Exit Strategy (NYPD Negotiations Book 1)
July 28th, 2020
Exit Strategy by Jen Danna is the first in a new series. It is a refreshing police procedural in that it introduces readers to the world of a police hostage negotiator. At a time when police are looked down upon this story is inspirational, showing readers the good deeds many in the police department do. The author allows readers to get into the head of the police to understand what they are thinking and how they come to a decision.
The story opens with a family gathering, showing how the main character, Gemma Capello, feels that family means everything. Her four brothers and father are a tight-knit Italian group. Three of her brothers, her father, and Gemma all work for the NYPD, and the fourth brother works for FDNY. Gemma became a hostage negotiator after watching her mother die. At the age of ten she saw her mother sacrifice her life as the gunman shot her point-blank in a hostage situation.
It reminded people of the TV show, “Blue Bloods.” Danna stated, “I have not seen a single episode of “Blue Bloods.” Gemma’s background is based on my Italian background. Our ancestors came from the same small town in Sicily. We also have in common that each of us lost a parent at the age of ten. While my dad died of a heart attack, her mom died in a hostage situation. I have two brothers and a sister, while she has four brothers. My brothers are definitely present in the personality of her brothers.”
Now she is called to help negotiate a hostage situation. It becomes quickly apparent that her boss is unable to connect with the hostage taker. Gemma then takes over talking to the gunman, establishing a link of trust between them. She must juggle a number of variables that include the hostage taker’s volatile attitude and the NYPD tactical team who wants to go in with a show of force. To make matters worse, the hostages were taken in City Hall. She must risk it all in a last-ditch effort to save the hostages that includes putting her life on the line.
“I wanted to show the thinking of a hostage negotiator. Their goal is to keep everyone alive and to solve a situation without bloodshed. The idea is to resolve it peacefully. For a better understanding I put in this book quote, “It was always a fine line to walk; a large show of force could make a suspect insecure and desperate, while a small show of force could leave the suspect overconfident and unwilling to work with the negotiators.” This is a real strategy and technique.”
An added bonus is the author’s descriptive scenes of an inoperative City Hall Subway Station, with its decorative glass skylights and its colorful tiling, the foods and landmarks of Little Italy, and the Basilica of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral, with its Gothic architecture and catacombs.
The attention to detail, the psychological thought process of the police and antagonist, and the tidbits about an Italian family make for an interesting read. But the story is also riveting with its suspenseful, fast-action pace