The Wrong Hostage (St. Kilda Series #1)

( 48 )

Overview

New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Lowell returns with a chilling tale of the law gone wrong and a kidnapping that threatens more than one life. Orphaned at thirteen, Grace Silva clawed her way out of poverty and violence to become one of the most respected judges on the federal bench. Grace believes in the rule of law -- lives it, breathes it. She has always been buttoned up and buttoned down. Except once.

Joe Faroe has learned that laws are made by politicians, and ...

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The Wrong Hostage (St. Kilda Series #1)

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Overview

New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Lowell returns with a chilling tale of the law gone wrong and a kidnapping that threatens more than one life. Orphaned at thirteen, Grace Silva clawed her way out of poverty and violence to become one of the most respected judges on the federal bench. Grace believes in the rule of law -- lives it, breathes it. She has always been buttoned up and buttoned down. Except once.

Joe Faroe has learned that laws are made by politicians, and politicians are all too human. He believes in the innocents, the ones getting ground up by governments that are too corrupt to protect their own citizens. He's been through the political meat grinder himself. It cost him his career, his freedom, and the woman who still haunts him. Since then Faroe has worked outside the rules as a kidnap specialist for St. Kilda Consulting, a Manhattan-based global business that concentrates on the shadow world. He is good at his work -- intelligent, confident, ruthless. Until a friend dies trying to kill him.

Now Faroe is out of the business. Then Grace comes to him and Faroe finds himself sucked back into the shadows, tracking a violent killer who holds the life of Grace's son in his bloody hands.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
A mother's worst nightmare of an endangered child is just one breathless element of Lowell's latest romantic thriller (after Always Time to Die). Newly divorced California judge Grace Silva discovers her billionaire ex-husband, Ted Franklin, is missing, after she's summoned to the exclusive Mexican prep school where her 15-year-old computer whiz son, Lane, is being held hostage. Ted has crossed Hector Rivas Osuna, the ruthless kingpin of the most violent crime family in Tijuana, and Grace learns that Lane will be killed if she doesn't turn over the millions Ted has stolen from Osuna. She seeks the help of Joe Faroe, an ex who predated Ted and who may be Lane's biological father; Joe works for an elite private investigation firm. Lowell's convincing depiction of the Mexican drug trade illuminates the dangerous intersection of her characters' personal lives with international politics and organized crime. Events unfold in a maze of talk and double-talk, but the payoff is solid as the family reunites, finding that both love and the price of freedom are nonnegotiable. (June) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
When federal judge Grace Silva discovers that her son is being held hostage in Mexico, she calls the only man with enough experience to get him out alive: Joe Faroe. Joe and Grace, and the shadowy St. Kilda consulting group, have less than 48 hours before the bullets start flying. Maria Tucci captures the very essence of Hector, the male chauvinist Mexican drug lord, complete with accent. In fact, all her accented voices are distinctive and memorable. Unfortunately, she is less successful with our American protagonists; she makes Grace sound far older than her mid-thirties, and Joe is too feminine to be leading-man material. Though Tucci's pacing keeps the tension building, her reading is not as effective as it should have been: Joe and Grace are not as appealing as their roles imply. This is still a good listen, but it could have been great.
—Jodi L. Israel
Kirkus Reviews
South-of-the-border mayhem, with refreshing twists amid the genre conventions. Lowell (Always Time to Die, 2005, etc.) has a flair for writing about the dark corners of well-traveled places, in this instance San Diego and its Mexican sister city, Tijuana. Fences, barbed wire and searchlights separate the two, but crime is a nation all its own, and when young Lane Franklin-busted for altering his grades via computer hackery and sent to a parochial boot camp in Mexico-is kidnapped, his tormentors and rescuers alike come in all shades, shapes and sizes. Leading the cavalry is his mother, Grace Silva, a federal judge who's "all woman everywhere a man liked to feel the difference." She's also a tough cookie, but she can't do it alone. With some trepidation, she enlists an Eiger Sanction-ish anti-crime outfit and its top agent, Joe Faroe, who just happens to be a former lover of hers and who went to jail some months before young Lane came into the world. The bad guys are a Mexican narcotraficante fond of crack-laced cigarettes and assorted evil; a well-connected Tijuana politico and wheeler-dealer; and one Theodore Franklin, who is a billionaire many times over, Grace's ex-husband-and Lane's father. Sort of. Now, of course, in the thriller game, all billionaires are villains, all former cops knights errant of virtue, all kids smart and computer-literate and all federal judges-well, some federal judges-keen on finding time on their judicial calendars for pleasures of a sort they have never known. Lowell fulfills all these obligations and then some, but the story she turns in has plenty of nice moments in which good is not wholly good and evil not wholly evil, though the really bad guys are nastypieces of work indeed. In the end, everyone gets what he or she has coming, and justice prevails-sort of. A nicely written whodunit with a satisfying payoff.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060829834
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/24/2007
  • Series: St. Kilda Series , #1
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 496
  • Sales rank: 308,136
  • Product dimensions: 4.18 (w) x 6.75 (h) x 0.99 (d)

