cover image Hostage Taker

Hostage Taker

Stefanie Pintoff. Bantam, $26 (448p) ISBN 978-0-345-53140-7

With this entertaining but superficial series opener, Edgar-winner Pintoff (Secret of the White Rose and two other historicals featuring Det. Simon Ziele) shifts to present-day Manhattan. On the day of the Rockefeller Center tree lighting, a man barricades himself and an unknown number of hostages inside St. Patrick’s Cathedral and requests as negotiator FBI agent Eve Rossi, who’s on bereavement leave following her stepfather’s death. Over the next hours, Eve and her Vidocq team—a group of criminals who chose law enforcement rather than prison—confront a hostage taker who has shown his willingness to kill and wired the historic cathedral with explosives. Their efforts are undermined by Eve’s ambitious, politically motivated boss and a church hierarchy that values the building over people’s lives. Pintoff tosses out crumbs of mystery related to Eve’s stepfather that may be developed in further installments, but references are too cryptic to engage most readers. Still, those seeking a light late-summer read will be satisfied. [em]Agent: David Hale Smith, DHS Literary. (Aug.) [/em]