Friday, January 26, 2007

Characters Shine Above the Gore in Deaver's Newest

It's hard to explain why I like Jeffery Deaver so much. His books are gory, violent and full of some of the vilest criminals on the bestseller list. But, they're also home to one of the most interesting protaganist I've encountered in a long time - quadriplegic criminologist Lincoln Rhyme (Just to be accurate, not all of Deaver's books are about Rhyme, but the ones I like are). In fact, like his creator, it's hard to explain why I like Lincoln Rhyme so much. He's abrupt, rude and intolerant of even the slightest human error. If I encountered him in real life, I would be terrified of him. On the page, however, he is brilliant, fascinating and even hilarious in a dark, wry kind of way. His girlfriend and professional partner, ex-model Amelia Sachs is almost - but not quite - as interesting. So, I guess the reason I like Deaver so much is because his characters are so good that I'll wade through all the blood and gore just to find out what happens to them.

Anyway, if you are a Rhyme-Sacs fan, you should definitely grab their newest adventure, Cold Moon. It pits the formiddable criminologists against The Watchmaker, a killer whose calling cards are the old-fashioned clocks he leaves next to his victims' bodies. As Rhyme and his team investigate the murders, they uncover more questions than answers. Meanwhile, Sachs has her own case to worry about - the homicide of a businessman - which she suspects points to crooked cops. To complicate the matters more for Sachs, her investigation also reveals some unpleasant rumors about her revered father, which trouble her enough to quit police work altogether. When The Watchmaker case turns upsidedown, Rhyme and Sachs realize they are dealing with a killer far more brilliant and dangerous than they ever suspected.

As with the rest of the Rhyme-Sacs books, this one takes a close and fascinating look at the work of forensic science. It's also a testament to Deaver's genius that he has come up with another plot full up twists, turns and many layers of subterfuge. My only real complaint with the story is a "girly" one - Deaver only briefly mentions Rhyme and Sachs' personal relationship. Otherwise, it's an intense, page-turning thriller with characters that you'll miss long after you close the book.

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