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Held Up

3.31  ·  Rating details ·  36 Ratings  ·  19 Reviews
How far do you go to rescue your child?

Paul van Niekirk, a successful white South African is held up at gun-point when driving his new BMW. He's dragged out and his abductor drives off in his car. It's an everyday car jacking. Except his nine-month old daughter is in the back seat. As a pacifist, Paul is reluctant to carry a gun, but he descends into the heart of darkness
Paperback, 384 pages
Published July 19th 2012 by Headline (first published July 1st 2012)
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Jul 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
Christopher Radmann's debut novel, Held Up, is a tragic and brutal journey into the darkness of a grieving, and guilty, mind. Inspired by Radmann's own experiences, and that of family and friends, of living in South Africa, Radmann paints a vivid picture of a country that is divided by not only race, but wealth and violence.

On the way to meet his wife after purchasing a new BMW, South African Paul Van Niekerk falls victim to car jacking. Paul survives, but after the shock of the incident wears o
Shaz Goodwin
Jul 23, 2012 rated it liked it
Held Up begins one second after the hijack. The reader is introduced to how life is - violence and mistrust are common experiences. One minute after the hijack, Paul is reflecting on how difficult Chantal’s conception was and how he felt at her birth. One hour afterwards he tells his wife, Claire (having waited for the police and then related everything at the station). From this moment on, the reader is caught up in the pain and grief of Paul’s journey – the changes experienced as a direct resu ...more
Jul 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
I received this book as an uncorrected proof copy- I had not heard of the author, so was intrigued to find out more. I started reading, and was hooked! It`s set in South Africa, an area that Christopher Radmann knows well, as he hails from there- his knowledge, & unique insight into the area, its beauty, and also problems, is very apparent.

It`s the story of Paul van Niekerk, who is a contented man, his family means everything to him. Then, one day, whilst waiting at traffic lights, someone
Alex Rogers
Jun 13, 2017 rated it did not like it
I wanted to enjoy this, and it is written about a country dear to my heart - but I really disliked the main character, and found him so annoying I didn't want to read about how he resolved his awful situation.
Jul 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This is not an easy book to read.

The plot is about a family ripped apart by a car-jacking. Paul Van Niekirk is held up at gunpoint, and his new car stolen, with his 9 month old baby daughter, Chantal, in the back. The story continues for 10 years, as Paul descends into alchohol, madness, violence, murder, destitution and finally finds redemption as a consequence.

But the book isn't about that really. Radmann is clever with language, he plays with it, using puns and wordplay to weave different con
Jul 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
In late 1990s post-apartheid South Africa, white advertising executive Paul is on the way home in his new BMW when he is carjacked and the vehicle is stolen. In the shock of the moment Paul doesn’t instantly remember that his nine-month-old daughter Chantal was also in the car, but soon realises that she too has been lost. “Held Up” follows Paul’s journey to find his daughter, to come to terms with what has happened and to find his place in a nation divided by race, poverty and violence.

The cove
Aug 06, 2012 rated it it was ok
Held Up is set in the 1990s ‘New’ South Africa when the country is going through great upheavals. Paul van Niekirk, a successful white businessman is carjacked at gunpoint when he is stopped at traffic lights. He is dragged from the car and his car is driven off – with his nine-month-old daughter Chantal still in the back seat.

From this moment Paul and his wife Claire’s lives are irrevocably changed and Paul will stop at nothing to find out what has happened to his daughter. He will put his sani
Aug 03, 2012 rated it liked it
*************3 TO 3 AND A HALF STARS*************

Paul Van Niekerk is being held up by gun point for his car, he thinks that he will draw his last breath, but he is left almost unharmed. When the adrenaline settles and he is out of harm’s way - as the car is driving off - he realises that there is something worse than death that has happened. His daughter, only 9 months of age, is in that car. What will happen to her? Will they kill her, or worse? The thoughts of what could have been, the questio
Gill Chedgey
Aug 01, 2012 rated it it was ok
During these times of economic recession I would guess a publisher has to be pretty confident of publishing a new writer in order to get a decent return on the initial investment. And so I approached this novel with a trust that it would be a worthwhile read.

But I’m sorry to say that I didn’t like it. I’m not sure whether it was the subject matter or the writing style.

