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Paying the Piper

3.96  ·  Rating Details ·  2,098 Ratings  ·  154 Reviews

For years, the serial kidnapper known as the Piper got rich by abducting children from San Francisco’s wealthiest families.

When crime reporter Scott Fleetwood gets a call from a man identifying himself as the Piper and offers an exclusive interview, Fleetwood jumps at the chance. But the caller turns out to be a fake, and the rash decision costs the life of the real Piper’

Kindle Edition, 374 pages
Published November 13th 2012 by Thomas & Mercer (first published October 30th 2007)
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Apr 27, 2015 MissSusie rated it really liked it
I could not put this book down; I read it in 2 days. This was my second book by this author I read his book “The One That Got Way” thanks to the Kindle First Program and loved it so I thought I’d try another one and this one grabbed me just as fast as the first one I read. If you are a fan of Harlan Coben I think you will like Wood’s books too.

This book had some edge of your seat moments and also a lot of What Ifs? Or What would you do? I also figured something out early, but thought it was a gr
Apr 12, 2011 Ed rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not a big fan of the child-in-peril thrillers. That said, Simon Wood keeps that part within the respectable PG-13 bounds in Paying the Piper. We've been table-of-content mates in short fiction anthologies. I liked his sense of pace, nifty plot twists, and well-drawn characters, particularly the law enforcement types. His writing is forceful but smooth. In short, I spent several nights following his heroes and villains in print with enlivened interest, and I remained entertained until the sur ...more
Andrea Susan
May 29, 2016 Andrea Susan rated it it was amazing
Fast paced book that despite dealing with a haunting subject gives a great read.
Elizabeth A.
Aug 29, 2013 Elizabeth A. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Eight years ago a serial kidnapper known as the Piper terrorized San Francisco. He successfully snatched child after child from the city’s wealthiest families, holding them until a ransom was paid. In every case, he collected the ransom and returned the child unharmed. Until crime reporter Scott Fleetwood got involved, that is. Contacted by someone claiming to be the Piper, Fleetwood withheld information from the police and FBI, bent on chasing the story–and resulting book deal and fame. Only ...more
Jaidis Shaw
Aug 06, 2011 Jaidis Shaw rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you’re looking to get pulled in and pumped up by a truly kick-ass suspense novel, then this book is for you! Simon Wood’s Paying the Piper is a pure adrenaline rush that will have you hanging by the edge of your seat while clawing at your heartstrings. Mr. Wood tells the tale of a parent’s worst nightmare, the kidnapping of a child and the unrelenting attempts to get them back! The excitement begins as soon as you open the book, the story moving along at a swift and thrilling pace. The ...more
Kathleen Hagen
Paying the Piper, by Simon Wood, a-minus, Narrated by Mel Foster, Produced by Brilliance Audio, Downloaded from

Crime reporter Scott Fleetwood involved himself in trying to bring “The Piper” to justice. The Piper earned his reputation by kidnapping children from the wealthiest families asking for millions, and always getting it for the return of the child. But in this case something goes wrong and the boy is killed. Now, eight years later, The Piper surfaces again, this time kidnappi
Apr 25, 2012 Sandy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nook, own
I had so many “ah” moments with this book that I just have to give it 5 stars! One night I woke up frantically wondering if my own children where in their beds, only to realize they were either sleeping in their college dorm room or living at their own house…. that’s how drawn in I got. This is a first-rate thriller that kept me on the edge of my seat all the way through till the end. It’s a parent’s worse nightmare to have your child abducted from you and the author does a great job playing ...more
Aug 26, 2013 Karen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Do not read this book if you can't handle kids in jeopardy. I did not realize I was so sensitive to this until I picked up Paying the Piper.
The stress level was incredible and was continually getting stronger as the pages flipped by. Very strong characters, a nice description of San Francisco and the Bay Area, and heart stopping drama. Simon seems like such a nice guy in person, who knew the depths of his talent?
Sep 13, 2014 Joan rated it really liked it
Paying the Piper is the most interesting book I've read in several months. The characters are drawn completely and compellingly, the plot is delightfully and believably complex and filled with unexpected turns, and the pace is rapid while still not leaving the reader behind. If half-stars were available I would have rated this one 4 1/2 stars (I assign a 5-star rating only if there is also significant literary value.) Just for pure reading enjoyment, this book has it all.
Jennifer Jaynes
Dec 29, 2014 Jennifer Jaynes rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Grabbed me from the opening scene and I worried about Sammy (the kidnapped child) throughout. Great writing, character development and suspense. Will be reading more of this author's work.
Jul 01, 2015 Kristi rated it it was amazing
Definitely my favorite Simon Wood book so far.
Wendy Van dyk
Oct 06, 2014 Wendy Van dyk rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really enjoyed this book
Dixie Petersen
Oct 03, 2016 Dixie Petersen rated it it was amazing
Shelves: enjoyed-it
An exceptional storyline! So many twists along the way, it keeps you guessing right up to the end!

