Jeffrey Deaver is an author who is not afraid to try new things. He could easily stick to only writing novels which involve his two most popular characters Lincoln Rhyme and Amelia Sachs, but he has added a new series involving a character named Kathryn Dance. He also writes stand alone books that do not include any of these characters but somehow create their own mystique. Such a book is The October List.
The October List focuses on a woman named Gabrielle McKenzie. We immediately learn that her six year old daughter Sarah has been kidnapped. We also learn that Sarah's kidnapper wants a large amount of money and something known as "the October List." There is also a new man in Gabrielle's life named Daniel and he has some business associates who are going to try to get Sarah back.
All of this we learn in the first chapter in the book, but what is the twist is that the first chapter is really the last chapter in the story. That's right, the first is the last and the last chapter is the first. You read this book backwards with information coming your way that fills in events that happened in the previous chapter. It is a strange way to write a book and an even stranger way of reading one.
In going through this book I must have read that first chapter over and over a million times. With each new fact that is uncovered the interpretation of that "first chapter" changes. Maybe it was just my imagination but I felt I was reading this story with a new portion of my brain, and doing so almost made my head explode.
If any author could pull this off it is Deaver. This is because he has the intelligence and skills to do anything and everything. The Deaver reader has also developed a trust with this author that he will be in control and will handle all the heavy lifting. And finally the reader knows Deaver will not leave him/her hanging at the end (the first). All will be explained and it is - in detail.
Would I like for every book to be written this way? No! But as an experiment in something different I found this way of presenting the story to be intriguing and enjoyable. Deaver adds so many twists and turns that you are virtually caught in a cyclone of plot reversals, but it all is explained in the end. That is what counts at least to this reader.
The October List could be subtitled The Deaver Twist. It is a book like no other you have read and it is one that does pay off in enjoyment as you progress through it. There will probably be those who refuse to play this game and will not even pick it up, and others might get discouraged and not see it through. But for the steadfast readers it is worth the trip. At least it was for this reader.
The October List is published by Grand Central Publishing. It contains 320 pages and sells for $26.00.