By Jeffrey Deaver
Center Point Large Print, 2009, 597 pages ISBN 978-1-6028-5496-3
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Reviewed by Israel Drazin - October 23, 2009
This is another of best-selling author Jeffrey Deaver’s more than two dozen very suspenseful mystery novels, the third with Kathryn Dance as its principle character. There are two main plots and a host of interesting sub-plots.
A killer taunts the police by displaying a cross on the side of a highway with flowers and with the date that he or she will commit a murder. This occurs several times. Senior Detective Kathryn Dance must find the murderer before there are more killings.
As if this was not bother enough, Dance’s mother, a nurse, is being charged with a mercy killing by a prosecutor whose apparent goal is nothing more than making a name for himself with a well-publicized case. Her mother seems to be angry at her for spending time on the cross-killings instead of helping her.
The subplots include a possible romance for Dance with a computer expert, her infatuation with another man who is married and a minister leading disruptive right to life demonstrations.
There are also several postmodern scientific subplots that readers will find to be both informative and exciting. One is the concept of a "synthetic world" in which young people – teen-agers through men and women in their twenties - play computer games. The games impact upon the personality of the players who frequently find themselves living in a second life which they prefer over reality. Contrary to what people think, the games do not cause people to act violently, but they do dislocate many players from the real world.
A second scientific phenomenon that plays an important role in the novel is "kinesic analysis." "Kinesis" means reaction or response. This is an ability that Dance has, the ability to read and interpret body signals, facial expressions and hand, body and leg movements. Yet, despite her ability, is Dance capable of reading the body signals of the murder suspects? Does she make mistakes? Can she see what the computer expert and the married man feel about her? Can she read her own reactions?
The third is the psychological effects of internet blogs both on blog writers and readers. People write their ideas on the internet and people react, frequently strangely to what has been written. Can blogs become addictive and, if so, to what extent?
In short, the novel is filled with a good story, with both suspense and ideas, and readers will find a lot to enjoy.
Dr. Israel Drazin is the author of fifteen books, including a series of five volumes on the Aramaic translation of the Hebrew Bible and a series of four books on the twelfth century philosopher Moses Maimonides, the latest being Maimonides: Reason Above All, published by Gefen Publishing House, www.israelbooks.com.