by Danielle Steele

February 2005
ISBN: 0-440-24076-X
Reviewer Graphic Button Dell Publishing
Mass Market Paperback

Danielle Steel's latest paperback release Ransom is sure to make it to the top of the bestselling books list. Iím sure her devoted fans are eager to get their hands on this new release.

In Ransom Steel introduces us to an unsavory cast of characters, and then moves on to introducing us to the cream of society. Itís done in a way that only Steel can. Soon the two factions of society are going to meet, and the results are going to surpass what anyone is expecting.

Peter Morgan had almost everything going for him. He overcame a rough childhood one in which his father died, and his mother remarried. After her death and his stepfatherís subsequent remarriage he was pretty much cast aside. He worked his way through school, and married well. However, soon the darker side of life was too much temptation for him, and he became engrossed in the drug trade. Now after serving four years for his drug conviction heís trying to rebuild his life.

To this end heís trying to follow the straight and narrow. When he canít get a job he finally calls Phillip Addison. The job heís offered is not the job he was hoping for, but he knows he canít refuse because of circumstances beyond his control.

Fernanda Barnes was sitting at the top of society until the recent death of her husband Allan. Due to circumstances beyond Fernandaís complete understanding Allan was in a great deal of trouble. His death is questionable, and now her life is turned upside down. Instead of the life of leisure she was living, sheís now trying to juggle debts, and worrying about how sheís going to feed her children their next meal.

One thing important to Fernanda is to protect her husbandís reputation even after his death, and the mess he left her. Itís this almost obsessive need to protect Allan that puts Fernanda and her family into the direct path of Peter Morgan, Phillip Addison, and their other unsavory business associates.

The final major player in Ransom is police detective Ted Lee. A car bombing on Fernandaís street brings him into her life, and those of her family. Itís intuition when working with a FBI agent, Rick Holmquist on an unrelated case involving Addison that the two realize thereís a danger to the Barnes family.

Steel spends the first third of Ransom developing the characters and their histories. The rest of the book then becomes the meat of the story. As usual the climax finds the unsavory character seeking some sort of redemption. In the case of Peter Barnes it was easy to see that he wanted salvation, and truly did regret the path his life had taken. For Fernanda and Ted Lee it was a little harder to see them finding their way to a happy ever after, but the groundwork was definitely there.

Iím confident that Steel fans will find Ransom to be in her classic style. As for me, I enjoyed picking up a Danielle Steel book, as I hadnít read one in several years. It did remind me of why I had first started reading her, and has jump kicked my interest to go digging in my pile to see what other hidden classics I might have by Danielle Steel.

Reviewed in February 2005 by Sandi.

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