The story as a whole made me feel very uncomfortable but I think it was supposed to and there’s nothing wrong in that. However wh
Jo Barton
Jul 18, 2012 rated it liked it
Paul Van Neikerk is a successful white South African, contented with his status in life, and proud of his new BMW. When he is stopped at gunpoint and made to hand over the keys to his new car, it’s either comply, or be killed. Watching his new car speed away from him, Paul realises that his nine month old baby daughter is still in the car. What then follows is a tense and unbearably detailed account of how Paul’s life, and that of his wife, Claire, spirals into a nightmare of uncertainty and fea ...more
Aug 01, 2012 rated it liked it
Held Up is the debut novel from Christopher Radmann.
Paul van Niekerk is car-jacked at gunpoint at traffic lights. Perhaps not unusual against the setting of South Africa. However, this car jacking is different. His daughter is in the back seat of the car. This begins a spiral for Paul that changes his life.

‘Their longed-for miracle. Now miraculously vanished. He must get her back’
The blurb seems to promise action, thrills and an all-out on edge novel set against the back drop of 1990’s South A
Feb 04, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Held Up is the debut novel by Christopher Radmann and tells the story of his life after his car is hijacked with his daughter in it. It is set in South Africa and starts in the 1990's.

Radmann uses a lot of Afrikaans words and there is a lot of focus on racial differences. I would have preferred the book if there was a glossary of the Afrikaans words as at times I found it hard to understand. I found the many paragraphs about racial differences a bit boring - although it is important in the story
Carol Anne
Aug 03, 2012 rated it liked it
Held Up is a dark, brooding story of how one man's life and convictions seem to dissolve around him after the kidnap of his daughter. The dialogue is sparse and stark and the narrative refuses to ebb and flow, instead making the reader follow Paul as he tries to make sense of himself and his situation. The story is compelling, with a flat realism that doesn't allow room for dramatics even in the most dramatic situations.

The novel shows the reader different sides of South Africa; wealth and secu
Lynn Brown
Jul 31, 2012 rated it liked it
This is a harrowing tale of how one moment in time can change your life forever. A book of what if.... and if only.... I was ok with the book in the beginning but I felt that the trauma of what had happened was dragged out for too long over the first week. The book then picked up speed when the central character took matters in hand only for it to slip again. Not a book I wanted to get back to, probably due to the traumatic contents rather than the writing. Not knowing any Afrikaans sometimes th ...more
Oct 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-read-2012
A book set in South Africa, it starts of with a normal guy picking up his new BMW. He is held up on a slipway and his new car is stolen.

So far, so bad.

Then he remembers his 9 month old daughter, Chantal, is in the car still. Him and his wife go through hell and back in the initial days following her abduction, and slowly their live fall apart. He plumbs the depth of his brutality to get a lead as to where she has gone, and tries to follow a lead that evaporates all too quickly.

Following the dest
Jul 19, 2012 rated it it was ok
Christopher Radmann's debut novel is a difficult read in two ways. It is a difficult subject and is set in a country where violence is very common place, I also found it difficult because of the style of writing.
I wouldn't say that it is all badly written, but there are parts that really annoyed me. Radmann 'does' violence and description very well, but I found it so hard to relate to his characters. They were quite cold and often emotionless.
I did learn things about South Africa, a country that
Jul 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: real-readers
This was perhaps not the best book to read as a first-time parent who is afraid of their own inadequacies hurting their child... Held Up, at least the first part, made me very uncomfortable. I wasn't sure I'd enjoy it.

Then the plot took an unexpected turn and I felt myself much more drawn into the environment of the 'new' South Africa. Overall, I was expecting one type of novel, but I got another -- and in this case, it's a very good thing.
Karin Wollina
Jul 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I just finished the audiobook version. I was fascinated by the story, even I f I too expected another kind of book based on the blurb. What I found was a story about fear, loss and finding your life again in a brutal country that is finding his way into the present and future.
I liked the narrator, but don`t know if he did the south african english right, but he did a very good job.
I really hope there will be more books by Christoper Radmann, I surely will read them.

Sep 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
incredible debut novel, harrowing and brilliantly written
Miss Nicola Shepherd
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Christopher Radmann is from South Africa but has lived in England for the last twelve years. He is Head of Sixth Form and Head of English at a boarding school in Hampshire, England, where he lives with his wife and two children.
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