Scott Fleetwood is a news reporter with a past connected to the Piper, a person who kidnapped children, made heavy demands and always received payment for returning the child -- except for the last one, whom he killed. The FBI held Scott partially responsible for the death of the boy, since The Piper spoke to the world through Scott's column. At least, Scott thought that the man was the Piper. While Scott sat on information the FBI could have used to locate the kidnapper, all eyes focused on the man pretending to be the Piper. Then the real kidnapper became angry and punished them all with the death of the child.
Years later, the Piper is back. And he has made a personal statement by taking one of Scott's twin boys. FBI agent Tom Sheils made the Piper case a personal commitment, so the Fleetwood case is his assignment. Still harboring ill feelings toward Scott, the two go at it until Scott's wife demands they put personal feelings aside for the child's sake.
Scott frantically tries to compile the ransom. The father of the little boy killed by the Piper all those years ago comes to his rescue with financial help. The FBI set up camp in Scott's home, but Scott has a gut feeling that the Piper isn't going to let his son go free. This is a personal vendetta for Scott's role in the past. Even while Scott is under FBI protection, the Piper manages to slip him a cell phone. The Piper demands Scott keep their conversations secret if he wants to see his child alive.
When the scheduled drop off goes awry, the Piper kidnaps Scott's other son as additional punishment. Frantic to save his sons, Scott agrees to any terms laid out by the Piper. He's devastated as each plan the FBI forms is foiled. No one can outsmart the Piper, but Scott is going to try. He has to in order to make up for the past and get his children back alive. Scott Fleetwood is not a perfect man, but he's a perfect example of a father who will do anything for his children.
Simon Wood continues to excite readers with his second thriller's suspenseful twists and turns. Full of angst and anticipation, PAYING THE PIPER is another fine example of a story you won't be able to put down until you've read the last page.