as if they looked into the dying eyes of that victim several years ago and feel all the pain eating at the hero's soul even when he fears déjà vu. Though Mr. Crais occasionally writes as if he is developing a screenplay, HOSTAGE happens so quickly, fans will barely notice, but will remain a captive of the plot from start to finish.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner