An Exchange of Hostages

Reviewer: Katherine Ray

Author: Susan R. Matthews

Published: 1997

Reviewed: 2007-10-17

Publisher: Avon Books

This one is about this guy who goes to school to learn to torture
people to death in the name of justice. They call it "Inquiring."
What kind of person does that? Well, first, he is a very good doctor
and really good at reading people. Second, he has familial duties
that go deeper than the ethics of "do no harm." Third, he ends up
liking it in that perverse sense of, "I can't believe I like this
stuff. I'm so sick!"

The plot is pretty simple. He goes to school. He gets trained.
There are nine or ten levels of practical training, and you get
detailed glimpses of each inquisition, so don't read it if you don't
like hearing about people getting hurt. Do read it if you like
hearing about people tormenting each other and then getting all
worried and guilty and getting the tormentee the best possible medical

The character development is good. The style of writing is a bit
different. The frequent flipping of perspective is pretty standard,
but Matthews has a nice habit of skipping irrelevant, boring hours,
days or weeks. Some authors don't do that and you're left thinking,
"why did I just read that?" or they cram all the action together and
you instead are left thinking, "All this happened in 48 hours? Yeah
right!" (I certainly felt that way after reading "The Da Vinci Code")

It's a well written book. There were four books in the series and one
stand alone in the same universe as of 2001. The fifth book came out
as of 2006.