Friday, May 13, 2011

The Worst Thing by Aaron Elkins

book cover

The Worst Thing
by Aaron Elkins

ISBN-13: 9780425240991
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
Released: May 3, 2011

Source: Unrequested review copy from the publisher.

Book Description from Cover (slightly modified):
For Bryan Bennett, designing hostage negotiation programs is the perfect job--as long as he keeps a safe, theoretical distance. What he refuses to do is deal directly with kidnappers or teach his own programs. They bring back memories of his own kidnapping as a small boy. Thirty-some years later, he still has a fear of enclosed spaces and intense panic attacks that follow nightmares of his imprisonment.

So when Bryan's boss asks him to fly to Reykjavik, Iceland, to teach his corporate-level kidnapping and extortion seminar, he automatically says no. But the CEO of GlobalSeas Fisheries, Inc. has specifically requested Bryan--or no one else. Bryan finally relents...

For decades he's treaded gingerly around the edges of his deepest terrors. Now, on this trip, his worst fears come true and he has no choice but to face them head-on. Will Bryan and his wife survive when a kidnapping plot goes wrong and throws them into harm's way or will a man from Bryan's past take this chance to get revenge?

My Review:
The Worst Thing is a suspense novel about hostage negotiation and panic attacks. The author wove vivid details into the story about hostage negotiation, what it's like to be a hostage, and what it's like to deal with panic attacks. This was very well done and very interesting.

The characters were varied, complex, and quirky in an engaging way. I always understood why the characters were acting the way they did. I had a hard time putting the book down because I found it so interesting and suspenseful. The suspense was created by the danger of the kidnapping situation and by Bryan's inability to handle his intense panic attacks. Despite the serious situations, there was an underlying humor in how the characters viewed the situations and their fear.

There was some explicit bad language. There was no graphic sex. Overall, I'd recommend this well-written, suspenseful novel.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt from Chapter One
The food had been wonderful, the wines had been excellent, and the creme brulee was slipping down our throats like nectar from Valhalla. Wally, Lori, and I were all feeling relaxed, happy, and expansive. I knew it couldn't last, and it didn't.

Wally slid his unfinished dessert to one side and leaned earnestly forward. "Bryan, I have a proposition for you that I think you're going to love--that you're both going to love."

Well, that was when the alarm bells really started jangling. Actually, they'd been jingling quietly in the background ever since he'd offhandedly invited Lori and me to dinner at Cafe Campagne at Seattle's Pike Place Market. The ostensible reason was to celebrate our tenth wedding anniversary, February 23, 2010, but I knew Wally well enough to know that very little that he ever did was offhanded. There was always something behind it, and that's what had me worried.

Read more from chapter one.

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