DEAD LINE, by Chris Ewan

Ewan, a best-selling English author, is most famous for his Good Thief's series, but also does stand-alone books. I've reviewed Safe House elsewhere in this blog. But not every fine author hits them out of the park every time at bat, and Dead Line was maybe a double instead of his usual home run. Trent is a hostage negotiator in the busy field of European kidnapping. When a client of his insurance company is kidnapped, Trent's the one who holds the family together and brings the victim home, usually in one piece. But he has a parallel track, and that is to find his vanished fiancee, Aimee, who disappeared - kidnapped? unknown; it's been two months - while he was in Italy. Click below for more...
But Trent is sure that wealthy, handsome Jerome Moreau, sadistic lover, yacht-broker and smuggler, knows what happened to Aimee. Just as Trent is about to grab Moreau, the whole game changes as a particularly violent kidnap gang grabs Moreau right in front of Trent. The following negotiations are torturous, Trent's non-stop emotional downhill slide in described endlessly, his relationship with an ex-police officer is glacial, there's an unidentified watcher across the street from Trent's scuzzy apartment. And, in my view, the ending is blah, despite the bloodbath. It's, at best, a 3.
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