A bus full of children is taken hostage in this “screaming hit” (The New York Times Book Review) from the bestselling author of The Never Game and The Bone Collector.
Along a windswept Kansas road, eight vulnerable girls and their helpless teachers are forced off a school bus and held hostage in an abandoned slaughterhouse. The madman who has them at gunpoint has a simple plan: One hostage an hour will die unless the demands are met.
Called to the scene is Arthur Potter, the FBI’s best hostage negotiator. He has a plan. But so does one of the hostages—a beautiful teacher who’s willing to do anything to save the lives of her students. Now the clock is ticking as a chilling game of cat and mouse begins.
It's said that great minds think alike; apparently great thriller writers do too. Here's the second outstanding novel in as many months to see a busload of schoolchildren kidnapped by maniacs. The first was Mary Willis Walker's Under the Beetle's Cellar (Forecasts, June 12); Deaver's is equally gripping, with the added twist that these kids are deaf. In rural Kansas, an act of kindness launches a nightmare when Mrs. Harstrawn, along with hearing-impaired apprentice teacher Melanie Charrol, stops her busload of deaf schoolgirls at a car wreck, only to be taken hostage by Lou Handy and two other stone-cold killers who've just escaped from prison. Pursued by a state trooper, the captors race with their prey to an abandoned slaughterhouse. There, Arthur Potter, the FBI's foremost hostage negotiator, sets up a command post--but the nightmare intensifies when Handy releases one girl, then shoots her in the back just as she reaches the agent. After further brutalities, Melanie decides to rescue her students herself, tricking the killers with sign language games to convey her plan to her charges. Meanwhile, pressure mounts on Potter as the media get pushy, the local FBI stonewalls, Kansas State hostage rescue units try an end run to grab the glory and an assistant attorney general butts in. Deaver (Praying for Sleep) brilliantly conveys the tensions and deceit of hostage negotiations; he also proves a champion of the deaf, offering poetic insight into their world. Throughout, heartbreakingly real characters keep the wildly swerving plot from going off-track, even during the multiple-whammy twists that bring the novel, Deaver's best to date, to its spectacular finish. 200,000 first printing; $200,000 ad/promo; Literary Guild featured alternate; film rights to Interscope Communications; simultaneous Penguin Audiobook; author tour.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Slow to get going but a page burner in the end
I’d made up my mind to finish this book for a couple of reasons. First reason being Jeffery Deaver never disappoints. Secondly I paid good money for it and was determined to see it through. I’m glad I did. The plot thickened and accelerated like a snowball hurtling its way down hill to an abrupt and sudden collision with an inevitable end. Four stars for 400 stultifying pages, but also four for an exciting denouement. Recommended.
A Maidens Grave
Not his best work. Long drawn out plot.