A trio of desperate convicts has hijacked a bus carrying a group of deaf and mute schoolgirls who are now being held hostage in a disused slaughterhouse. FBI agent Arthur Potter is flown in to negotiate with the men, as are local police, state troopers, politicians and the media. Not everyone has the same agenda. And the killers will kill one innocent child an hour, on the hour, until their demands are met.

I am a huge Jeffery Deaver fan, especially of his Lincoln Rhyme series. So when I heard about this book, my hopes were sky high. And I wasn’t disappointed.

The book straight away heads to the story when a school bus carrying eight deaf students and their two teachers, stops in the middle of nowhere to inspect a car crash. But they are immediately captured and kept as hostages in a slaughter house by three escaped convicts. FBI agent Arthur Potter, an expert in negotiations, is called to the scene along with state troopers and the local police. The story progresses through the hours long negotiations between Potter and the hostage takers.

What I loved the most about the book is its theme. While most crime thrillers are about solving a crime scene and chasing the convicts, in this book Deaver focuses on a completely different aspect- the negotiations part. I was quite intrigued as well as enlightened to know the significance of a negotiator as well as the dilemmas faced by him/her. Also, the book gives you an insight of what it’s like to be in the world of deaf people. The young students with their varying age and characters, as well as the contrasting nature of the two teachers have been very well portrayed by the author. 

This book had me on the edge of the seat from the very beginning. I was literally clutching my heart and screaming through numerous portions. I felt that the story was perfect, until the very last chapter or so. I really think that the story deserved a better ending as I felt it to be a little too clumsy and rushed. I don’t think I can state my arguments without giving spoilers, so I will leave it at that.

On the whole, I really loved this book and will recommend it to anyone who is dying to read a bloody good crime thriller. Having said that, I would like to add that this book ain’t meant for the weak hearted or children, cause it’s brimming with heart wrenching violence and nerve wracking tension.

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