Meet the Author

Elizabeth Lowell

Elizabeth Lowell's exciting novels of romantic suspense include the New York Times bestsellers Dangerous Refuge, Beautiful Sacrifice, Death Echo, The Wrong Hostage, Amber Beach, Jade Island, Pearl Cove, and Midnight in Ruby Bayou. She has also written New York Times bestselling historical series set in the American West and medieval Britain. She has more than 80 titles published to date, with more than 24 million copies of her books in print. She lives in the Sierra Nevada Mountains with her husband, with whom she writes novels under a pseudonym. Her favorite activity is exploring the western United States to find the landscapes that speak to her soul and inspire her writing.

Las aclamadas novelas de suspenso de la autora Elizabeth Lowell incluyen varios bestsellers en la New York Times. Lowell ha vendido más de treinta millones de ejemplares. Vive con su esposo en Seattle, Washington y Sedona, Arizona, con quien escribe novelas de misterio bajo un seudónimo.

Maria Tucci began her career in the original production of Tennessee Williams' The Milk Train Doesn't Stop Here Anymore. She won a Tony® nomination for her work in The Rose Tattoo, has starred on Broadway and off-Broadway, and in such films as Sweet Nothing and To Die For.

Biography

Extensive and versatile, Elizabeth Lowell's résumé of titles (in almost every genre) is as long as the list of her various pen names. She's written science fiction, mystery and romance. She's also penned historical fiction and collaborated on a movie novelization. So prolific is Lowell that she and her husband, Evan Maxwell, have had to create a whole raft of pseudonyms for her books.

Her earliest work, from the 1970s, is science fiction and is written under her actual name, Ann Maxwell. The romances she and her husband began writing together in the early '90s are under the same name, because their publisher wanted a female author’s name on the cover. Their Southern California mystery series featuring the divorced lovers Fiddler and Fiora are written under A. E. Maxwell (Ann and Evan), while their joint novelization of the 1992 Val Kilmer movie Thunderheart is under the name Lowell Charters (his middle name and her maiden name.)

Her biggest solo success, the romance novels that have taken her repeatedly to The New York Times bestseller list, are credited to Elizabeth Lowell -- a combination of the couple’s middle names.

Lowell’s romances are noted for their sass and, of course, their sex. But her characterizations, particularly, draw high marks. "Elizabeth Lowell's talent is enormous," wrote The Romance Reader in its review of 1984's Forget Me Not. "She has made a well-deserved name for herself by crafting likable, plucky heroines and enigmatic but intelligent heroes." And, in 1996 the Chicago Tribune wrote, "The protagonist she has chosen for her hardcover debut, Winter Fire could give a Navy SEAL lessons in survival."

Lowell embarked on a popular series in 1997 with the publication of Amber Beach, which introduced readers to the Donovan family, titans in the menacing world of precious gemstones who must dodge murderers, thieves, and power-hungry governments to protect their business. Of the first in the series, Kirkus Reviews wrote, "A romance that offers all the sexual tension, adventure and squishy clichés that fans of the genre could possibly want."

When Lowell was getting started as sci-fi writer Ann Maxwell, she was writing on legal pads while caring for her two young children. Evan was a reporter for the Los Angeles Times, covering international crime. In the early 1980s, after he had already collaborated on three mystery novels with Lowell, Maxwell decided to quit daily journalism and write fiction full-time.

The couple has since become a cottage industry of genre fiction operating out of their Seattle-area home. They collaborate on some projects, go solo on others. Lowell has described a seven-day-a week work packed with deadlines, an organized effort that starts out with book outlines that typically take about a month to draft as well as character sketches. Then the writing begins.

"My fiction deals with problems of strength rather than problems of weakness," she told Contemporary Authors. There is no appeal or purpose for me in reading -- or writing -- fiction that portrays incessant, excruciating, and pointless pain in the lives of characters."

Good To Know

Readers are surprised to find out that the books Lowell writes with her husband are true collaborations. "In fact, a lot of people, once they know, say, 'Oh, I know who did this in the book, and I know who did this,' and they're almost invariably wrong," she told the Los Angeles Times.

