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Paying The Piper [Kindle Edition]

Simon Wood
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (593 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $14.95
Kindle Price: $3.99
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Book Description

For years, the serial kidnapper known as the Piper got rich by abducting children from San Francisco’s wealthiest families.

When crime reporter Scott Fleetwood gets a call from a man identifying himself as the Piper and offers an exclusive interview, Fleetwood jumps at the chance. But the caller turns out to be a fake, and the rash decision costs the life of the real Piper’s latest victim.

For eight long years, Fleetwood has lived with unbearable guilt—and the enduring disdain of the entire Bay area. Now he hears from the real Piper—and it’s not for an interview. The kidnapper has the reporter’s son. But he doesn’t want money…he wants blood. And he’s going to use Fleetwood to get it.

In the tradition of Harlan Coben and Gregg Hurwitz, Simon Wood weaves a plot thick with suspense and heavy with action. Paying the Piper grabs hold from page one and doesn’t let go until new debts are paid and old scores settled.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

After an eight-year hiatus, the elusive serial kidnapper dubbed the Piper is once again commanding headlines in San Francisco after abducting Sammy, one of newspaper reporter Scott Fleetwood's young sons. However, where the Piper's previous crimes had been motivated by money—kids returned unharmed in exchange for millions in ransom—this one appears to be personal: the Piper holds Fleetwood responsible for botching his last kidnapping, costing the Piper a cool two million and forcing him to resort to murder. The victim in that case was the only child of wealthy real estate mogul Charles Rooker, who has now stepped forward to fund the Piper's ransom demand for Sammy, while helping Fleetwood and the FBI nail his son's killer. Before Sammy can come home, however, the Piper has more grueling maneuvers than a demented drill sergeant to put these characters through. Wood, in his sophomore effort (following Accidents Waiting to Happen), keeps the pages flying even as his plot gets more and more complex, accelerating nicely toward an elegant climax. (Nov.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From the Author

Simon Wood is an ex-racecar driver, a licensed pilot and an occasional private investigator. He shares his world with his American wife, Julie. A longhaired dachshund and five cats dominate their lives. He's had over 150 stories and articles published. His short fiction has appeared in a variety of magazines anthologies, such as Seattle Noir, Thriller 2 and Woman's World. He's a frequent contributor to Writer's Digest. He's the Anthony Award winning author of Working Stiffs, Accidents Waiting to Happen, Paying the Piper and We All Fall Down. As Simon Janus, he's the author of The Scrubs and Road Rash. His latest thriller, Terminated, is out in mass paperback with a new short story collection, Asking for Trouble, out later in the year. Curious people can learn more at

Product Details

  • File Size: 1008 KB
  • Print Length: 362 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas & Mercer (November 13, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007GFGST4
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,997 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
75 of 90 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Unrealistic plot, poor writing November 23, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Scott is a reporter who has been ostracised because eight years ago he withheld from the FBI information he had received, that led to the death of a kidnapped boy. Now his own sons have been kidnapped by the Piper and he is again keeping information to himself, much to the frustration of the FBI, his wife and the reader.

The FBI agents are portrayed as incompetent, bumbling fools. Time after time they miss opportunities or are outsmarted. But Scott seems to have little difficulty finding the kidnapper while the FBI is floundering.

On several occasions, people pointing a gun at a person have the gun swept aside - even trained FBI agents.

I lost count of the number of times someone went by themselves to a remote site/derelict building/suspect's house etc. without telling anyone where they were going, with predictable results.

So, the book has an idiot hero, dumb FBI agents, unrealistic plot and poor character development.
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61 of 75 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Suspenseful and intense! April 16, 2009
By GinRobi
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Eight years ago, a kidnapper dubbed the "Piper" began kidnapping children. Once the ransoms were paid, the children were returned, unharmed. During the last kidnapping, the Piper contacted Scott Fleetwood, a reporter with the San Fransisco Independent. Only, the man Scott was talking to wasn't the real Piper. To teach the public, Scott, and the FBI a lesson, the real Piper murdered Nicholas Rooker and left the body in a park. Not a day goes by that Scott doesn't think about Nicholas Rooker. And now the unthinkable has happened... Scott's own son, Sammy, has been kidnapped right in front of the school. It's the Piper - and it's payback time.

A ransom is demanded, and Scott and his wife Jane, don't have the funds. But Charles Rooker, Nicholas's father, pops up at the most unexpected time and saves the day, putting up the ransom; he swears he harbors no ill will toward Scott and his family; he wants the Piper caught, once and for all.

And now the Piper has Scott running in circles and through hoops - for Scott has a lot to answer for. Scott has to do what the Piper wants him to do or the Piper will hurt Sammy. And if things couldn't get any worse, in the middle of the night, their other son, Peter, is taken right from his own bed, with Jane unable to stop it. And a new ransom is demanded; Charles Rooker swoops in once again. He doesn't care about the money - he wants the Piper caught. And now the Piper has made a new demand: Scott is given a deadline - he has to find the Piper.

