Shot Caller (NYPD Negotiators Book 2)
Jen J. Danna
August 31st, 2021
Shot Caller by Jen J. Danna is the second in the NYPD hostage negotiator series. With each story, readers see how Gemma Capello, the lead protagonist, has a goal of preventing more damage and loss of life after hostages are taken. The tension rises with each page turned as readers see how lives hang in the balance of a negotiator being able to reason with the unreasonable.
Danna noted, “Her priority was to save the hostages, even some inmates who were technically hostages and in jeopardy. She wanted to avoid loss of life by keeping everyone calm. No matter how much she disliked the hostage takers she had to show them respect. She has patience, is logical, adaptive, a quick thinker, and crafty. She was first a detective for twelve years, so she learned to gather life experiences, people, and emotions, about New Yorkers.”
In the Riker’s Island jail complex after an inmate uprising with captured prison correction officers, Gemma Capello is called in to negotiate the hostage crisis. In Riker’s Enhanced Supervision Housing unit, the most dangerous offenders and gang members are housed. As the lead negotiator, Gemma tries to get and maintain communication with the gang members, especially the person who is mostly in charge, the Shot Caller. The problem is that rival gangs, the Filero Kings, and the Gutta Boys, both have hostages. A prisoner who has anointed himself the leader, Eduardo Rivas of the Filero Kings, is the one negotiating with Gemma. Known by his gang’s name, the Kill Switch, he becomes the Shot Caller. Gemma must try to end this situation before the Apprehension Tactical Team, the A Team is called in. They are always ready to go in with force and end the situation. Even though they are highly skilled and competent at their job, there is a chance of loss of life.
“I went to NY City in 2019. I tried to get into Rikers but was very politely turned down. I read books from inmates and correction officers. Large media companies did some interviews there, so I watched them as well. The unit I describe is exactly as it is in Rikers. Remember these inmates are not shoplifters but are the nasty ones. Prison gang members will watch each other’s backs. I made up the two gangs in this book and showed the reality of how Riker’s does have overlapping gangs. Rivas, the Shot Caller, grew up on the streets and is tough as nails. He likes being a leader and in control. He only thinks in the moment and holds grudges. He believes in the gang system of force. Overall, he has rage, anger, arrogant, and is a manipulator.”
Readers find more out about Gemma, Logan, and her family. She is a seasoned NYPD police officer, from a family of policemen and one fireman brother who is skillful, driven, competent, and tends to take things personally. Logan, a member of the A Team, went through the police academy with Gemma where they ended up having a short relationship. He is strong, determined, focused, lethal, bright, and wonders if he and Gemma can renew their past relationship.
This story has a very convincing portrayal of hostage negotiators and Rikers. It is a fast-paced police procedural written in a true to life manner with lots of gritty details. What makes it very interesting is how different points of view are expressed: police officers, those injured in the conflict, as well as the gang members.