Fiction - Thriller - Terrorist
270 Pages
Reviewed on 10/17/2012
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Timothy Allen Smith was raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where he started writing poetry in 1991 before moving on to stage plays 4 years later. He currently resides in Pasadena, California.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Brenda Casto for Readers' Favorite

If I had to describe this book in one word it would be captivating! Once I started reading I couldn't put it down!

On 9-11-2013, a brazen terrorist attack took place at the Annenberg theater in Center City, PA. Though 290 people were taken hostage this story focuses on nine of the hostages who were separated from the other hostages and locked into a basement room where they were held for over eighteen hours until they were rescued by police. As we get to know each of the nine hostages, we feel their fear and frustration, but we also see faith and sacrifice. We learn each character's story, and ultimately see most of them grow and change as the story progresses. Some of the hostages survive but some don't, but one thing is for sure: each person who was held in that room will changed forever!

What a gripping read! "Captive" is such a realistically written story. From the voices of the hostages to the situation that they found themselves in, I couldn't help but think that this could actually happen! This fact alone kept me on the edge of my seat to see what would ultimately happen! Mr. Smith created characters that literally jump off the pages. It was easy to feel not only their fear, but the tension in the room was palpable at times, but the hope that flowed from several of the characters was just as strong! It takes a true wordsmith to create a story where you feel as if you are part of the story, but also outside of it as well. The character of Marla Cruz added another layer to the story, and gave it even more authenticity. The author begins his wrap up in a way that totally floored me and then provided a cliff hanger ending that left this reader hoping that there might be a sequel! Anyone who enjoys a well-written story, that touches on some tough subject such as religion, racism, sexual bias, terrorism, and relationship issues just to name a few, will certainly enjoy this story. Perhaps though you are just looking for an edge of your seat read with memorable characters, "Captive" certainly fits the bill. On a scale of one to five I would easily give "Captive" a six because it is a mind-grabbing, attention-holding read from beginning to end!

Alice DiNizo

Mark O'Connor and his wife Amber attend a 9/11 eleventh anniversary concert and to their horror, they are kidnapped along with seven other people and are forced into an underground room at the stadium where the concert is being held. The captives being held in that cold, dark space include Mark and his wife, 32 year old middle school teacher Lisa Woodward, her black boyfriend Walter, a bright, humorous and outspoken black teen named Dex and his older sister Teisha, Cuban refugee Eleodora and her daughter, and Robert, a retired member of the Marines Special Forces. As these nine people wait to see which of them will be dragged from the room and executed, they argue over a wide range of issues including racism and homosexuality. Which of these nine captives will survive this horrific kidnapping and what will become of them?

"Captive" is a well-written, controversial and interesting novel on the subject of true freedom. The characters are intriguing and authentic and produce an entertaining read. Author Timothy Allen Smith has created a well developed plot that moves the character interaction forward at a good pace, making for an engrossing read.

Stephanie Dagg

"Captive" by Timothy Allen Smith is a stark and brutal piece of fiction. The day after burying his mother, Mark O’Connor has another stressful experience; Terrorists storm into the theater where he and his wife are watching a play take them and 7 others hostage. The nine hostages are locked in a room together where they await their probably death. They argue among themselves about their religious, political and personal beliefs, which run the gamut from extreme left to right. The situation and conversations bring out the best and worst in the group. Racism and homosexuality are also hot topics to what has to be an exaggerated degree. Possibly my European background made it hard to accept this amount of intolerance some of the characters. However, the author says the book is about “raw honesty” which apparently is what the characters present us with.

We never know who the terrorists are or what their demands were. This book is adapted from a play, so possibly when presented visually, the action, which is gripping and suspenseful in the extreme, sweeps the audience along, leaving no time to ponder these things. However, book readers can reflect as they go along and want answers. It is certainly a very strong book which you’ll either love or hate. It is a challenging read but well-constructed, genuine and most definitely thought-provoking.

Lee Ashford

“Captive” by Timothy Allen Smith is a gritty, raw presentation of contemporary political convictions passionately expressed by a room full of hostages. The diverse perceptions voiced by the hostages are real, legitimate beliefs influenced by the life experiences of the various individuals. From ultra-right neo-Nazism to ultra-left liberal empathy for the plight of the “terrorists”, no political point of view is left undebated in this larger than life story within a story. At a public theatrical production of a student play, a handful of armed and masked men usher nine people, who happened to be in the lobby at the moment, down into a musty basement room, while other armed and masked men terrorize the theater audience. Although the terrorists are presumed by most of the nine hostages to be Muslim extremists, we never really know their identity, nor do we learn their demands. We only know that they remove five of the nine, one at a time, over an indeterminate period of time, and eventually kill them.

This story presents differing political points of view in a way that forced me to think. Like almost everyone else in America, I have my own personal political beliefs. However, this story presents other perspectives which I had, perhaps, not previously considered. It presents them in such a manner as to almost compel you to consider the merits of those assessments. At the very least, it will make you realize there IS merit to opposing points of view, regardless of how painful it may be to recognize that fact. And it WAS painful to realize that maybe I don’t have all the answers after all. At the very least, I encourage everyone to read and consider this worthy book, and then vote for your convictions. The epilogue, more than anything else, should scare you right into the voting booth.

Ellen Hogan

Mark O'Connor has just buried his mother. The next night he and his wife Amber have tickets to the theater. Amber doesn't know that Mark intends to confront the father who deserted him and his mother. Lisa Woodward and her boyfriend Walter also have tickets to the theater that night. Lisa would love for their relationship to culminate in marriage but Walter is not ready to commit. In the lobby Walter and Lisa and Mark and Amber have a confrontation. Before anything can be settled they are all taken captive and put in a basement room with five other people. For Mark and Amber everything is black and white with no wiggle room. Everyone else in the room sees things with shades of gray. This causes some hostility as they each tries to deal with what is happening to them and tries to survive.

This book was a real page turner. Not only do you have the whole hostage story but along with it is a theme of prejudice and hostility by some of the captives. It shows how some people in our society today are rigid and unbending. It also shows that others have a spirit of compassion and acceptance. Though a lot of the focus of the book is on the four people already mentioned, there are five others in that room each with a story of their own: Eleodora put her daughter Lena before herself and trusted in her faith; Robert who abandoned his wife and son because of his gay lifestyle and who now meets his adult son in Mark; When they lost their parents eighteen year old Toshia became her brother Dexter’s guardian. This is a thought-provoking book that makes you wonder how you would react in the same situation. This book is very appropriate for this day and time. Mr. Smith tells a grand story that makes you want more and will have you sitting on the edge of your seat waiting for the next book.