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by Jeffery Deaver

Pub Date: Nov. 28th, 2023
ISBN: 9780593422113
Publisher: Putnam

Step right up to see quadriplegic criminalist Lincoln Rhyme match wits with Charles Vespasian Hale, the Watchmaker, who terrorizes New York while he prepares to attack his nemesis head-on.

Whoever sabotaged Garry Helprin’s crane, disturbing its delicate balance until it crashed 22 stories onto East 89th Street, has sent a demand that the city immediately stop building skyscrapers to accommodate the elite and earmark billions for affordable housing. The manifesto, signed The Kommunalka Project, threatens to sabotage a new high-profile building project every day until the city comes around, which of course it’s not going to do. Instead, Det. Lon Sellitto of the NYPD’s Major Crimes Unit entreats Rhyme, his old partner, to help identify the perpetrators before they can do any more damage. Meanwhile, Hale, identified from the beginning as the prime mover behind the plot, kills a broker who saw something incriminating that nobody else can identify and an accomplice he’d been using as an inside man who could get him close enough to Rhyme to kill him. Working with both advanced technologies and hydrofluoric acid, an ancient poison time has never improved, Hale keeps a step ahead of his pursuers, constantly planting new false leads, while Rhyme, together with Det. Amelia Sachs—his wife and forensic partner—and diverse members of the NYPD, the FBI, and the ATF work feverishly to uncover the real motive behind the hollow pretense that the terrorists are out for social justice. As usual, Deaver pulls so many rabbits from his hat that you come to await each new one impatiently, and his final surprise, though not entirely predictable, isn’t all that surprising either.

An also-ran among Deaver’s Greatest Hits that would do any lesser suspense-monger proud.