Hostage Taker by Stefanie Pintoff

Hostage TakerIn 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.

ARC received from: Netgalley

Rating: ★★★★★

Cover: Yay

POV: 3rd Person

One-Sentence Summary: A hostage situation plays out in NYC’s most famous religious landmark and an FBI Agent and her band of misfits are the only ones who can save them

Review: Here we are only in May and I think I can confidently state that I have found my favourite book of 2015 … or at least my favourite crime novel.

Yes this book really is that good.

Why?

Because Pintoff gets it right on all 3 accounts:

The plot:

Is there a situation that has you sitting on edge any more than a hostage situation? I’ve devoured a huge number of TV shows, films and books and I have yet to find one. When done right, the interplay of characters, life/death situations and simply getting an answer to the question “why?!” will hold your attention from start to finish.

Boy did Pintoff get it right. She keeps you waiting to find out the answer to “who” and “why”, teasing out the plot, feeding you crumbs to hold your interest. And then near the end when you think you’ve got your answers to those questions, she pulls the rug out from under your feet and makes you reconsider everything you’ve read in the previous 400 pages. By the end of the book *SPOILER* I was definitely convinced that my own inherent gender bias had let me not see the twist coming. Nicely played. *SPOILER*

Needless to say that there are enough deaths to convince you that the hostage-taker means business and makes you wonder how the hell the good guys will win this one.

Well, I don’t think it’s a spoiler to reveal that yes the good guys do win and this is because of a set of wonderfully unique characters.

The characters:

Eva Rossi – what a heroine. Strong, smart and well respected by a group of criminals who you would never think could possibly have an ounce of respect for a young, female, FBI Agent. Clearly there is so much to her story but Pintoff teases us by only peeling back the first layer with a few mentions about her recently deceased ex-CIA stepfather and her misstep in a previous case.

I’m not going to go into who her team are as individuals because one of the best things about the first part of the book is learning about these characters and seeing them in their natural environment before getting pulled back into the FBI team. Needless to say they all have engaging personalities and you’ll want to learn more about each of them by the end.

The writing:

It really goes without saying that a wonderful knack of storytelling goes hand-in-hand with the two above points. It’s a page-turner from start to finish.

One of my favourite things about this introduction to what is hopefully going to be a long and successful series is the fact that Pintoff simply leaves you wanting more. Yes, the hostage case thriller is all tied up neatly by the end but you are left eager for the next book to find out more about Eve’s stepfather and her relationship with Haddox.

To say that I am eagerly awaiting the next book in the Eve Rossi series is putting it mildly. Pintoff, please write faster!

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