The Siege: When Duty Calls
by Harvey Cleggett
Brolga Publishing Pty Ltd

"'. . . if there’s even the slightest hesitation in paying the ransom, that's when things are going to get really, really ugly.’"

Detective Inspector Michael Ballard, a newlywed, must interrupt his extended European honeymoon to rescue a group of politicians held hostage back home in Victoria, Australia. Their captor is a Spetsnaz soldier determined to rise in the ranks of the Board. This brutal Russian terrorist organization extorts billions from helpless victims to finance their crimes. This time, Sergey, the soldier, demands first a billion dollars and then doubles the amount, promising that he will also double the number of hostages killed for every hour payment is delayed. He has already shown his murderous capabilities, so no one doubts he will do as he says. The situation acquires a personal sense of urgency when Ballard learns that Sonia, his partner John’s pregnant fiancée, is one of the hostages. Will rescuing her and the others cost Ballard his own life?

This is the fourth installment in the author's thriller series. The book ends on a cliffhanger, with the assurance that readers will get more of Ballard and John in the next volume. Cleggett has endowed Ballard with an interest in facts and figures that makes him believable as a police officer, yet avoids becoming tedious. This allows for the presentation of facts about Australia and several European countries that foreign readers might find fascinating. The author also intersperses tense, high-energy action sequences with tender domestic scenes to appeal to a wider audience. He also often incorporates ironic and bitter police humor and pokes lighthearted fun at tourist stereotypes encountered on the honeymoon. Throughout the book runs the theme of the deep, almost familial bonds between police officers.

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