A bus full of children is taken hostage in this "screaming hit" ( The New York Times Book Review ) from the author of The Never Game and The Bone Collector . Along a windswept Kansas road, eight vulnerable (deaf) girls and their helpless teachers are forced off a school bus and held hostage in an abandoned slaughterhouse. The madman who has them at gunpoint has a simple plan: One hostage an hour will die unless the demands are met. Called to the scene is Arthur Potter, the FBI's best hostage negotiator. He has a plan.