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     ROBERT CRAIS: REVIEWS - HOSTAGE

HOSTAGE
The title of Crais's fiery third thriller (after L.A. Requiem and Demolition Angel) can refer not just to the two sets of innocents held at gunpoint in the story but to the reader, who will be wired tight to the book. The novel launches with a familiar (as familiar as Demolition Angel) premise: a soul-scarred cop here, former L.A. SWAT hostage negotiator Jeff Talley, now chief of police of smalltown Bristo Bay, Calif. plunges into an assignment that forces him to confront his demons. The devil clawing Talley's brain is the dying gaze of a young hostage he failed to save in L.A. Now three outlaws two lowlife brothers and a homicidal maniac have, after botching a robbery-homicide, taken refuge in a swank house in Bristo Bay. At their mercy are the family's dad, whom they've knocked unconscious, and his teen daughter and preteen son. 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. 
-Publishers Weekly

Jeff Talley is a burned-out former LAPD SWAT team hostage negotiator trying unsuccessfully to hide from his demons in the tiny community of Bristo Camino. When three toughs rob a convenience store, kill the owner, and take refuge in the home of an accountant, Talley quickly finds himself in the middle of a double hostage situation. The toughs are threatening to kill Smith and his children, but what they don't know is that the accountant works for the Mob and happens to have in his possession what amounts to an annual report on Mob activity. The Mob bosses kidnap Talley's wife and daughter and make it clear to him that they will kill his loved ones if he doesn't get his hands on the damning computer discs before the cops do. Talley finds himself in the unenviable position of helping to free Smith while executing a clandestine plan to save his own family. Crais, author of the critically acclaimed Elvis Cole series and the recent best-seller Demolition Angel [BKL Mr 15 00], probably couldn't write a bad book if he tried... It's already been sold to MGM Studios as a "starring vehicle" for Bruce Willis.
-Booklist 

Crais's Demolition Angel (L J 5/1/00) proved that he could successfully move outside his popular Elvis Cole mystery series, and his latest, also a stand-alone, is no less powerful and well written. Crais, a TV and film script veteran, adds complications and surprises at every turn: one of the robbers turns out to be a serial killer, the homeowner has mob ties, Talley's wife and child are kidnapped, and no person or thing seems stable. Given the novel's mounting tension, memorable characters, and skillfully drawn plot, it is no surprise that MGM and Bruce Willis have bought the film rights. 
-Library Journal

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