- Inventory on the way
American billionaire Jeb Caldwell, who has recently been diagnosed with lung cancer, hosts a group of celebrity anglers on a fishing expedition to Russia’s unforgiving Kola Peninsula where he is kidnapped. Narrated by one of the main characters, the bestselling author E. E. Zachary, Celebrity Cast takes place in September 1991 shortly after the failed coup of the Soviet Union—a historic event that mired the country in political turmoil and gave rise to the ruthless Russian mafia. Jeb views the trip as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to fish this newly discovered anglers’ paradise with two of his closest friends. When his wife refuses to meet the kidnappers’ demands, the odds are low that he will be returned at all, let alone in time for a last-ditch chemo infusion that may save his life. The kidnappers’ demand of a ransom of $75 million is only part of their story. In addition, one kidnapper is driven to right a family wrong that dates back to Stalin’s reign of terror while another is desperate to prove he is smarter than his Muscovite comrades. Jeb’s situation is further complicated by President Yeltsin’s dismantling the KGB, leaving the FBI without an ally in its attempts to apprehend the kidnappers. What follows is a frustrating, and at times surprising, effort by the FBI, the State Department and President Bush himself, to bring a prominent American home safely.In advance praise for Celebrity Cast, Kirkus Reviews writes: “A suspenseful thriller set during the precarious days of the Soviet Union’s collapse. The double narrative action of the kidnapping and the grand geopolitical drama is compelling. The more these two plotlines intersect, the more intriguing the chaos that ensues . . .” While Ellen Lesser, author of The Shoplifter’s Apprentice, has this to say: " . . . a spectacular, spell-binding story, one which has all the elements, including but not remotely limited to suspense . . . international politics, lethal conspiracy, investigative intrigue, a fascinating landscape of characters on multiple planes, a remote and exotic geography, not to mention the sport of fishing, violent shoot-outs, medical drama, and more than one love story."