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Friday, August 30, 2013

Without Beloved Characters, Deaver's Newest Might Not Be Worth the Read

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

(Note:  While this review will not contain spoilers for The Kill Room, it may inadvertently reveal plot surprises from earlier Lincoln Rhyme novels.  As always, I recommend reading books in a series in order.)

When Robert Moreno, an outspoken "anti-American American" is murdered in a hotel room in the Bahamas, it's clear he's not just a victim of some random crime.  He was clearly targeted.  The question is by whom.  A million-to-one sniper shot like the one that killed Moreno couldn't have been fired by any old marksman.  Nance Laurel, a no-nonsense ADA in New York City, thinks the kill order came from the U.S. government.  All she needs is proof.  Which is why she hires an independent forensics consultant.  Not just any consultant, but the brilliant Lincoln Rhyme.  The former head of NYPD forensics, Rhyme's been wheelchair-bound since being shot on the job.  Quadriplegia notwithstanding, the criminalist always gets his man using his vast experience and tireless knowledge of forensics.  Taking on the government, though, might be a little much even for Rhyme.  

Nevertheless, Rhyme can't resist a good mystery and Moreno's murder certainly is that.  With the help of Amelia Sachs, his beautiful assistant (and lover), he starts tracking down evidence in the case.  Well, trying to, anyway.  The Bahamanian police aren't exactly helpful, not even to the great Lincoln Rhyme.  When witnesses start disappearing, he and Sachs know they haven't much time to solve the case.  If they don't find Moreno's killer soon, more people will die.  They can't let that happen.  

Even as Rhyme and Sachs work the case, they've got other problems to deal with, both of a professional nature and a personal one.  Can the dynamic duo figure it all out?  Or will this be the one case they can't solve?  

Ever since I read The Bone Collector, I've loved the characters in Jeffery Deaver's popular Lincoln Rhyme series.  Both Rhyme and Sachs are interesting, sympathetic story people whose devotion to their jobs makes them admirable as well.  Deaver's plots move quickly, making his novels fast, thrilling reads made unique by their irascible quadriplegic hero and the author's ability to explain the details of forensic science in a way that's not just clear, but also exciting.  That being said, I've been a little less entranced by recent books in the series.  The newest being no exception.  The Kill Room is still a fast, twisty read, it's just kind of generic.  The secondary characters are kind of flat and so is Deaver's prose.  Without the characters I so enjoy, this one probably wouldn't have been worth the read.  With them, it turned out to be just okay for me.  Oh well. 

(Readalikes:  Reminds me of other books in the Lincoln Rhyme series [The Bone Collector; The Coffin Dancer; The Empty Chair; The Stone Monkey; The Vanished Man; The Twelfth Card; The Cold Moon; The Broken Window; The Burning Wire; and XO] and the Tempe Brennan series by Kathy Reichs [Deja Dead; Death Du Jour; Deadly Decisions; Fatal Voyage; Grave Secrets; Bare Bones; Monday Mourning; Cross Bones; Break No Bones; Bones to Ashes; Devil Bones; 206 Bones; Spider Bones; Flash and Bones; Bones Are Forever; and Bones of the Lost)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for strong language, violence/gore, and sexual content

To the FTC, with love:  Another library fine find


  1. I've only read 3 of Deaver's books - the Kathryn Dance books. I enjoyed them well enough but either his writing is going WAY downhill or I'm becoming more critical, because XO was a great story, but I thought the prose was pretty bad. I've been meaning to read the Lincoln Rhyme books (I liked what I saw of him in the Dance books) but I'm a bit wary of reading any more at the moment in case I can't switch off my inner editor and can't enjoy it as I should.

  2. Thank you for saying it better than I had earlier :) I reviewed this a couple of months ago and had a hard time explaining how I enjoyed Lincoln and Sachs, but that this wasn't his best outing. His books are hit or miss for me. I also enjoyed his other series with Kathryn Dance, though she has none of the uniqueness of the Lincoln Rhyme series.


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