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on February 17, 2014
I have read the prior books in this series. Each was good. In fact, the second volume was better than the first. The characters were enjoyable and there were moments of insightful writing. Then there is Hostage. This is, sadly, a case where the author is too close to his subject matter to be objective. As a result, the writing is melodramatic, unbalanced and, astonishingly, the plot wobbles upon some pretty serious lapses of reality.

I found the manner in which the subject matter was treated to be sensationalistic. There was no balanced approach on the topic of AIDS whatsoever. The author failed miserably to present both sides of the issue. And, I believe I am being kind in saying he even tried to present both sides. He also presented quite graphic scenes concerning the bodily ravishes the disease presents. We are dealing here with a crime novel not a story of social justice. It would have been possible in the hands of a more skilled writer to broach both aspects. But, even at that, the crime aspect would be diminished as a result of the social issues and the social issues would not be well served by the crime aspect.

As for lapses of reality, the book is riddled with them. One example is the character of Elliot. He is a man whose brain has been effected by the disease. Because of this, he has flights of behavior that are very erratic. Yet, during the closing sequences of the novel, his erratic behavior is soft peddled to suit the needs of advancing the plot. Another lapse of reality is a graphic description of the Matthew character having severe pains such as a migraine even to the point of having his vision effected by blinding flashes of light. He takes a "handful" of pills and instantaneously his pain and the lights are gone in the snap of a finger. Again, this is done in order to advance the plot. There was no time to allow the pills to take effect.

I compare this novel to those sensationalistic novels written by Sax Rohmer with the "Yellow Peril", Dr. Fu Manchu. The melodrama in which these political issues are presented completely undermine any credibility there may be given to the points the author wishes to make. Well, this is not the early years of the Twentieth Century when Rohmer penned his novels. That style of melodramatic writing has been out of vogue for decades. Yet, in the middle nineteen-nineties, Zimmerman resurrects that style to present what I cannot help but believe are personal feelings about a personal subject to him. As a result, the momentum of the Todd Mills series is driven off the rails. To be honest, I am not sure I will read the other two books in the series. I am that disappointed with this book.

I would also like to point out that the insightful moments of writing I saw in the previous Todd Mills books are missing in this book. The poignancy of an individual dying should provoke the best an author can give. Yet, here it is wasted in melodrama and sensationalistic political cliches. The person who dies is reduced to being a body left behind that smells. I find this inexcusable.

I cannot recommend this novel on any level. It is just awful.
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on September 22, 2013
This is the 3rd of the Todd Mills mysteries. Even though each of the Todd Mills 5 mysteries can stand alone, I strongly recommend reading them in the order as listed above since the evolving relationship of TV reporter Mills and the cop, Rawlings, is as important as the mystery itself. (In order: Closet, Tribe, Hostage, Outburst, & Innuendo). The basics of the plot are expressed well in the Amazon description so I won’t go into that further. In this book, as well as the others, the full novel length allowed the time necessary to tell the story and get the reader very involved in the characters. As other readers have noted, this book is darker and ‘heavier’ in tone than the first two. It is still an enjoyable reading experience.
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on July 19, 2001
Todd Mills (not related to me either!) is a very realistic character whose life and love is believable. Zimmerman minces no words in describing the trials and tribulations of gay men, and their experiences with society and gay culture. The situations Todd and Rawlins get into are very intense. Down to earth portrayal of gay life. The mystery aspects kept me turning the pages and I stayed up until 3am to finish the book. Then I went searching for all the other books in the series. Hard to find Closet - got a copy from Canada.... Very much worth the time and effort. I'm hoping Zimmerman keeps the Mills series moving right along.
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on September 28, 2011
I find the Todd Mills Mystery series an very entertaining 'lite' read that is not only relaxing but highly entertaining. The interaction between the gay TV investigative reporter and his police detective lover is great but this novel is even more enthralling considering the startling news the detective receives and his reaction. Great read!
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on July 31, 2014
Good read excellent mystery great author
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on February 3, 2014
I like that it sounded like a good book and it was free, so I downloaded it to my kindle and may one day get to reading it.
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on August 11, 2014
Enter R.D. Zimmerman and his Todd Mills Mysteries. I was suspicious, having been duped before, but seeing the awards he's won, I gave it a shot. Boy am I glad I did! Zimmerman creates great characters, fully three dimensional with personality and flaws, that are easily seen throughout the series. To be fair, I've read 3 of the 5 books so far and can wholeheartedly recommend them. Since they are a couple (TV anchor/detective and Policeman/detective) they do have sex but it is 'behind closed doors', not beaten over your head with two billyclubs. That's what I loved: you are told they are in love but not shown. I'm all for man on man sex, but there is time and place for it.

The storylines could be ripped from today's headlines, Zimmerman carefully crafts each book's premise, so you can see it happening in the back of your mind. Side characters are introduced at the right time, they have their time and place as well; written fully dimensional to boot. Zimmerman balances his storylines to make a thoroughly enjoyable read.

I easily give 4.5 stars!
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on January 27, 2012
'Hostage' is the first novel by R.D. Zimmerman I've read (...I got it cheap at a thrift store ;-)), and I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked it. The story generally revolves around the kidnapping of a homophobic congressman by three folks dying from AIDS, circa 1996. The hostage takers seek publicity and revenge. A reporter who is indirectly associated with one of these hostage takers becomes a reluctant hero.

The book is generally well written with believable characters. It's a fairly light read, easily something that would do at an airport gate or while sitting on "the throne". My only complaint has to do with the ending, which was a bit forced and comes off flat.

Bottom line: a fun read. Recommended.
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on January 21, 1999
This is a great novel. The action was fast-paced and the story was compelling. This was not a cut-and-dry who-done-it because Zimmerman crafted this story in a morally ambiguous area. AIDS is such a polarizing force in our society, yet Zimmerman finds the gray area and expolits it. More so than solving the crime, I found myself asking "Are these people right?"... That, I believe, is the true testament to Zimmerman's craftsmanship. A must read.
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on August 23, 1998
After reading Closet and Tribe I was excited to see a new book by Mr. Zimmerman featuring gay newscaster Todd Mills. Although, this mystery follows the earlier high standards of the earlier works it is much darker. My disappointment could have been due to the fact that I purchased this as one of my "read at the beach" books and it was more emotionally based than I expected. Even though I was disappointed I would still recommend it to friends.
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