Book review: The worst thing by Aaron Elkins

    Aaron Elkins does it again!  His Gideon Oliver books have long been favorites of mine, anticipated and collected.  The worst thing, his newest, has some of the same characteristics that make the others great, but it is completely independent and takes place in a new setting with a new character's job informing its pages.  The main character, Bryan Bennett, designs hostage negotiation programs for a world-class security risk company based in Seattle. However, Bryan never actually teaches the programs or negotiates with the kidnappers.  Not anymore.  Nor does he fly.  Ever. He has issues, otherwise known as panic attacks. He has finally agreed to see a psychologist, at his wife's urging.
    So when his boss pushes him to take on a corporate seminar in Iceland, Bryan says absolutely not.  But, his boss replies, you were specifically requested. Then his wife, a travel lover, reassures him it really doesn't matter. Sigh, she says. Ok, ok, he thinks, and agrees to go. Pop the Xanax and I'll be fine, he thinks.  
    Needless to say, nothing goes as planned.  First, the corporate seminar is torn apart by the kidnapping of the CEO.  But, then, wait for it, guess who else is taken when the amateurs bungle it?  Nope, not Bryan.  No, his wife, Lori!  And suddenly Bryan realizes that "the worst thing" is not being held captive himself.  Knowing what Lori is experiencing derails Bryan's brain and emotions until he is given the opportunity to switch places with her.
    Little does Bryan know that the kidnapper has a specific reason for the exchange.  The professional knows Bryan from years ago, and he is delighted that Bryan will be under his control--to do with as he wills.  This book has unforeseen twists, yet it makes perfect sense.  Few thrillers or mysteries manage to bring such believability into play. ~Tessa

4.5 stars out of 5


Tessa's picture

Ignore the cover--it could

Ignore the cover--it could have been better!