The Birthday Party is Stanley N. Alpert's true story of the night in 1998 he was kidnapped in New York by gang members. They made Alpert, an assistant federal attorney, take money from an ATM, and when they saw he had $(removed),000 in his account, they drove him to an apartment while they came up with a plan to get the money.
Alpert had to employ every psychological trick in the book to keep his captors from killing him.
From the New York Times' review:
There are many tense moments. Sen, without warning, begins raving, screaming out sick, violent fantasies of murder and mayhem. "I remained frozen in sheer terror, silent and unflinching, hoping he would not act," Mr. Alpert writes. Gradually, he realizes that Sen is singing along to a Busta Rhymes rap on the radio.
When the gang offers Mr. Alpert free sex with one of the women, he calculates feverishly. A refusal might be interpreted as racism. On the other hand, the loss of dignity might make him seem less sympathetic, easier to inflict pain on. He says no, very politely.
Mr. Alpert and his captors inhabit different worlds. The men laugh at Mr. Alpert's $(removed) Florsheim shoes. They examine his watch and ring with contempt. They cannot understand why, at his age, he is not married with children. Mr. Alpert tells them that his parents wonder the same thing. His money earns him a measure of respect, and, as the hours drag on, Ren and Sen ask for free, much appreciated legal advice.