Paying the Piper
by Simon Wood
He was known as the Piper – a coldhearted kidnapper who terrified the city. Crime reporter Scott Fleetwood built his career on the Piper. The kidnapper even taunted the FBI through Scott’s column. But Scott had been duped. The person he’d been speaking to wasn’t really the Piper. By the time the FBI exposed the hoaxer, time ran out … and the real Piper killed the child. Then he vanished. But now he’s back, with very specific targets in mind – Scott’s children.
Review: Suspenseful and intense!
Eight years ago, a kidnapper dubbed the “Piper” began kidnapping children. Once the ransoms were paid, the children were returned, unharmed. During the last kidnapping, the Piper contacted Scott Fleetwood, a reporter with the San Fransisco Independent. Only, the man Scott was talking to wasn’t the real Piper. To teach the public, Scott, and the FBI a lesson, the real Piper murdered Nicholas Rooker and left the body in a park. Not a day goes by that Scott doesn’t think about Nicholas Rooker. And now the unthinkable has happened… Scott’s own son, Sammy, has been kidnapped right in front of the school. It’s the Piper – and it’s payback time.
A ransom is demanded, and Scott and his wife Jane, don’t have the funds. But Charles Rooker, Nicholas’s father, pops up at the most unexpected time and saves the day, putting up the ransom; he swears he harbors no ill will toward Scott and his family; he wants the Piper caught, once and for all.
And now the Piper has Scott running in circles and through hoops – for Scott has a lot to answer for. Scott has to do what the Piper wants him to do or the Piper will hurt Sammy. And if things couldn’t get any worse, in the middle of the night, their other son, Peter, is taken right from his own bed, with Jane unable to stop it. And a new ransom is demanded; Charles Rooker swoops in once again. He doesn’t care about the money – he wants the Piper caught. And now the Piper has made a new demand: Scott is given a deadline – he has to find the Piper.
But FBI Agent Tom Sheils is on the case. He still holds contempt towards Scott, but regardless, he’s determined to take down the Piper and bring the boys home. But he knows that Scott is keeping secrets, and he’s determined to get to the bottom of it. The question is: will Scott and Sheils figure it out – before it’s too late?
**Incredible suspense, the tension is palpable. There’s no putting this book down. Just when you think you’re starting to get a handle on what’s going on, who’s involved, a twist occurs that blows your theory out of the water, time and time again.
The characters are complex and full of emotion, especially guilt. The main character, Scott, feels it daily; not one day has gone by in eight years that he doesn’t think of what happened to Nicholas Rooker. All the main men characters feel some form of guilt, and because the FBI had been made fools of, Sheils still harbors anger toward Scott, making for some very, very tense scenes.
On the back cover of the book, there’s a quote from Book Browser: “Simon Wood knows how to create tension, he knows how to build three-dimensional characters, and he has proven he can tie everything together in a high-octane climax.” I couldn’t agree more. An excellent novel and highly recommended!