TERROR STRIKES AN ICONIC CHURCH – AND BRINGS A CITY TO ITS KNEES.
In the hushed quiet of early morning Manhattan, in front of the towering brass doors of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, a young woman holds a sign that reads: HELP ME. For one FBI agent, a madman’s terrified hostages, and an entire city, a long and harrowing day is about to unfold.
The hostage taker’s identity is unknown. But he knows who FBI agent Eve Rossi is – and everything about her past. Along with her presence, he demands five witnesses: ordinary people with some hidden connection. Defying her superiors, Eve begins a deadly dance with an adversary whose intentions are surely sinister, whose endgame is anything but certain, and whose cunning keeps him one step ahead at every turn.
As Eve manages a taut hostage situation, she relies on the combined skills of her team – a secret unit inspired by France’s most notorious criminal and made up of ex-convicts with extraordinary talents, oversized egos, and contempt for the rules.
Eve is up against a rapidly ticking clock. But the dangerous man calling the shots has a timetable of his own – and a searing question for his targets: What are you guilty of? As shocking revelations surface, so does another crisis nobody could anticipate – one not even Eve and her team may be able to stop.
Worldbuilding: The NY setting was a good contemporary scene, and I loved the atmosphere of the novel.
Characters: The multi-POV helped me get to know more about not only Eve, the foundation stone of her team, but also her team members. A diverse and quirky team, to be sure, and interesting to follow both in action, and outside of it. While I found them all interesting, their stories and actions too, I wasn’t emotionally invested in any of their stories – an unfortunate effect of third person narrative with multi-POV in my case. But the cast of characters was certainly interesting.
I would have liked the villain to have a little more depth, maybe, but there’s only so much you can hope for from a “hero novel”, where the focus are the good guys saving the day rather than the bad guys who get caught. Because I’m an evil reader, while I enjoy both, I tend to like the “villain novel” more, mwahahaha, where the focus is the bad guy rather than those who defeat it.
Plot: The story was very intriguing from a psychological perspective, because as hostage taking procedural it presented a good and yummy dose of profiling and framing issues and such. While it wasn’t rabid action – the focus being analyzing rather than bursting in guns blazing and all – it was very tense and an exhilarating ride, all in all. I liked the plot twist near the end, and when you get there you’ll see what I mean. I also enjoyed the mystery involved in what connected the witnesses, and the little hints of mysteries to be solved in future about the team members too – like the story of Eve’s dad, for instance.
Writing: Third person, past tense narrative, multiple POVs. I’m not a fan of multiple POVs, though in team-based procedurals it works to give the reader a more personal view of team members, villains, so on. I liked the approach, but I can’t say I was emotionally invested in either of the characters’ stories.
Curb Appeal: Cool cover, hooking blurb – definite impulsive buy material for my procedural thriller cravings.
I’m looking forward to seeing how the series progresses, I find the concept really smart and interesting.
If you’re into profiler type of stories, Hostage Taker will be a really fun read for you. It’s a good, solid read, exciting, intriguing, fast-paced enough to keep the adrenaline pumping but analytical enough to keep the grey cells engaged as well, all-through. I recommend it to profiler procedural fans, and fans of crime-solving official teams (like myself).