When you read the blurbs about a book and see a word like "kidnap", I kind of get an inward groan, much like, ”ugh . . . another one!" I didn't get that vibe from this one. I could tell from the start it was going to be different, and, it definitely was -- and well worth reading!

Excellent, rather unique storyline, with a family falling victim to another's hate. All the characters were written to be
Aimee Thorpe
Sep 25, 2016 Aimee Thorpe rated it it was amazing
I Highly Recommend This Book!

I can't say enough about Simon Wood! About a year ago I stumbled upon one of his books because of my Kindle Unlimited plan. I got it free. I didn't think it would be that good if it was free. But I was blown away by what a great Mystery & Suspense writer he is. I finished the book in about 5 hours and started searching for more of his books.

I just downloaded Paying The Piper and started reading it. You can not put this book down! It starts off right in the middle
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Shirley Wetzel
Feb 21, 2013 Shirley Wetzel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Paying the Piper, by Simon Wood, was published in 2007, but is experiencing a well-deserved surge of popularity. Scott Fleetwood, a crime reporter in San Francisco, is going about his daily life one minute, and in the next finds himself trapped in a parent's worst nightmare. His young son Sammy has been abducted. As Scott drives frantically to the school where his wife and the police are waiting for him, his cell phone rings, and the nightmare escalates to an unbearable height. He last heard the ...more
Mar 23, 2009 Laurie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction-other
Paying the Piper is an action-packed book that will leave any adrenaline reader begging for more. Scott Fleetwood is a reporter who built his career on a kidnapper named The Piper. While writing about the Piper's 7th kidnapping, Fleetwood is duped by an impersonator and he leads the FBI astray in his investigation. As a result of this, the Piper is forced to kill the child he abducted and forgo his collection of the ransom. Many years later, this mysterious man resurfaces but this time his ...more
Amy Marbach
Jan 24, 2014 Amy Marbach rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Years ago a serial kidnapper, known only as THE PIPER, terrorized the affluent of the Bay area. He would kidnap their children for ransom. The children were returned unharmed after he received his bounty. Local police and FBI were unable to track him. Until one day he contacted local crime reporter Scott Fleetwood, regarding his newest kidnap victim. Fleetwood, however, only THOUGHT he was dealing with the PIPER when in fact he was dealing with someone else. Because of this misstep, the boy ...more
Nancy Silk
Feb 08, 2015 Nancy Silk rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Compelling Thriller One Can't Put Down"

This is another fantastic, engaging thriller written by awesome author Simon Wood. In this story Scott Fleetwood is a reporter for San Francisco Independent newspaper. He and his wife, Jane, have two young sons, twins Sammy and Peter, who attend a private school. Scott has received a call from his wife who's at the school...Sammy has disappeared. As Scott runs toward the school doors, his cell phone rings: a harsh voice, robotic and demonic... a voice he h
Dec 07, 2015 Judi rated it really liked it
Action packed

Scott Fleetwood, who is a reporter, receives a call from the serial kidnapper The Piper. The piper kidnaps children and then releases them after the ransom has been met. Scott knows that this is the story that is going to make him famous. He quits his job and goes out on his own. Book deals, he's famous. But this turns bad quickly. When the caller is not the real Piper, but a fake and is arrested, the real Piper executes the latest kidnapping victim.

Scotts life spirals downhill as e
Gerald Sinstadt
Nov 25, 2012 Gerald Sinstadt rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
Simon Wood has enough titles - and enough awards - to his credit to know that he has a loyal readership. Perhaps they will welcome Paying the Piper but someone new to this author may feel uninspired by a familiar plot, some cardboard characters and clichéd writing: "... in this day and age" on only the second page.

