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The Hostage
By W. E. B. Griffin

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The Hostage

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The Hostage
A Presidential Agent Novel
By W. E. B. Griffin
Thorndike Press Large Print (2006)
ISBN 10: 1-59413-166-X
ISBN 13: 978-1-59413-166-0
Genre: Adventure - Mystery/Thriller

Reviewed by Sheldon Ztvordokov - February 16, 2007

When Betsy Masterson, wife of J. Winslow Masterson, Deputy Chief of Mission at the American Embassy in Argentina is kidnaped, everyone hopes that the kidnappers will quickly realize that they have kidnaped a diplomat's wife and let her go. However, as the hours turn into days, not only is there no word from the kidnappers, but no one has been able to identify the group responsible for this action. To help spear-head the investigation into Masterson's kidnapping, the President sends Special Forces Major, C. G. Castillo to Buenos Aires to get her back and to find out what went wrong before the bureaucrats on the scene start to twist the truth to cover their own back-sides. Charley, as he is better known, ostensibly works for Matthew Hall, the Secretary of Homeland Security. In reality, however, Charley is a Presidential Agent who takes his orders directly from the President. When he goes to Argentina, Charley goes with the full backing of the President, and with orders that he can request, and will be given, any assistance that he requires - from any agency or employee of the U.S. government. A task that becomes both easier, and more complicated, when he is named as chief of the Office of Organizational Analysis, a covert intelligence unit hidden within the department of Homeland security.

The Hostage is the second novel in W. E. B. Griffin's gripping Presidential Agent Novel series, and it features Army Major Carlos Guillermo "Charley" Castillo, who first made his debut in W. E. B. Griffin's enthralling tale By Order of The President. This novel is a direct continuation of the first book, and it in it you'll find many of the same characters such as Aleksandr Pevsner, a Russian Arm's Dealer, Major H. Richard Miller, and Betty Schneider, a former Philadelphia cop who is now a Secret Service agent and for whom Charley has major puppy dog eyes for.

When Charley gets to Argentina, the case quickly goes from bad to worse. An American diplomat is murdered, Schneider is shot, and even with the full cooperation of the Argentine SIDE (their intelligence organization), all that the good-guys can figure out is that Masterson was kidnaped in order to get to her brother, Jean-Paul Lorimer. Who the bad-guys are, however, is another question. What Charley does discover is that Lorimer, an Anti-American United Nations official is implicated in the skimming of money from the Iraqi Oil for Food program. He knows the names of who got what, and when, and they, whoever they are, want him dead at any cost.

Charley is a complex hero. The love child of a German newspaper heiress and an American flyer killed in Vietnam, he is the heir to both his mother's German fortune, and his father's even bigger American one. Unbelievably rich on both counts, fluent in a number of languages, and extremely smart, Charley is also a duel citizen of both countries. He often uses his real-life German identity of Karl Wilhelm von und zu Gossinger when working undercover to help hide the fact that he is an American agent and to obtain information that he would not otherwise be privy to.

The characters in The Hostage are finely wrought, and Griffin give Charley even greater depth by developing his relationship with Schneider and in showing that Charley has flaws and that even he, although a proto-superhero, can make mistakes. This is a real page turner, one that is propelled by Griffin's vibrant writing style, a complex plot, and a dollop of red herrings, rather than by the chases, explosions, and bedroom trysts that populate most of today's thrillers.

Although the second book in what is currently a three-part series, The Hostage can be read without having read the first book in the series, which is technically a stand-alone book. Be forewarned, however, while the The Hostage doesn't exactly end with a cliff-hanger, Griffin is definitely not finished with the story begun in this volume. So you'll want to be sure to have a copy of The Hunters on hand so that you can find out what is going to happen with the UN / Iraqi Oil for Food Scandal and to discover just who was really behind Masterson's kidnapping - and what Charley and his gang are going to do to settle the score.

I can't wait to sink my teeth into The Hunters! So suffice it to say, I highly recommend The Hostage!!

Current books in the Presidential Agent Series:
  1. By Order of The President
  2. The Hostage
  3. The Hunters

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