Stona Fitch, Author . Soho $22 (160p) ISBN 978-1-56947-268-2

Small like a stick of dynamite, Fitch's second novel delves into the horrific experience of a hostage forced to endure torture that ultimately deprives him of his five senses. Eliott Gast, an American trade representative, is kidnapped in Brussels by a group of terrorists who oppose the European economic union. At first, Gast finds his captivity comfortable. He's housed in a clean, three-room apartment, is fed regularly and receives plenty of books to occupy his time. That all comes to an abrupt end on day seven, when the terrorists storm in and mutilate Gast's tongue. As he recuperates, Gast notices a network of black cables that frequently drop from the ceiling and seem to track his every move. The terrorist leader, nicknamed Blackbeard because he always wears a pirate's mask, tells Gast the cables are cameras used to broadcast his ordeal around the world on the Internet. Millions of people are watching. Blackbeard tells Gast that when enough of them donate money to the cause, he'll be released. Over the next several weeks, as described in highly disturbing detail, Gast is made to lose his hearing, his touch, his smell and part of his vision. Fitch's otherwise grim, one-sitting novel, his first in nine years (after Strategies for Success), has many moments of poignant reflection as Gast ponders his past and future. He also wonders about the gruesome use the Internet is being put to—an issue that Fitch resolves with brevity and ingenuity. (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 08/27/2001
Release date: 10/01/2001
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 150 pages - 978-1-56947-306-1
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