The Negotiator

Rating: 3/4 (A decent hostage thriller by Forsyth, though a bit drawn out)

The Negotiator by thriller writer Frederick Forsyth was one of the few books a friend gave me when he left Singapore. I had not read any books by Forsyth, but he has always been very popular among my bookworm friends, especially for his book The Day of the Jackal.

Though written in 1989, the plot was surprisingly pertinent. In the book, a new USA president named Cormack takes charge, bringing radical changes. He even extends an olive branch to the Russian president Gorbachev, and they agree to cut back drastically on arms. Cormack’s moves irk the conservative crowd in USA and they devise a devious plot to take him out of power. Cormack’s son Simon who is studying in London is kidnapped. Thus enters Forsyth’s hero Quinn, the most famous hostage negotiator in the world. After a nail biting hostage negotiation, Quinn is able to get the son released. Just when he thinks he has won, Simon is killed gruesomely and it is upto Quinn to figure out who did it and why.

The Negotiator is quite a good read. The people and places are well researched and this provides a stable grounding for the plot. Most of the book, right through Simon’s kidnapping and his hostage negotiation by Quinn are edge-of-the-seat exciting to read. It is the last part where Quinn tracks down the killers that is drawn out and boring. All in all, The Negotiator was a decent read and I would not mind reading The Day of the Jackal after this.

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