On January 21, 1998, the night before his thirty-eighth birthday, federal prosecutor Stanley Alpert was kidnapped off the streets of Manhattan. This is the story of what happened next. . . . Alpert was taken by a carful of gun-toting thugs looking to use his ATM card, but when they learned his bank balance the plan changed. They took him, blindfolded with his own scarf, to a Brooklyn apartment, with the idea of going to a bank the next day and withdrawing most of his money. But the later it got, the more the plan changed again . . . and again . . . as his captors alternately held guns to his head, threatened his family, engaged him in discussions of "gangsta" philosophy, sought his legal advice, and, once they learned it was his birthday, offered him sexual favors from their prostitute girlfriends as a "birthday present." All the while, Alpert, still blindfolded, talked with them, played on their attitudes and fears, tried to figure out where their mood swings would take them next, and memorized every detail he could in the event that he ever managed to get out of there alive. In the meantime, his friends and law enforcement colleagues, worried that they hadn't heard from him, launched a major police and FBI investigation. It, too, would take many twists and turns before it was done-and some of them would be very strange indeed. Filled with immediacy, drama, and extraordinary characters, told not only from Alpert's memory and notes but from police reports, interviews with NYPD detectives, FBI agents, and witnesses, videotaped confessions, and court records, The Birthday Partyreads like a thriller-but every word is true.