Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Worst Thing-Aaron Elkins

The Worst Thing
Aaron Elkins
Berkley, May 3 2011, $25.95
ISBN 9780425240991

Bryan Bennett has come a long way from when he was abducted and held prisoner for fifty nine days in Istanbul as a five year old child. He accepts the notion that he became a hostage negotiator because of his childhood horror. However, Bryan also prefers to stay in the background as a designer of programs.

In Seattle, Odysseus Institute for Crisis Management and Executive Security Wally North asks his employee Bryan to present a "corporate-level kidnapping and extortion seminar" in Reykjavik as the CEO of GlobalSeas Baldursson demanded only Bennett to come. To blackmail Bryan into agreeing Wally suggests he take his marine ecologist wife Lori with him. Bryan avoids confined places, but reluctantly he decides to go because he loves his wife of almost ten years though he expects the plane will be a nightmare even with drugs. Bryan learns that Baldursson was also an abduction victim, but that does little to relives him of his confined places panic attacks. When the couple arrives in Iceland, Bryan quickly finds himself plunged in a nightmarish situation that leaves his mind on the brink of emotional collapse and his life in peril.

The key to this exciting stand alone thriller without the Skeleton Detective is Bryan’s panic attacks that seem so real readers unaccustomed to them will understand how debilitating they are and those who know first hand will believe Aaron Elkins is one of us. The story line is fast-paced throughout without taking a respite as Bryan knows fist hand the Pogo classic line “We have met the enemy and he is us.” The coda is a final twisting stunner that brings to light what a memory is as fans will enjoy spending March in Iceland.

Harriet Klausner

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