Review Written By
Karen Chisholm

A DECENT RANSOM is a story of a kidnapping gone right (according to the tag on the book).  More than that it's a story about a bit of a misfit that somehow ends up okay, despite all the odds being stacked against him.

The storyline is pretty simple to start off with - two young (as is revealed) half-brothers, each a misfit in his own right, coming from a totally dysfunctional background, live in the dire circumstances that their mother deserted them in.  The elder comes up with a classic get-rich quick scheme, the younger brother Phoebus is the one who deals with the majority of the consequences.  Their intended victim, Kathy, is the beautiful, yet mentally fragile, young wife of a seemingly wealthy man.  Her husband, Rupert, is a womaniser and when he opts to refuse to pay the ransom asked, the brothers are presented with the dilemma of what to do with their captive.  What A DECENT RANSOM has done with this scenario however takes the reader on a substantially more complicated journey.  

Told in multiple character points of view, the author somehow has designed a story that elegantly presents each characters viewpoints without the need to label or overtly lead the reader.  There are subtle pointers to the voices of the various characters that the reader will pick up as they go along, as the viewpoint is silently switched, and you launch into a new chapter without necessarily knowing who you're listening to up-front.  That ability to be inside the heads, to see what they see, to hear what they are thinking - rather than see "the character" first, creates a very intimate portrayal of a bunch of people in extraordinary circumstances.  There's a lightness of touch, a sense of humour, a subtle drawing out of the absurdity of the mess that these people have gotten themselves into.  There's also some fitting light and shade, particularly in the relationship between the two brothers, and the group of prostitutes, particularly a young Chinese woman, who seem to be their best friends.  These are people who care about each other, and care about what they have done.  

Obviously the reader is going to assume that the scenario for this kidnapping is prey turned predator, that Rupert's refusal to pay the ransom will mean that Kathy sides with the brothers to "get him".  Nothing is ever that simple.  A DECENT RANSOM requires some concentration and an ability to roll with the author. You're not going to get the story handed to you on a plate, but you are going to get something that is original, clever, and and just flat out entertaining.

Year of Publication

When a woman is kidnapped and her husband refuses to pay the ransom, she plans her revenge with the help of her kidnappers. She frames her husband for her "murder" in this clever tale of redemption. A contemporary, fast-paced thriller, A Decent Ransom blends pathos with trickery and intrigue, drawing the reader into the private world of a vulnerable fifteen-year-old boy who believes himself to be the keeper and protector of a kidnapped woman. 

Review A DECENT RANSOM - Ivana Hruba
Karen Chisholm
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Blog Currently Reading - A Decent Ransom, Ivana Hruba
Karen Chisholm
Thursday, May 14, 2009

Add new comment

This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.