Ben Lopez spends his life traveling the world, bartering with people who value money over life. Working for governments, law enforcement agencies, multinational corporations and private clients, Ben is an expert K&R (Kidnap and Ransom) consultant, supplying professional kidnap-negotiation services. He can be called out to anywhere in the world within twenty-four-hour notice to set up and command the negotiator's cell, bargaining with religious fanatics, hardened criminals, and other desperate people in order to save the lives of their captives. Alongside a shadowy team of former spies and special operatives, his arsenal of psychological techniques is just as powerful as brute force. He'll spend as long as is necessary to get the job done. And then he'll disappear.
This extraordinary book reads like a thriller—but for those involved in the stories within it, the drama and the tension are very real.
Looking back over his 20 years as a hostage negotiator, Lopez (a pseudonym) explains that kidnapping is an industry now worth more than $1 billion a year, thanks to "terrorism, recession, the proliferation of cheap weapons and the globalisation of organised crime." With more than 20,000 kidnappings reported each year around the world, kidnap-and-ransom consultant Lopez has traveled the globe, from the Middle East to Mexico. With a background in psychology, Lopez makes his negotiation services available to governments, private clients, law enforcement agencies, and multinational corporations. He claims he has never lost a hostage, and offers gripping narratives of his adventures (all names and locations are changed to protect people and organizations). Writing with a noir sensibility, he describes desperate characters in tense situations and offers revelatory details on the history, procedures, and psychology of negotiating with hardened criminals. Tracing the history of hostage negotiations back to Attica and Munich, he concludes with an overview of the current kidnapping industry and a warning: "politico-religious kidnappings are volatile and have a greater chance of ending in bloodshed.... If the criminal believes God is on his side, he's not going to listen to anything I have to say." Strong suspense and drama permeate these pages of real-life hostage negotiations.