‘A Decent Ransom’ is a story of human weakness and yearning. Essentially a tale of redemption, the contemporary, fast-paced thriller blends pathos with trickery and intrigue, drawing the reader into the private world of a vulnerable fifteen-year-old boy, who believes himself to be the keeper of a kidnapped woman. Against all odds, the two forge an alliance with dire consequences for some.
The plot begins when two brothers from the wrong side of the tracks kidnap a beautiful young woman, unleashing a chain of events that irrevocably change the lives of everyone involved. The narrative, unfolding through multiple perspectives, gives the reader an insight into the minds of the four main characters as they carefully navigate their way through this unique situation, taking advantage to pursue their own goals. The players, each struggling to stay a step ahead, create a web of deception in which the pursuit of happiness becomes a deadly game of cat and mouse. It is only when disaster strikes that they begin to question their moral stance and desperate deeds are committed by all as they struggle to become someone other than themselves. As opportunities to make the right choice dwindle, each person's true nature is exposed. In a final twist, the unconventional resolution raises the question of nature versus nurture and how the two intertwine in each of us.
'A Decent Ransom' is a deliciously twisted story told by multiple narrators; these shifting perspectives keep the pace quick and the reader guessing. Bold, quirky and outrageously entertaining. Booklist, Sept 15, 2008 issue
Finely layered and compelling, this is a well-written thriller about the rich inner landscapes that can exist in bleak surroundings. Hruba does particularly well developing the relationship between Phoebus and the kidnapped woman. He looks after her and protects her through to the end, even though he is aware that she has an agenda he doesn't agree with to get revenge on her husband.In 'A Decent Ransom' the fates of all the characters, driven by madness, greed, love, revenge and hope for something better, come together within a clever plot that moves with humour and pathos to a satisfying conclusion in this well crafted and totally absorbing story. Bernadette Gooden, Matilda Reviews, May 2009
‘A Decent Ransom’ is not only a wholly well spun tale of a bungled kidnap caper which is not what it initially appears to be, but it is also an exercise in creative writing that places Hrubá in a high echelon of contemporary writers. One of the many aspects of Hrubá’s writing that marks her as an artist of note is her ability to create a varied cast of characters – from young teenagers to old men sugar daddies and used loose women, immigrants with issues particular to their backgrounds to average middle class couples in brittle relationships, older relatives with perversions, to women with neuroses/psychoses who converse with their alter egos. Rarely have characters bristled with life as vibrant as the strange folks involved in ‘A Decent Ransom’. After many twists and turns in the plot, brought to brilliant life by the fact that we are privy to the thoughts and vantages of each of the characters, the story winds to a surprising and satisfying climax. Grady Harp, February 2009