Following a botched attempt to defuse an escalating hostage crisis, three men, each with his own hidden agenda, are held captive in a room together in Friesen’s debut novel.
American attorney Dave Bigelow is in Mexico City to perform a routine bank audit when he swears he sees his New Yorker brother, Bob, stepping out of a bank. Dave chalks it up to a case of mistaken identity and goes on with his day. However, it was Bob, who’s in the city to deliver a briefcase of ransom money in exchange for Demir Ozmen, a fellow Ottoman Trading Company employee who’s being held captive by a Mexican drug cartel. Meanwhile, a rival cartel raids a church in the midst of a wedding and starts killing attendees one by one, saying that they’ll continue to do so until the other cartel releases Ozmen. When Dave sees Bob again in a crowded restaurant, he knows that he is, in fact, his sibling. Dave pursues him when he leaves the restaurant, and men abduct them both and throw them into a room with Ozmen. As the hours tick by, the captives attempt to determine why each of them is being held prisoner and try to figure out a means of escape. The author soon brings other characters into the mix—politicians, businessmen, professors, drug runners—and, as true allegiances are revealed, the mystery becomes more complex. Later, characters travel the globe, from Mexico to Turkey to Greece to Canada. Overall, Friesen delivers an often thrilling tale, and he makes sure that no one gets away clean as the story hurtles toward an inevitable, tragic conclusion. That said, the main characters seem to always be in exactly the right place at exactly the right time. The narrative tries to justify such fortuitous encounters by attributing them to fate. However, Friesen never earnestly explores this notion, so readers may find these occurrences to be a little too convenient to be believable.
A gripping but overly contrived story of corruption and deception.