By Vanessa Juarez
January 19, 2007 at 05:00 AM EST

The Birthday Party

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I’m not sure that you’d call Stanley N. Alpert’s night out in New York City on Jan. 21, 1998, a party. On his way home from a date, the assistant U.S. attorney was kidnapped by a trio of thugs who psychologically tortured him for 26 hours before letting him go. The Birthday Party, his account of the abduction, is riveting, but the story of what happens after sometimes bogs down in repetitive details that read like an affidavit (it must be the prosecutor in him). You get the sense that Alpert was a bit self-aware in writing about himself, which only makes you wish you could have gotten to know him better.

The Birthday Party

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