We read so much about kidnapping and then associated negotiations to get the hostages rescued but rarely we get to know what exactly happens during negotiations. Frederick Forsyth has brought that aspect of negotiations in this book “The Negotiator” with all the details in his usual style. On the face of it the book is a usual thriller that involves peace treaty between US and Russia and the evil enemies trying to destroy the treaty for their financial gains and secret services working overtime to find the truth.
What I found interesting in the book was the role of the negotiator. In the story, American President’s son is kidnapped and Quinn is called in for negotiations with kidnappers. Quinn is described as the World’s most skilled negotiator. There is the usual dilemma where negotiator wants a free hand but secret service agents are unwilling to do so and end up creating more problems for the hostage in trying to help. The details about how Quinn tries to play on the psychology of the kidnappers by trying to win their trust and playing against his own Government are really great.
I liked the way he wins the trust of the kidnappers while fooling the secret service who was trying to follow him or tap his phones to reach the kidnappers. In another incident, he records his own sounds of sleeping and uses them to dodge spies who were keeping watch on him. The idea that kidnappers and kin of hostage are both scared and will be ready to use force but negotiator has to play a role to keep the situation from going out of hand is portrayed very well in the book. The story does take an ugly turn and then it is regular chase of criminals and finding out the truth in the end but the crux of the book for me were the parts where negotiations take place.