“We Are Holding the President Hostage” by Warren Adler: a novel that grows with the times
Some novels gain weight as they grow older. That could be the case with “We Are Holding the President Hostage” by Warren Adler. The world has grown increasingly violent – or should I say more creative in its violence? Although statistics have shown that less and less people die as a result of military conflict as years go by, the number of armed conflicts is not falling. The public image of violence has changed since that polarizing decade, the 1970s, generated endless streams of terrorist acts on all continent, acted out by the Rote Armee Fraction, the Baader-Meinhof, the IRA, the ETA, the Red Kmer and so forth. At that time it seemed an outing of frustration by some citizens with the way Western governments were ruling and they resorted to hijacking and bombing. It was gruesome, but it also seemed the end of the line. It couldn’t possibly get any worse. That was a mistake — and the ante has been upped considerably since then. And that’s precisely why Warren Adler’s “We Are Holding the President Hostage” holds out so well. The whole idea of a mafia boss putting pressure on the president to help him out in a Middle-East hostage situation would fit today’s CNN ticker tape saturated media world perfectly. We’ve seen a president’s (non-)sex life lead to a constitutional crisis in the mean time, so we are used to something. The second thing that matters, then, is whether Warren Adler pulls it off. For me, the answer is yes. I will admit I was not 100% drawn to the topic when I chose this novel; but I enjoyed it from the very first page. The characters are diverse, from the presidential clique to the extended mafia family and finallly the goings on and off in the Middle-East. I thought it was amusing and adventurous at the same time. I was hooked till the end, because it is very much a story that builds up to that pivotal question: will he/she succeed? See what you think.