The Kidnapping of Aaron Greene by Terry Kay

The Kidnapping of Aaron Greene by Terry Kay
Publisher: Untreed Reads Publishing
Genre: Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (288 pages)
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Cyclamen

Aaron Greene is a shy, stay-in-the-background young Jewish boy, the child of shy, stay-in-the-background parents. Only a year out of high school, he has a part-time job as a mailboy in a large Atlanta bank. One morning, on his way to work, he is kidnapped and the kidnappers demand a ransom of ten million dollars – not from his parents, but from the bank that employs him.

The bank rejects the demand.

And what begins as a curious crime – the abduction of an unknown, a nobody – soon ignites a national crusade for Aaron’s safe return, because everyone, in one way or another, understands what it is like to be a nobody.

For the kidnappers, the money has no meaning. The mastermind, Ewell Pender, is a wealthy eccentric, an elderly board member of the bank, yet also the man who organizes the campaign to raise Aaron’s ransom. His criminal associates are young nonconformists, dreamers and daredevils. Keeping Aaron in the luxury of the Pender mansion is, to them, a clever and teasing adventure. For Aaron, it is not life-threatening; it is life-changing.

Caught in the mystery is a journalist who unwittingly is used as a pawn by the kidnappers to tell Aaron’s story, and also a detective who bends rules and follows his instinct as much as his training. For both, the kidnapping reveals a profound understanding of their own lives in the complex workings of the world around them.

Richly written, driven by baffling twists in plot, and featuring powerful portrayals of memorable characters, The Kidnapping of Aaron Greene goes beyond the elements of a classic crime. It is an experiment in human manipulation and behavior, and a riveting study of the passions and apathy historically exhibited by society.

If you were going to kidnap someone, would you kidnap a nobody, someone with no money, no resources? That’s what happens in The Kidnapping of Aaron Greene.  The reasons behind this unique kidnapping reveal a complex look at society and what drives it.

Terry Kay has written a page turning mystery with incredible twists and turns. We see the story unfold from multiple perspectives with a group of really engaging characters. A newsman’s voice is used on the kidnapper’s demand tapes, but Cody never said what is on the tapes. His phone was tapped and the tapes are spliced, but why was his voice chosen? Cody and his friend Detective Menotii work hard to unravel the mystery, but just as they appear to figure out something, the story takes another turn. There are wives and ex-wives. There are new loves and old. There is a pushy radio talk show host and a troubled bank. Nothing is at it seems on the surface. Aaron himself is kept “imprisoned,” but in the lap of luxury with access to a hot tub and sauna, a garden, great food, and videos, everything except freedom.

Kay has woven a masterfully imaginative plot that really rings true. His characters are very well-defined and for the most part likeable, so the reader really cares what happens to them. The mastermind behind the original kidnapping is a wealthy eccentric elderly man named Ewell Pender, and he demonstrates the ability to manipulate people to do what he feels is right. He also organizes a campaign to raise the ransom money, as this kidnapping is not about money. The truth behind the kidnapping is something that Kay’s readers must decide for themselves. I certainly had questions at the end that I wish had been answered more clearly, but the characters did end up in better places than those they occupied at the beginning of the novel. Furthermore, the main characters discovered life-changing understandings about themselves and their worlds.

I recommend this novel to any lovers of mysteries with unusual angles and plot twists. I look forward to reading more of Kay’s novels.

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