Monday, June 13, 2011

The Worst Thing

If you decide pick up the latest effort by Aaron Elkins, don't panic; it won't be the worst thing you'll read. Far from it. For an easy going conversational type narrative, combined with suspenseful and quick action, with an added touch of the inner workings of a terrified mind, “The Worst Thing” is the one to choose.

Bryan Bennett, a former kidnap victim, is now a writer of training manuals on preventing kidnappings and how to behave if kidnapped. He is hired by GlobalSeas, an international seafood marketer based in Iceland, to give a seminar to the company's management. When the CEO, who narrowly escaped a recent kidnap attempt, is subsequently taken by three members of a eco-terrorist group, Bennett assumes a former role, that of hostage negotiator. However, when he finds his wife has also been kidnapped, Bennett trades himself for her, and, forced to face an old enemy, is plunged into a nightmare he thought he would never again suffer.

Standard premise. Nothing too complex. In fact nothing about the book is complex which can be a plus and a minus depending on the situation.

Bryan Bennett – 37, former kidnap victim, suffers from panic attacks. He comes across as very clinical in his thoughts and actions. He observes and strategizes before taking action.

Lori Bennett – Bryan’s wife. Loyal.

George Henry ‘Paris’ Camano – professional kidnapper. Analytical, planner. Bennett’s opposite in nature.

There are other minor supporting characters to give the novel a bit more strength. None of the characters aren’t studied in too much depth, including Bennett (yes, he’s the protagonist, but even he doesn’t get too below the surface), but Elkins provides enough details to make them unique and interesting.

Basic, simple, easy flowing. When delving into the mental disorders, it doesn’t bog you down with medicalese. Surprising, little profanity which is nice.

Fast moving. Doesn’t bog. I would have enjoyed the action scenes to be drawn out a bit more as they tend to start and end quickly. I like the constant touching on of his panic attacks and the layman explanations he gives. There’s even a surprise ending which is interesting. Even though I enjoyed not being blasted with a lot of medical terminology, I thought when Bennett suffered through his panic attacks, more details on his feelings would have been nice. He moves through his attacks within a page and I was disappointed because I wanted more feeling. However, he does point out in the novel that for those who suffer panic attack, they understood; for those who never have, can’t.

This is a very basic book with not a lot of depth. Still enjoyable, though, especially if you’ve never read something like it before.

My ranking:

Green Belt

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