Turn the Souls

Here is a rough draft preview of my new book, Turn the Souls. Enjoy.

Rules of a Hostage Negotiator 

  1. Prolong the situation.
  2. Ensure safety of hostages.
  3. Keep things calm.
  4. Develop a relationship with hostage-taker. 

And when the time is right… 

Turn the Souls


The worst part about any hostage situation is that there’s a 100% chance it all started with some sort of violent act.

            It may have been brief. The length of violence all depends on how long it took the hostage-takers to subdue the victims. At the end of this phase, the hostage-takers will divulge their demands.

            Lieutenant Marcus Cane thought about this as he sped through the streets of Hillsboro, Oregon. He went through the same process as his last thirty-seven hostage situations. During the drive, Marcus would think about the violent phase, picturing the hostages as they were forcefully moved to a location, bound, and threatened.

            Marcus had a routine to review his training. This habit put his mind and emotions in a place where he felt in control.

            “Prolong the situation,” he whispered. The siren blared as he swerved through rush hour traffic. “The longer I can prolong the hostage situation, the better chance it will end peacefully. Force the HT to give details. Do not ask questions that can be answered with a simple yes or no.

            “Next, insure the safety of the hostages.” Marcus never liked that the safety of kidnapped people were second to prolonging the situation. Nevertheless, that is how he was trained. “Convince hostages to allow medical treatment, food, and water. Simplify the situation as much as possible. Ask for the release of hostages and even negotiate the release of a few weapons.” Marcus had once talked an HT into giving up four of his six shotguns, rather than giving up a hostage. This tactic can limit what the Tactical Operations Team has to deal with and save all the hostages, rather than just a few. It comes down to a question: ‘What is more important; the guns or the hostages?’

            “Keep things calm,” Marcus said to himself. He was now three minutes away. “HT’s are volatile and will take out their aggression on the hostages. HT’s have their adrenaline pumping. Whomever I speak with, I must seem credible. I will pretend to understand the reasons why this had to happen. My voice will come across with authority. I’ll appreciate the HT’s position, but I must be stern and not eager to please. At some point, I need to make sure the HT forms a relationship with the hostages. I’ll send in food in bulk, so it has to be passed out. Same with medical supplies, blankets, and water. Everything will be in bulk.”

            Marcus arrived, parked the car, and passed through the yellow tape that was lifted by an officer. While making his way through the chaos, he gazed at the fifteen-story building where the hostage crisis was taking place. 

            In quick fashion, he made it to the command trailer. The Situation Commander was Daniel Fletcher. Marcus signed into the logbook and listened as Fletcher said on the radio, “Negotiator Marcus Cane has arrived and now has the ball.”

            Also inside the trailer was the Senior Tactical Operations Commander, Kevin Harlan. Physiologist and Tactical Intelligence was Lindi Amerson, ready with her report.

            Marcus sat down at the small table that seated four. A yellow notepad and pen was ready for him. Fletcher and Harlan also sat down, but kept quiet. The window of opportunity to speak with the hostage-taker was limited. Marcus had yet to make contact, which meant only the HT’s were in charge right now.

            Lindi joined them at the table with her laptop. “Okay Marcus, fire away,” she said.

            Marcus picked up the pen and focused. The standard questions popped in his head one at a time. “What has occurred?” he asked, ready to take notes.

            “Seventy-two employees at Bradburn Industries have been taken captive. There are about ten hostage-takers, but that is not confirmed.”

            “Who initiated the call?”

            “An unidentified male called 911 from the building and claimed that he had taken all the employees at Bradburn hostage and that no one should enter the premises.”

            “What time?”

            “4:36 p.m.”

            “Have any police officers been injured?” Marcus knew that no officers had been injured, but he liked to ask this question right away, so that Fletcher and Harlan would know that the officer’s safety was a priority. Everything was a mind game. It was Marcus versus the hostage-taker. Marcus versus Situation Commander. Marcus versus the STOC, Kevin Harlan. Marcus versus the media. And so on.

            “No police have been injured,” Lindi assured him.

            “Any hostages injured?”

            Harlan blew out a frustrated grunt. “Do we have time for this? Maybe we should work on getting those people out.”

            Marcus wondered how long it would take before Harlan became impatient. “You know the drill. I need to fully understand the circumstances before any decisions are made.” Harlan never seemed satisfied with this answer. Marcus had worked with him with about half of the hostage situations. He glanced at Lindi and repeated the question. “Any hostages injured?”

            “We don’t know,” she replied.

            “Any suspect injuries?”

            “We don’t know.”

            “Any injuries outside the building?”

            “A lawn care worker twisted his ankle when the police arrived.”

            Marcus looked up. “How did that happen?”

            “He panicked and began running.”

            “Was he questioned?”


            Marcus focused on his notes. “Other than the 911 call, has any other contact been made with the HT?”


            Marcus looked at Harlan. “Is your team all in place?”

            “Yes. We are ready to enter-”

            “Where are the suspects located,” Marcus asked.

            Lindi answered the question, while Harlan sprung from his chair and paced. “We believe all the hostages have been taken to a large supply room in the basement. There are a few vents, but all have been blocked. There is a set of stairs leading down, but that is it. A tactical nightmare.”

            The secured phone rang.

            “Here we go,” Marcus said. “Let’s see what they want.”

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  1. Brandie Lagarde

    This sounds great and I can’t wait to read in full! I am a new fan of yours from Facebook and have been learning much from your posts and blogs. Thanks for the insights!

  2. JoAnn Strutt

    OK I am hooked.. when will you release??

    1. ronknight

      Expect this in the fall. (This year.)

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