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Taken Paperback – June 25, 2002


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Delta (June 25, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385335474
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385335478
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,118,204 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

One minute aspiring actress Marina Benedict is admiring a baby in a stroller in downtown Pittsburgh, the next she's tracking a man she believes kidnapped the infant, in this uneven debut thriller. After leaving her marriage counselor's office, where she has just taken the first step toward divorce, Marina longingly admires a little boy whom she later sees in the arms of a seedy man on a bus. Suspicious, she follows them until she, too, is kidnapped by the man's cohorts. Through news reports, they learn that the baby is the son of a Pirates rookie pitcher, and Marina is shot and left for dead. Rescued by the police, she tries to help them find the baby, befriending the boy's mother and becoming more than friends with lead detective Richard Christie. As she convalesces, she uncovers an adoption ring that includes sleazy lawyer Manny; his amoral sister, Emelia; and Marina's former captors Joe, Vol, and Anton who do Emelia's bidding. Drama teacher George (The Man in the Buick and Other Stories) produces dead bodies and new clues, and keeps Marina one step ahead of the police and the FBI but this thriller romance isn't especially thrilling or romantic. George proves herself a rookie at establishing dramatic tension with her preference for psychological exposition over action at potentially climactic moments and with an overuse of theater images (a thief contemplating murder is like an actor contemplating a role in Lear). Chicago, Miami, New York and even Richmond, Va., boast popular female detectives; despite this novel's riveting premise, the position's still open in Pittsburgh. (May 15)Forecast: This generic thriller will do respectably but probably no better, though its effective cover showing the back of a man stalking a woman should draw browsers' attention.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

The promotion bills this first novel by short story writer George (The Man in the Buick and Other Stories) as a psychological thriller. "Psychological" is accurate, but "thriller" may be overstating matters a bit. The opening moments of suspense are overshadowed by psychological character studies, albeit intriguing ones. All of the elements revolve around the kidnapping, in Pittsburgh, of a baby boy named Justin. Justin's kidnapper is spotted and followed by Marina Benedict, whose efforts will force her to make some painful life decisions and push other characters to re-examine their own. Justin's parents, the primary investigator, and the kidnappers all have their stories told which is, unfortunately, to the detriment of the suspense. As the book reaches its climax, readers will be more involved with each character than with the kidnapping. Recommended for larger public libraries. Jane Jorgenson, Madison P.L., WI
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Kathleen George is the best selling author of a series of thrillers set in Pittsburgh where she lives and where she is a professor of theatre at the University of Pittsburgh. Her sixth novel SIMPLE (August 21, 2012) and her fifth novel HIDEOUT (August 16, 2011) have both won high praise by reviewers, including starred reviews. Her fourth, THE ODDS, out in paperback, was a finalist for an Edgar® award for best novel of the year in 2010. She is also the author of the acclaimed novels TAKEN, FALLEN, and AFTERIMAGE, the short story collection THE MAN IN THE BUICK, and the 2011 edited collection of stories, PITTSBURGH NOIR. Early on George Pelecanos wrote "I look forward to reading anything Kathleen George writes." An Entertainment Weekly reviewer wrote of THE ODDS, "If anyone is writing better police thrillers than George, I don't know who it is."

She is married to writer Hilary Masters, who asked her out twenty years ago because he figured she, a theatre director, would be interesting--he was tired of being around writers. On the first date, she told him she had begun writing (or more accurately had taken it up again, having said from the time she was seven that she wanted to be a writer).

He thought, "Oh, no, not another one." But they had already hit it off and so it was too late. Now there are two of them in one household, shuffling around in sloppy clothes, coffee cups in hand, heading to paper, computer, typewriter.

"When I was eight, I took my accumulated miseries up to the attic," she wrote in "The Making of a Writer" "where I had discovered I could make an area, (a small stage set?) with table, chair, notebooks and pen, and suddenly my world seemed whole and good--a secret and a treasure."




*******Detailed media bio and photos:

Kathleen George was born in Johnstown Pennsylvania. As a child, she wanted to be a writer. She wrote stories and plays in high school and in her undergraduate years as a creative writing major at the University of Pittsburgh. She went on to earn a Ph.D. in Theatre (also at Pitt). By then she had made her home in Pittsburgh. For eight years she taught theatre at Carlow College, where she directed many plays. Then she accepted a teaching position at Pitt where she continued to direct and teach dramatic literature and playwriting; in the early 80s, she began to add fiction writing back into the mix. In 1988, she earned an M.F.A. degree in Creative Writing (also at Pitt!) on the side. She is a Professor in the Theatre Arts Department with a secondary appointment in the English Writing program.

Book-length fiction publications are: THE MAN IN THE BUICK, a collection of stories, BKMK press, 1999; TAKEN, a novel, Delacorte 2001; FALLEN, Dell 2004; AFTERIMAGE, St. Martin's Minotaur 2007; THE ODDS, St. Martin's Minotaur 2009; HIDEOUT St. Martin's Minotaur, 2011, and SIMPLE, St. Martin's Minotaur, 2012. TAKEN has been translated into French, German, Japanese, Dutch, Danish, and Norwegian. She is also the editor of the 2011 PITTSBURGH NOIR.

