Ransom Author: Lois Duncan Setting: The story takes place in New Mexico Time: The story occurs during the winter. Characters: Buck is one of the three people who are kidnapping the children. He is tempered easily. He doesn't really care for others much. Rita is Buck's wife.
She is not very pretty and gets drug into schemes by Buck. She feels he will leave her if she doesn't follow directions. Juan is the other kidnapper who does more of the dirty work. He is the one who calls the parents for the money. He's the one who shot the bus driver. Glenn is one of the boys who were kidnapped.
He's very popular and has friends and thinks that nobody dislikes him. He's handsome and very athletic. Glenn's brother Bruce is into more technology stuff. He is not very handsome and looks up to his brother a lot. He is physically challenged because his body is underdeveloped. Dexter doesn't have a mother or father.
He lives with his bachelor uncle who's always away on business trips. He is liked fairly well. He is happy with his life. Jesse is new to everyone. She moves around the world quite a lot. She's very mature compared to the others.
Marianne has two brothers. Her parents are divorced and her mother remarried another man. She thinks that her real dad still loves her and will rescue her and doesn't care much for her new father. Conflict: The group's main problem is that they are being held ransom and they don't know whether they " ll ever be rescued. The group is concerned that their parents won't be able to get the whole amount of money so they are faced with the fact of having to runaway in order to escape their kidnappers. Plot: The kids are getting on the bus to go home after another ordinary day at high school.
They noticed they had a substitute bus driver. He missed a couple of stops so Bruce volunteered to show him the way. When only the five kids who live on Valley Gardens are left, the bus driver drives past their subdivision without stopping. The kids complain and he tells them to shut up. The bus pulls off to the side of the road next to a waiting car. He orders them to get off the bus and into the car.
By this time the kids realized they were being kidnapped. A woman is in the car, whose name is Rita. She drives them to a cabin about two hours away. When they arrive, the kids are fed stew.
The boys were sent to sleep in the storage room. The girls head to the bunk room for the night. They awake the next morning and discuss what's happening. Jesse and Dexter talk. She tells him that the night before she heard Rita and Buck saying that he killed their bus driver. She gets scared and starts to cry.
After hearing this, the boys decide that they need to leave. Back at Valley Gardens the parents are receiving the phone calls from Juan regarding the ransom. All the parents are discussing with their spouses the amount of the ransom are making plans to get the money except. But, Dexter's uncle still hasn't heard about the kidnapping yet.
The parents are also faced with the question of whether or not to call the police. Back at the cabin, the kids finally decide that Marianne will distract Rita while Buck's gone so Jesse can sneak and get the keys to the storage room to unlock the boys later. When Buck comes home, he and Rita go to sleep and the girls unlock the boys. The plan is to have Dexter hot wire the car with Glenn's help, and for Bruce to transport messages between the boys and girls.
Jesse and Marianne go back to the bunk beds and await the message from Bruce that they are ready when she hears Buck get out of bed and go into the kitchen. She tries to get Buck to go back to bed when the door comes open slowly and in walks Bruce. Bruce says quietly that they got the car hot wired, then he sees Buck. Jesse shouts 'run' and all three boys take off down the hill. The girls screamed when a pistol shot rang out throughout the forest. They saw a dark figure drop onto the ground.
Once in the forest, Bruce and Glenn realize that Dexter isn't there and Glenn tells Bruce he heard Dexter fall earlier. Glenn tells him to keep strong and they " ve got to keep moving. They walk out onto the dirt road and prepare themselves for the twenty mile hike towards town. A few minutes later they hear Buck coming down the road at full speed. Glenn darts into the shadow of the steep embankment on the side of the road. Bruce tries to get up the embankment but can't.