Two of the most intriguing time periods for Lowell are medieval England and the post-Civil War period in the American West. "In both cases it was a time of expanded possibilities for individuals, regardless of birth or heritage, to create a better life and, ultimately, a better world, from chaos," she told Contemporary Authors.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Ann Maxwell; A .E. Maxwell; Annalise Sun; Lowell Charters
    1. Date of Birth:
      April 5, 1944
    2. Place of Birth:
      Milwaukee, Wisconsin
    1. Education:
      B. A., University of California, 1966

Read an Excerpt

The Wrong Hostage

A Novel
By Elizabeth Lowell

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2006 Elizabeth Lowell
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0060829818

Chapter One

Southern California
La Jolla
Saturday morning

The phone rang four times before Judge Grace Silva pulled her head out of the legal documents she was reviewing.

Maybe it's Ted.

Finally.

It had been years since she'd cared about her husband -- newly ex-husband -- in any way but as the father of her child. And if there was a persistent personal sadness that she'd failed in marriage, well, she'd just have to live with it. She'd worked hard to make the divorce and all the legalities entailed as civilized and adult as possible.

For Lane.

But she was real tired of getting calls at all times of the day and night asking for Theodore Franklin. Just because he'd kept his legal address as the beach home they'd once shared didn't mean he actually lived with her.

"Hello," Grace said.

"Ah, senora," said a man's voice. "This is Carlos Calderon. I would like to speak to your husband."

Grace didn't bother to point out that Franklin was her ex. If Calderon wasn't close enough to Ted to know about the divorce, she had no reason to announce it.

"Ted isn't here," she said briskly. And he hasn't been here in three weeks, which you damn well should know because you orone of your employees has called every day. "Have you tried his Wilshire office, his cell phone, and his Malibu condo?" Or his bimbo mistress?

"Si, yes, many times."

"Is it something I can help you with?"

Grace expected the same answer she'd gotten for the past three weeks -- a polite thanks but no thanks.

Instead Calderon sighed and said, "Judge Silva, I am afraid you must come to Ensenada immediately."

Her hand tightened on the phone. As a judge, she was accustomed to giving rather than taking orders. "Excuse me?"

"It is your son, Lane."

"What's wrong?" she asked quickly. "Is he in trouble? He's been so good for the -- "

"It is not something to be discussed over the telephone. I will see you in two hours."

"What's wrong?" she demanded.

"Good-bye, Judge Silva."

"Wait," she said. "Give me four hours. I don't know what traffic will be like at the border."

"Three hours."

The phone went dead.

Continues...


Excerpted from The Wrong Hostage by Elizabeth Lowell Copyright © 2006 by Elizabeth Lowell. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 48 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(27)

4 Star

(12)

3 Star

(9)

2 Star

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 49 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 5, 2006

    This is The RIGHT book

    This story is a page turner. No doubt about it. The story is crisp, the dialog is excellent, the suspense is chilling, the romance is great. The characters are so well written that as a reader you start to believe they are actual people. Storyline wise, this could have came right off a Newsweek cover story. Politics, drugs, money. Perfect.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 18, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Elizabeth Lowell's The Wrong Hostage

    This book was awesome, I could harldy put it down!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 3, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Good book but slow starting...

    The first few chapters were hard to get through but then it was easy to follow and finish. Although I've never read Elizabeth Lowell I thought that her writing style for drama and thrillers was great but I don't think she should mix too much romance into her stories.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 4, 2006

    Great Novel

    I am a big fan of Elizabeth Lowell's. Having read all of her recent novels, I thought this was one of the best plots. Although I found the first two chapters difficult to engage, once I got passed that, I couldn't put the book down. Great job!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 22, 2006

    Best of the Best

    This is by far the BEST Elizabeth Lowell novel. You won't be disappointed in the writing, the dialog or the story line. Grace Silva is a California judge whos son is being held in Mexico. With the clock ticking, she contacts St Kilda Consulting to get the help of Joe Faroe. Together they have to unravel her ex-husband secrets and bargain with devils on both sides of the boarder in an attempt to save an innocent child. But will Faroe still help her when he learns Grace has secrets of her own? Elizabeth struck gold with this story line. She hooked you in from page one and tugged at your heart and mind until the last page was turned. Her characters were so real it was scary, and yes there were times I wanted to reach through the book and slap a few people. I couldn't put the book down. I hope to see more St Kilda books.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 28, 2014

    Seriously, this needs to be a movie. Would suggest Matthew Mc. f

    Seriously, this needs to be a movie. Would suggest Matthew Mc. for Joe. I was feeling the stress of the chases and the angst of the mother/son issue. I would have thrown the ex to the dogs VERY early in the story.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 27, 2013

    I LOVE IT

    I enjoy this book very much,the good guys and the bad guys.Can't have one without the other.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2013

    Wow!!!!

