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HOSTAGE by Edward Myers

HOSTAGE

By Edward Myers

Age Range: 11 - 13

Pub Date: April 15th, 1996
ISBN: 0-7868-0115-8
Publisher: Hyperion

 In this rough-hewn survival adventure a menacing but incompetent fossil thief takes two teenagers on an aimless trek through the Utah desert. Pining for New York but unwilling to go home for family reasons, Alyssa joins a group touring Dinosaur National Monument. While helping a man get his jeep out of the sand, she sees and pockets a fossil egg he has just stolen from the Visitors' Center. When he discovers his prize missing, Skunk (as he is nicknamed by Alyssa, for the stripe in his hair) takes Alyssa and another hiker, Rob, hostage. Where to? Skunk doesn't say. What's his plan? He doesn't seem to have one--and several contrivances rob the story of suspense: Along come hikers, just when the three need water, rock climbers just when they need rope, rafters just when they reach a river. An oarless whitewater trip later, the law arrives; Skunk shatters the egg, but Alyssa, as readers know, has created an exact duplicate from sandstone and made the switch. Rob and Alyssa spend more emotional energy thinking about their fathers than about survival, while the motives and character of the otherwise nameless Skunk remain mysteries--he is dispatched with an airy ``if he behaves himself, maybe he'll get paroled in 25 or 30 years.'' Low budget TV movies are less shrink-wrapped. (Fiction. 11-13)