He runs as fast as his underdeveloped body will carry him. It's not until he sees the bright lights come around the bend trying to run him over on the icy road that he bursts into supernatural speed as he clears another corner and onto the embankment, finally making it this time. Falling onto the ground and having the breath knocked out of him, he looks at the car as it slams on the brakes and slides out of control and over the drop off. As he's laying there trying to catch his breath he hears his brother coming up behind him. Bruce is upset about Buck's wreck, and suggests that they check on him. Glenn tries to tell him that it wasn't his fault that Buck wrecked and that his suggestion of checking on Buck was wasn't smart and that they should get moving.
They fight over some recent issues. Bruce decides he will go check on Buck and that Glenn can go to town to be the hero like usual. Bruce went down the drop off rather slowly to the car. He tried to look through the fire and sees Buck dead. He realizes that the car might explode any time and he scurries up the very steep hill.
He walks back to the cabin. When he gets there he finds Rita reading a book. He walks over to the fire to get warm when she asked him where Buck was. He told her he was dead and she believed he was lying. She sauntered into her bedroom trying not to look as though she believed him.
Bruce walked into the girl's bedroom and to his surprise saw Dexter still alive on one of the beds lying down. He saw all the blood and thought of the worst. Jesse seemed to have read his mind when she said that the bullet only pierced a vain in his shoulder. Meanwhile back at the Garden Valley at Marianne's home her stepfather decides to go rescue the group of children.
He still awaits yet anther call from Juan to tell him he's got the ransom money from all parents. When the phone rang he answered to hear Juan's voice on the other side of the receiver. He lied through his teeth when he said that he had the money. Before he leaves he goes to the basement to get a pistol. Not being much of a marksman he didn't know how to handle the weapon.
After many times trying to load the gun he finally heard the click as he placed the clip into the handle. He placed the gun into his coat pocket as trying to find the paper with the directions towards the rendezvous between he and Juan. After coming upon the drive of the meeting place, which was a bright church with a special glaze of paint to reflect the sun, he realized that he ought to put the gun somewhere else. He figured one of the first things the man would do is check for any concealed weapons.
Looking for a spot in the car he thought the man might check the glove box so he rejected that idea. He stumbled upon a tear in the carpet a little under the seat from a spur on a pair of cowboy boots from one of the boys. He ripped it a little bit more and stuck the weapon a little further back close to the springs. He stepped out of the car and into the bright Sunday glow from the church. The little parking lot was full of cars for the mass. He walked into the church and waited.
A little Mexican man walked up to him and asked if he was waiting for anyone. He said yes and the man pointed into the direction of the parking lot. Juan asked him for the money and the father replied that it was in the trunk. Juan inspected the man for any weapons and decided that he was clean. He said that Juan will get the money once he sees his daughter. Juan finally agrees and takes him to the car to show him where to go.
Coming upon the cabin's trail, Marianne's father slammed on the brakes as he looked right into the eyes of Glenn Kirtland. Juan got out of the car to get him and the father reached for the gun. When Juan turned, he quickly hid the gun again in his pocket. They both returned and got into the car. Glenn cursed at them both about how he was almost there and if it wasn't for them he could " ve been the one to rescue them all. Once they arrived at the cabin he slowly eased the brakes until coming to a complete stop.
Juan and Glenn, knowing where they were going, went to the door leaving the dad alone to get the money. Upon entering the cabin, Juan asked him for the money. He replied quickly that first he needs to see his daughter. The children came out. There was a sudden movement by Glenn which attracted the attention on him long enough for Marianne's father to pull out the pistol.
He pistol whipped Juan and held the gun towards Rita. Rita suddenly started screaming in Spanish asking where Buck was. They told her he was dead and ordered her to put her hands above her head. He handed the gun to Glenn motioning him to stay here and watch the two as he went for the cops and took the others.
Evaluation: I thought the book was very exciting and suspenseful like her other books. The book had very good detail and an interesting plot. I liked the twist when Juan and the girl's father came upon Glenn walking down the road. I also liked how the author described the action in great detail.
It made me feel like I was right there seeing it all happen firsthand. I don't think that the author could " ve made this book any better than she did already.