But FBI Agent Tom Sheils is on the case. He still holds contempt towards Scott, but regardless, he's determined to take down the Piper and bring the boys home. But he knows that Scott is keeping secrets, and he's determined to get to the bottom of it.
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26 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Twist on the Kidnapping Theme December 16, 2009
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Plot/Storyline: 4 Stars

This is a kidnapping plot with more than one smart twist to it. Just when I thought I had it figured out, another monkey wrench was thrown into the story to get me off target.

There were a couple of obvious red herrings that irritated me when I thought back on them. By that, I mean thoughts of a character that were meant to throw the reader off the trail. When it bothers me is when the author keeps certain thoughts very generic, and you look back at them later thinking that the author made a mistake, but then realize that the author just worded the information in such a way as to make the reader think the wrong thing on purpose.

A rather unrealistic portion of the storyline was that the FBI let the father work so closely in the investigation at the very end. I am pretty certain that's not standard FBI protocol in kidnappings. However, I can see where it might have been necessary for the sequence of the story, so the author can claim poetic license here.

I also noticed that Mr. Wood did not delve too deeply into the past kidnappings. I think this was because the most difficult part of getting away with the crime of kidnapping for ransom is the actual collection of the ransom. The Piper not only gets away, but he manages to get away multiple times.

Character Development: 4 Stars

As the father of the kidnapped boy, Scott is a very well-developed character. His remorse and determination to save his son bleed from the page into the heart of the reader.

I found the mother to be an unbelievable side character. I just couldn't swallow her not even once blaming her husband, even though everyone, including her, knew that the kidnapping was a personal strike against him.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Paying the Piper July 21, 2010
By LisaDM
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I really enjoyed this book! Great suspense, great twist! It kept me page turning, which is what you want in a good read. I had the pleasure of meeting Simon Wood (very funny and quite charming as only an Englishman can be I must say)at a book signing in San Diego, which my writing group attended. I'll admit I'd never heard of him...but after enjoying the event and hearing him tell how he got into writing novels and about his vast interesting background, I just had to experience his writing. I asked him what book was his fave of the bunch (cuz I was only buying one!) and he recommended Piper. Well...guess I have to go out and get all his books now, cause this man can WRITE! :)
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars The Piper
Good book but could have ended quicker because you always knew the little boys would be found safe. The ending was welcomed.
Published 4 days ago by carol reinhard
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Thriller
A good thriller. It was non-stop action with a lot of twists and turns. When you thought you had it figured out, it would take off in another direction. Read more
Published 17 days ago by J. Cole
4.0 out of 5 stars pretty good read!
Better than most Prime Free books! Kept my interest and the writing was more polished than I expected, would recommend.
Published 23 days ago by L. Holman
5.0 out of 5 stars Paying the Piper is fantastic!
Great story, moves fast. I found myself slacking off at work to read this story. Simon Wood has yet to disappoint me. Everything I have read from him has been entertaining. Read more
Published 23 days ago by JohnsterTX
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!
It's been a while since I have read such a riveting, fast paced, heart clenching book as this was. Simply could not put it down.
Published 26 days ago by Sue Parrish
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A well written book with a lot of suspense!
Published 26 days ago by Janice R. Dorsch
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent writing
It had a few too many turns but that's the mystery, a turn at every corner. The ending was wild.
Published 27 days ago by Connie Robinson
4.0 out of 5 stars Paying the Pipsr
Good edge of your seat book with an unexpected twist! Kept you in suspense till the end!Highly recommended mystery read!
Published 28 days ago by Gina
2.0 out of 5 stars Painful
Forced myself to read this. Ugh! Just an unbelievable storyline and sequence of events. Human nature and police work in this story are out of touch with reality. Read more
Published 28 days ago by patrick kenneally
3.0 out of 5 stars Forgettable but decent.
This story is a decent kidnapping thriller. Scott Fleetwood is a reporter whose two boys are kidnapped by an infamous criminal called the Piper. Read more
Published 29 days ago by Christopher M Belcher
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More About the Author

Simon Wood is a California transplant from England. He's a former competitive racecar driver, a licensed pilot, an endurance cyclist and an occasional PI. He shares his world with his American wife, Julie. Their lives are dominated by a longhaired dachshund and four cats. He's the Anthony Award winning author of Working Stiffs, Accidents Waiting to Happen, Paying the Piper, Terminated, Asking For Trouble, We All Fall Down and the Aidy Westlake series. His next thriller is THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY due out March '15. He also writes horror under the pen name of Simon Janus. Curious people can learn more at

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