Jeffery Deaver is a writer who scores hit after hit with his intensely diabolical thrillers. His most popular books feature the investigative team of Lincoln Rhyme and Amelia Sachs, and he has written numerous novels with them in the lead roles. But a few years ago he introduced a California Bureau of Investigation agent named Kathryn Dance, who helped Lincoln with a case on which he and Amelia were working. She is especially gifted in the area of Kinesics, which is the study of body language.
After her appearance in that book, Deaver started a new series of novels that featured her in the lead. SOLITUDE CREEK is the latest Dance novel. As is generally the case Rhyme and Sachs only get a brief mention in this story. We do however learn even more about Dance's personal life. She is a widow and has two children. Her parents are alive and help her take care of them. Kathryn also has a boyfriend named Jon and the two of them are getting more and more serious in their relationship.
As her personal life improves her job situation worsens. She makes a mistake on a case and is pretty much relegated to desk duty. Her weapon is taken away from her. This is embarrassing since she prides herself on her skills set and her ability to be a strong member of the CBI. Without letting her boss know she manages to keep involved with a case in which a heinous criminal is causing panic at several crowded venues. Once a crowd is assembled he does something to panic them, causing harm and sometimes death.
Deaver allows us a glimpse into the mind of this individual and we learn he is obsessed with Dance and considers her a worthy opponent as he sows his seeds of destruction. He is so taken with her that he plans special ways to cause her harm.
The cat and mouse elements of this story are Deaver at his best. He seizes control of the readers' attention and manipulates it to induce fear and trepidation as the story continues. The readers have no choice but to plow ahead into the drama but are always sure to keep a look over their shoulders to see what might be creeping up behind them.
Usually I feel the Dance novels are not as good as the Rhyme/Sachs books but SOLITUDE CREEK is the exception. This is Deaver at his best, and he has a full bag of tricks to strew before the readers. Confusion and trickery abound. There are surprises in this book that will jolt you to your core, and cause you to reread passages in order to clear your head about the plot.
There is no doubt that Deaver is a genius. He writes intricate stories that stagger the mind. Still he as the ability to include personal aspects about the characters that touch the heart. SOLITUDE CREEK is a mystery that features the undercurrents of a love story. This is what gives it that extra plus.
SOLITUDE CREEK is published by Grand Central Publishing. It contains 464 pages and sells for $28.00.
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