Quadriplegic ex-cop criminalist Lincoln Rhyme’s latest larger-than-life quarry is a man who invades the apartments of sleeping women and ignores their bodies, preferring to mess with their heads.
Chagrined that Rhyme’s expert testimony ends up persuading several jurors that gangster Viktor Buryak is actually innocent of the murder of laundromat chain owner Alekos Gregorios, Alonzo Rodriguez, head of the Detective Bureau, orders the NYPD to sever all ties with outside contractors, imperiling not only Rhyme’s long and fruitful association with the department, but maybe even his marriage to Detective Amelia Sachs. The timing of this announcement is especially unfortunate because Rhyme has just begun to work on identifying the Locksmith, who’s broken into the homes of fashion marketer and influencer Annabelle Talese and two earlier victims, rearranged their tchotchkes, helped himself to a snack, left behind an unsettling note on a page from the tabloid Daily Herald, and locked the door behind him on his exit. The Locksmith, whose point of view Deaver periodically enters, goes on to commit two more break-ins without violence, leaving Rhyme increasingly frustrated and readers wondering if anybody else will ever get killed. The news that Averell Whittaker, longtime publisher of the Herald, is liquidating the scandal sheet to fund a foundation on journalistic ethics may seem to add a more homely dimension to the Locksmith’s spree. But what Whittaker’s plans really add are new layers of criminal complications that take a hundred pages to wind down. Some readers will be aghast in admiration at the nonstop revelations, others impatient for every last T to be crossed so that they can turn the last page and get to sleep before dawn.
In the end, everyone will agree that there’s no other detective under the midnight moon like Lincoln Rhyme.