    Oh my! I feel so hot and sexy! And everything in the book was so... whoa!! You should read it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 24, 2013

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  • Posted July 28, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    OK Thriller

    OK, but plot seemed to be in discrete sections (separate adventures) thus seeming to jump a lot from situation to situation and lose continuity (and strain credulity). Would have been much more fun if the boy had been in the plot more, with his computer skills (I got the book because I'd read the first chapter, about him!). Not sure I'd read another by her.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 21, 2012

    Elizabeth Lowell's The Wrong Hostage

    Elizabeth Lowell's The Wrong Hostage

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2012

    Loved it

    Cannot wait to read #2. Loved the characters, the story, the suspension. Great read. Couldnt put it down

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 15, 2010

    Highly recommended!

    This was an awesome book! It was very difficult to put the book down...

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 14, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Romantic thriller - drug trade/border issues

    Others have summarized the plot.I found the point of view more compelling than some others of Lowell's books - she tells the story from both the mother's perspective and the son's perspective (the mother being focused on getting her son out of Mexico and the son focused on how he can survive as a hostage and still find out what's going on). Lowell paints a pretty graphic picture of the drug trade and the oppressive poverty and hopelessness that can lie in border towns. As always with thrillers, one needs a fast-paced plot and reasons to keep reading. Lowell supplies these. It's odd that her St. Kilda Consulting series is so uneven. This title, and her very recent title of "Death Echo" are so far the strongest. Recommended for those who enjoy R-rated romantic thrillers.

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  • Posted May 30, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Really a Thrilling book to read

    It kept you in guessing the whole book

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 4, 2006

    It was alright!

    I love her as Elizabeth Lowell or Ann Maxwell. The story itself was good but other than the son the charcters couldn't hold my attention. I could barely finish the book.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 29, 2006

    Best Book of the Year

    The plot was well done through out the book. Enjoyed every page. Just terrific.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 23, 2006

    couldn't get into it

    normally i really enjoy elizabeth lowell -i love the donovan series- but i couldn't get into this book. i thought the idea was interesting but it just wasn't quite as believable as her others, not that they are that much believable but still. the romance also fell flat for me. there was barely any background about the characters so it just seemed forced.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    chilling word portraits and realistic dialogue

    Grace Silva is quite a woman - attractive, intelligent and successful. Little in her background indicated that she would one day be a respected district judge in line for an appointment on the federal appeals court. The press calls her Hispanic, but she considers herself to be 'the perfect all-American mongrel, ' a blend of Irish, and Kazakh. She had been raised by her grandmother in a Santa Ana barrio - she left and never looked back. 'She'd spent her adult life forgetting the gutter, ignoring it, not looking back, climbing high and fast to a place where the air was clean and the nights were safe and women didn't have to be arm candy to be allowed into the halls of power.' But, now she's going to have to crawl back into that gutter in order to save her son's life. Fifteen-year-old Lane is a student at All Saints School, a private high school on the beach a short way from Ensenada. He's a good kid, smart, athletic but he's been sent here as a reprimand for turning his Fs into Bs on the school's computer, and a few other online pranks. When Grace receives a call from Carlos Calderon telling her she has to be in Ensenada in three hours, something about Lane, she doesn't hesitate. In too short a time she realizes that Calderon, one of the most powerful men in all of Mexico, is acting for someone else - Hector Rivas Osuna who heads a vicious crime family in Tijuana. Lane is, in effect, a prisoner at the school and will be killed unless Grace returns the millions of dollars stolen form Osuna by her former husband, Ted. She has two days to accomplish this and Ted is nowhere to be found. Pushed to the breaking point, Grace goes to Joe Faroe, a former lover who may be the boy's biological father. Once a kidnaping specialist for a Manhattan based firm, he knows his way around the underworld. Lowell has crafted a page-turner spiced with danger and romance. Thanks to her husband who covered immigration and crime for the L.A. times, the author has a knowledge of the drug trafficking world as well those who live and die in it. She has painted chilling word portraits and penned realistic dialogue. Those who like their thrillers ringing with authenticity will relish The Wrong Hostage. - Gail Cooke

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 6, 2006

    Can't put down

    This book has two loves stories--that of a man and woman and of a mother and son. St. Kilda Consulting is a great storyline and hope more books will appear with its agents. Maybe with Mary as a heroine? This is one of Lowell's best.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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