The creator of quadriplegic criminalist Lincoln Rhyme (The Cold Moon, 2006, etc.) presents a new supersleuth to match wits with his latest supervillain.
Kathryn Dance is a specialist in interrogation kinesics. She’s so good at reading the tiniest movements of the people she’s talking to that she’s a human lie detector. She’s the obvious person for the California Bureau of Investigation to send to interrogate Daniel Pell eight years after the slaughter of computer expert William Croyton and his family landed him in a maximum-security prison for life. Pell is now under suspicion in another cold case. But Dance doesn’t have much chance to use her vaunted skills, because hours after her chat with Pell, he escapes in a movie-ready set piece and goes on the lam with the accomplice who helped break him out. Pell’s long-range plan is to form a new cult-like Family to replace the three women who were captured along with him and retreat to a private mountaintop he owns. But first he means to protect himself from every possible threat to his future welfare, and that means killing—Theresa Croyton, the daughter who survived her family’s murder? Morton Nagle, the fishy true-crime writer who’s researching a book on the case? The three Family members Dance has brought together in an uneasy reunion? Dance and her colleagues in the CBI and the Monterey prosecutor’s office? The action sequences organized around sightings of Pell and attempts to protect potential victims are expertly staged, and no one in the business can match Deaver’s gift for palming an ace under your nose while he tricks you into looking the other way. Longtime fans, however, will see several twists coming and—sensing the approach of Deaver’s most unwisely beloved convention, the false-bottom epilogue—will know enough to skip the last 50 pages.
A professional, forgettable barn-burner.