George has been granted fellowships at artists' colonies, including the VCCA and MacDowell. Her short fiction has appeared in journals and magazines which include Mademoiselle, Cimarron Review, North American Review, New Letters, and Alaska Quarterly Review. She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and one story was listed among the Distinguished in Best American Short Stories.

Her theatre publications are: Rhythm in Drama, University of Pittsburgh Press, 1980, Playwriting: The First Workshop, Allworth Press, 2008 (first in print with Butterworth (Focal Press) 1994), and Winter's Tales: Reflections on the Novelistic Stage, University of Delaware, 2005.

She has taught for Pitt in London and has served as faculty and as Academic Dean for Semester at Sea. She has directed for Pitt's mainstage and for the Three Rivers Shakespeare Festival productions which include The Rehearsal, The Country Wife, She Stoops to Conquer, The Winter's Tale, Hamlet, Much Ado About Nothing, King Lear, A Flea in Her Ear, and Our Town. A number of these productions were listed among the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Ten Best of the Year. She has also produced and sometimes directed over sixty original plays written by her students.

She is married to writer Hilary Masters.





Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 25, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I completely disagree with the reader in Pittsburgh, PA who found this book to be incoherent. Did s/he read the same book as I did? I can't believe it!
Once I began reading Taken, I was hooked. I read it in two days. It is definitely a page turner, but not in a cliched cliff-hanger at the end of every chapter sort of way. The author has such a flair for words and for creating believeable characters that I turned each page because I *cared* what happened next. The book revolves around a kidnapped baby and how such an act affects everyone involved, from the police, to the kidnappers, to the heroine and to the baby's family. What's really neat about Taken is that you get into the minds of all the characters, all of whom (including the kidnappers) come across as being genuinely human. This book is a literary novel that just so happens to be a mystery. What a fine combination that doesn't insult the reader's intelligence! The author is skilled in her ability to weave together all of these lives, and by the end of the book, I missed having to say good bye to the characters.
As for the reader in Pittsburgh who didn't like the book (?!), there's that old saying, "Not everyone likes pearls." This is definitely a gem of a book.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By lucy on May 30, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Being a mystery buff, when I read the rave review for TAKEN..., I went out and bought it. I found TAKEN to be smart and suspenseful. It was definitely well-worth the money and something I plan to read again.
The novel is about a young woman, Marina Benedict, whose marriage is falling apart. She has always noticed babies, being childless herself, and on one particular day, she notices a baby that catches her eye. Later that day, she sees the same baby with someone who looks suspicious. She follows the kidnapper and the baby, and that's when you really can't put the book down!
George is an exceptional writer, and I look forward to reading more from her.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan Stein on May 28, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Taken is a novel with a crime in it. Many crime novels are cold or cool, but this one is warm. You can feel the blood pulsing in the characters. Sometimes the emphasis is on what they are thinking and feeling instead of on immediate actions or a body count. It's a combination of a very high profile plot and a novel of interior life. I loved every word of it!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Ken Bolden on July 12, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Normally, I don't read thrillers, but having lived for a time in Pittsburgh, I was interested in reading a novel set in a city that I was very fond of. I found the book to be a real "page turner" and was beginning to resent any time that I had to set it aside. I had read Ms. George's previously published book of short stories (The Man in the Buick- which I also highly recommend) and what I admired in her writing in that book was also a quality present in her new novel: a pristine, almost clinical prose that manages to generate a sense of warmth and emotional engagement with the events and characters on the page. In TAKEN, the characters are clearly drawn; so much so that I found myself wishing that the ones who appeared briefly had more time on the page. I also very much liked how my expectations of situations and characters were almost always upended- that was part of what made the book difficult to put down for me. Far from making the plot muddled or far fetched (living in NYC, nothing seems far fetched to me) the frequent turn arounds kept me wanting to hurtle through the book and discover where I was being led. Finally, what I most liked about the writing was that rather than just being a straight forward thriller, Ms. George was using the genre as an outline which she then filled in with the colors of a psychological study. I would most definitely recommend this book for anyone looking for a good Summer read. It's going to be a few people's Christmas gifts this year, too. I look forward to whatever comes from Ms. George in the future.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By s. susman on June 5, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I found TAKEN to be a terrifically gripping page-turner. The characters were richly-drawn individuals,the settings were wonderfully evoked and the plot original and engrossing. I thought the 'maternal-instinct' aspect was clever and an interesting layer of the story, but it never diluted the "thriller" aspect of the book. I hope Ms. George will continue to write about these characters, especially Christie; I kind of have a crush on him,,,
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 25, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This novel is built upon several elements that set it apart from the mundane--a bit of irony, some humor, and believable characters. "Taken" is not your run-of-the-mill "who-done-it" novel. Rather, it is an engrossing, page-turning thriller that does not insult the readers intelligene. Beyond all of this, it is a fun read!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 12, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I am usually turned-off by mass fiction, especially thrillers, because alas, usually they are not well-written and are solely plot driven. I bought Taken as a fluke because the storyline, about a kidnapped baby and black market adoption, intrigued me.
I was pleasantly surprised by how well-developed the characters were. They had true-to-life human qualities that made them believeable.
If you're looking for a thriller in the vein of, say, James Patterson, then this isn't it. This is more of a beautifully written character study that is psychological and believeable.
In the end, ask yourself, if you were in the heroine's shoes, wouldn't you have done what she did to rescue the baby? For me, the answer is a resounding yes!
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