Impossible Odds: The Kidnapping of Jessica Buchanan and Her Dramatic Rescue by SEAL Team Six

Jessica Buchanan and Erik Landemalm with Anthony Flacco. Atria, $26 (320p) ISBN 978-1-4767-2516-1
Buchanan and husband Landemalm provide perspective and detail of theher real-life and recent kidnapping. In the fall of 2011, 32-year-old Jessica Buchanan, an American working for an NGO in Somalia, was preparing to travel to a training session near the Somalia border in an area controlled by Islamists. All went smoothly until October 25, when Jessica and her Dutch colleague began their trip home and were kidnapped by extremists. And so began an ordeal that dragged on for 3 months and left Buchanan near death. The story is retold through an awkward mix of Jessica's first person accounts, third person narratives that include her husband's story and flashbacks. The use of third person narrative to describe Erik and Jessica's joyful reunion is a prime example of how the book's craft dulls down its subject matter. The story is dramatic on its own but its retelling suffers from overwritten prose yet rarely imparts the depths of despair that Jessica felt. As a result, the eventual rescue – following months of negotiations, espionage, and planning by the FBI and a SEAL team—is oddly anticlimactic. While Buchanan's experience was most certainly a horrifying and life-changing event, it's nearly impossible to get that story from this book. (May)
Reviewed on: 07/22/2013
Release date: 05/01/2013
Paperback - 310 pages - 978-1-4767-2518-5
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-4423-6561-2
Open Ebook - 320 pages - 978-1-4767-2519-2
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