Summary and book reviews of Hostage by Robert Crais

Hostage

by Robert Crais

Hostage
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  • First Published:
    Aug 2001, 384 pages
    Paperback:
    Jul 2002, 384 pages

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Book Summary

A blistering stand-alone thriller with superb characters, a multistranded polt and pitch-perfect Southern California sensibility.

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.

PROLOGUE

The man in the house was going to kill himself. When the man threw his phone into the yard, Talley knew that he had accepted his own death. After six years as a crisis negotiator with the Los Angeles Police Department's SWAT team, Sergeant Jeff Talley knew that people in crisis often spoke in symbols. This symbol was clear: Talk was over. Talley feared that the man would die by his own hand, or do something to force the police to kill him. It was called suicide by cop. Talley believed it to be his fault.

"Did they find his wife yet?"

"Not yet. They're still looking."

"Looking doesn't help, Murray. I gotta have something to give this guy after what happened."

"That's not your fault."

"It is my fault. I blew it, and now this guy is circling the drain."

Talley crouched behind an armored command vehicle with the SWAT commander, a lieutenant named Murray Leifitz, who was also his negotiating team supervisor. From this position, Talley ...

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It's already been sold to MGM Studios as a starring vehicle for Bruce Willis, which may account for the preponderance of action-movie cliches, especially the bombs-bursting conclusion. As a way to pass the time on a sunny beach, this isn't a bad thriller, but Crais aficionados are likely to be disappointed.

Publishers Weekly

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.

Author Blurb Jane Adams
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.

Reader Reviews

Keshia

This book was very exciting and kept me guessing all the way through the book. I would recommend to anyone who likes Robert Crais's work to read Hostage.

Brad D.

Great book with several twists. Shows how money can change relationships, and perspective on society. This book does still have the mystique of childhood innocence that really carries the plot. The detailed portrayal of each character made this a ...   Read More

wugmump

A very interesting read, but one quite different from Crais' other works (I think I have read them all to date). Anyone who enjoys the current hit TV show, Boomtown, will especially enjoy his technique here. Crais unfolds the drama from the ...   Read More

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