Scott Fleetwood is a journalist who covered past kidnappings by 'The Piper.' Now his own child has been snatched. Tom Shiels, the FBI agent assigned to the case, also has personal issu
Apr 29, 2013 Cheryl rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I enjoy this author - Simon Wood

If you want to read a suspenseful book, pick up a Simon Wood novel. He's a master at twists and turns in his books.

"Paying the Piper" starts out with the return of a serial kidnapper - after a hiatus of eight years. Scott Fleetwood, a crime reporter, was duped by a fake kidnapper eight years ago and feels incredible guilt that a little boy was killed at that time. The real Piper is back and has kidnapped one of Fleetwood's twin sons and the storyline really goes o
Sheila Beaumont
In this first-rate thriller, a serial kidnapper known as the Piper, who has been quiescent for eight years, abducts the eight-year-old twin son of reporter Scott Fleetwood. Unlike the previous kidnappings, this one is more for revenge than money, in retaliation for Scott's having thwarted him in collecting the $2 million ransom for his last kidnapping and making him murder his young victim, something he had never resorted to before. He wants to make Scott suffer as much as possible.

If there were
Apr 23, 2015 Terralyn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is hands down one of the best books I've read in this genre. I was sucked into the story line from the very beginning and that feeling never relented. The character development and relationships were outstanding. Though there were many twists and turns, the author succeeded in making the pieces fit into the puzzle. The author preys on the reader's sympathy, fear, and feelings of right and wrong, leaving the reader wanting to read more in order to reconcile their own conflicting feelings. ...more
Patricia K Batta
Aug 26, 2015 Patricia K Batta rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a fast paced thriller where the stakes kept going up and the twists kept this reader on her toes. It seems that a serial kidnapper returns after eight years and targets the son of a reporter who messed up his last job, forcing him to kill that child, something he had never done before. But it isn't that straightforward a kidnapping, and the reporter as will as the FBI are stymied by the antics of the kidnapper. You probably won't guess the ending, but you will realize it was ...more
Cathy Ryan
Gripping and tense with lots of twists and dramatic moments in the story make this an excellent thriller. You really feel for Scott and the agonies he goes through to get his boys back by whatever means possible. And just when you think it's all over comes another twist. Good plot which keeps you guessing throughout (wrongly in my case!) and a real roller coaster ride with a great ending.
Wasn't overly keen on the narrator but that's just a personal choice of course. I read the Kindle version als
Apr 04, 2015 Kerrie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a gripping read, lots of hold-your-breath moments.

Scott Fleetwood has lived with the guilt of the Piper's last abduction eight years before. He had thought like a journalist rather than a human being and hesitation cost a child's life. The note pn the victim's chest - "You are to blame" - said it all, but now, eight years on, the Piper brings it all much closer to home when he takes one of Scott's twin sons.

This story really is a roller coaster ride and there are some elements further do
Francis T. Villante
Jul 19, 2014 Francis T. Villante rated it it was amazing
Piper paid

Piper paid

this was a very exciting and fast moving book.the main character is a kidnapper who kidnaps children from rich families, he got away with it seven times but had to kill the last kid when a newspaper reporter was duped by a man who mimicked the kidnapper known as the Piper. 8 years later he is terrorized by the Piper when his kids are apprehended by piper. then the real fun starts. definitely a page Turner. I would recommend this book to everyone.
Mar 01, 2011 Cindy-lee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Do NOT start this book if you have any intentions of getting anything else done before you finish it! My favourite Simon Wood book to date. This thriller had my heart pounding, my blood boiling, and my thumb sore from hitting the page button. An exciting, electric, page-turning masterpiece, worth every second it takes to fly through it. From start to finish, this book has more twists and turns than a pretzel factory, and the ending will astound you. Well done Simon Wood!

Jill Burkinshaw
Apr 21, 2015 Jill Burkinshaw rated it it was amazing
Another brilliant book by Simon Wood. This has the reader gripped from the first chapter and you just have to keep turning the pages. You think you have the abductor sussed then there is another twist. The final chapters are full of so many twists and turns you cant wait for it to end but don't want it to end.

Obviously very well researched love the characters. This is the 4th Simon Wood book I have read all unique and all absolutely riveting. I will be reading many more by this author.
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Simon Wood is a California transplant from England. He's an ex-competitive racecar driver, a licensed pilot and an occasional private investigator. He shares his world with his American wife, Julie. Their lives are dominated by a longhaired dachshund and five cats. In the last ten years, he's had over 150 stories and articles published. His stories have been included in “Best of” anthologies and ...more
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