The Kill Room by Jeffery Deaver

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I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: I’m no fan of crime books. But I’m also not a stickler when it comes to things I generally love, like books. So, yeah, there are crime books I read, and, hell yeah, Jeffery Deaver’s Lincoln Rhyme series is part of that exception. I may think of it as Sachs/Rhyme series, I may think of Rhyme and Sachs as the actors who played them in that one very memorable movie: The Bone Collector, and I enjoy the heck out of my own take on the story.

There are 12 books to date in the series with Rhyme and Sachs also appearing in XO from the Kathryn Dance series (which I also enjoy). The Kill Room is #10 and I’ve read each of the books before it, and the next in the series is already sitting in my book pile. I’m not searching feverishly when the next book of the series will be published, I actually stumbled across these two at the library, but I enjoy this crime series more than any other crime book I’ve read by any other author. Jeffery Deaver writes a compelling team of forensical analysts, two characters I simply love.

That said, here’s what happens in The Kill Room:

An anti-American activist is murdered in the Bahamas. As it turns out, he was on a goverment Special Task Order that has been leaked and prosecutor Nance Laurel wants the men responsible for the murder behind bars – one of them is NIOS director Shreve Metzger who may have tempered with the order to fit his own agenda.

Rhyme and Sachs are helping with the investigation, bringing Lincoln back out into the field and Amelia under the watchful eye of the killer, or one of the killers. Because there seem to be more than one cook in the kill room with a knife.

Since you already know that I like this series, you can guess that I liked this one as well. It’s true Jeffery Deaver, true Rhyme and Sachs. Their personal story intervenes with the investigation, plot twists are happening left and right to divert the reader from the true motive, or the true killer, or the one evidence that turns the investigation on its head. Because one thing a Deaver book never is: boring.

This is the series where you will never be able to follow all the clues. But that’s not the only thing that has me coming back. Amelia Sachs and Lincoln Rhyme, Thom and Sellitto, Pulaski and Cooper, they’ve all become part of a crime fighting family. And the reader, me, you, everybody, is part of that family, too. I often find myself breathlessly waiting for something to happen to any of them, because they’re often in danger, but often just too good at their job to get caught so easily off guard. I tend to mumble threats at anyone threatening Sachs, because she’s my main focus, my favorite character. I just love the series so much. Not in the way that I miss them and eagerly await a new book, but in a way that when, after years of absence, I discover the next in the series I don’t hesitate to buy. Deaver is a safe bet for a thrilling story, and Rhyme and Sachs are his most appealing characters – imho.

 

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling

hpandthedeathlyhallowsFor a moment after reading this, I felt elated that it was over. No more crying. And I think that this is one of the most enticing things about the whole series: it challenges us emotionally. Following Harry Potter’s life at Hogwarts is rewarding in many ways but the best thing about it – at least as far as I’m concerned – is that it makes you feel. A lot. There are not many books I cry over but I feel that the last two books of this series will always accomplish that. And that’s good to know.

Harry and his friends, Hermione and Ron, don’t return to Hogwarts for the new school year. They set out on the mission of finding and destroying horcruxes into which Lord Voldemort has infused parts of his soul. But the mission is a dreary one at first since Dumbledore has given them few clues to work with. The strain on the friendship gets overwhelming and Ron leaves the other two after a fight – only to return and save Harry’s life. The friends gain insight into the myth of the Deathly Hallows, are being taken captive by the Malfoy family and barely escape – losing a friend in the process. The return to Hogwarts, finally, brings on a showdown that will cost even more lives but results in the Dark Lord’s death.

I hope that last one wasn’t too much of a spoiler. It’s how all stories must end – evil dies, good endures. Endures because there is no real victory in war, and Rowling knows that. Too many lives had been lost but, for once, the wizarding community actually comes through for Harry Potter as he and his classmates are joined by family and friends. It is not the great assemblage one might want to fight with against a powerful wizard but considering how Harry had been left fighting for everyone for most of the series it is a pleasant surprise.

If there is a weakness in this last book, it is the long passages where things are being explained. I am not saying that it wasn’t necessary, it was – and Rowling makes sure to cover all unanswered questions – but these passages can be a little tiring because they are bulky. Especially the scene with Harry and Dumbledore in King’s Cross and Harry walking through Snape’s memories. As I said, they were necessary but they still make for slow reading.

One thing that I only just realized – or maybe I had only forgotten – is that with all the fear the wizarding world has of Voldemort, he really isn’t that great a wizard. He is cruel, certainly, but he is not as clever as he thought himself, as others thought him either. Seeing his whole story revealed, he is more cunning than clever. And seeing how Grindelwald struck up a friendship with Dumbledore because of a kinship in character, he might have been the stronger opponent.

There are always those small doubting voices in the back of one’s head, asking questions like: why didn’t Dumbledore kill Voldemort? He was the most powerful wizard ever, why give the job to a teenage boy? These questions are certainly valid and I’d say that people should seek for their own answers. I, personally, wouldn’t have wanted to read a story about a very old wizard defeating a younger one who probably never had a chance against him in the first place. The story wouldn’t have had the same appeal. It might make us think less of Dumbledore that with all his power he did not stop Voldemort’s first rise to power, that he didn’t prevent the Potter’s from being killed, but a vengeance story makes for better reading.

About the epilogue Nineteen Years Later. As many have agreed, I could have done without it, too. Especially from the point of view of a fanfiction writer, it would have been nicer if the story hadn’t been closed off this way. It’s a very sentimental piece of writing, assuring the reader that twenty years later all is well still, that even Draco Malfoy can be part of a community that lives just as before. Because what the epilogue does not do is: show progress. Muggles are still looking strangely at progressions of wizarding families, the Hogwarts Express still leaves from platform 9 3/4. And this is where I would have liked to see change, if only a little. It would have been nice to see that after the crises, wizards/witches could have come out to muggles. But Rowling decided that the wizarding community just went back to normal – opening the field for another story just like Potter’s tale where a teenager has to solve the problems of a community that never changes.

There are a lot of things one can praise and criticize within the Harry Potter-series but that makes for even better reading. Harry Potter is a great story, it changed our world.