The Kill Room by Jeffery Deaver

thekillroom

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.

 

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XO by Jeffery Deaver

XO[Once again not quite the cover I have. This is the hardcover, the paperback has the author’s name in red and the text above the title reads: Sealed with a kiss/Marked with death. Not important, just an observation.]

It’s been a while since I read Deaver but he’s still one of the few crime authors I read at all. Since the genre does not come naturally to me, I usually am very suspect of everything these authors write and also quick to criticize. For example, I realized that Deaver’s style leaves something to be desired. It has nothing to do with his colloquialisms which are unusual but certainly closer to our spoken language. it’s more like a gravelly dirt road that’s hard to maneuver.

Deaver brings back CBI agent Kathryn Dance in this crime novel. Dance is on vacation in Fresno to record music and watch a concert of her friend Kayleigh Towne who is a rising star in country music. Her vacation is cut short when Kayleigh’s ex and roadie, Bobby Prescott, is killed, presumably by a stalking fan. But the investigators are unable to prove Edwin Sharp guilty and another person dies. Dance calls in the help of forensic specialists Rhyme and Sachs to help find the killer or killers one of which might or might not be Kayleigh’s crazed stalker.

Deaver is known for his intricate plotting – at least that’s what sets him apart for me. He is not satisfied with having a murder, a detective and a perp; in his story crimes overlap, people are used as fall guys, fall guys use fall guys of their own, nothing’s as it seems to be. I started making notes of things and writing a list of suspects in the back of the book – three of whom were law enforcement officers in this case. I like engaging with these novels because it is pretty much impossible to know who the perp will be – it’s also a little annoying because the plot twists seem too far-fetched at times. It’s still fun to play, though, and this novel is no exception.

This novel made it very clear to me that I enjoy the characters of Rhyme and Sachs more than Kathryn Dance. I’m not sure why that is – maybe it has as much to do with the fact that I always see Denzel Washington and Angelina Jolie as the protagonists, as with the banter between them and Thom and even the setting of New York over that of California. I relate more to Sachs than Dance, I find Rhyme’s social arrogance amusing. That is not to say that I don’t like Dance at all, I just find her personal struggles less to my liking than Rhyme’s.

With this novel, I had another problem: fans. I’m a fan – of many a thing. I’m not a stalker – I’m far too lazy. And I’m pretty sure the majority of us are. I see the necessity of stalking laws – it’s made clear in this novel that the protagonists don’t deem these laws efficient – but I’m not sure the representation of fans as crazy people who need reality checks is right. I mean, I’m aware of this trope in tv shows, movies and books but it never bothered me as much as here. Maybe because my fan-activity has been more involved these last few months, maybe because Deaver’s representation of fans in general was very negative. There is a lot of self-censorship in fandoms, there is also fan-shaming (it’s so easy to say: I’m a better fan than you are) going on.  But it’s also a community, fans stick together, they know things about each other. The kind of ‘craziness’ so many cultural venues insist exists in abundance rarely happens on fansites. I would argue that the crazed fan – if they exist – is much more of a loner because they would raise red flags even in the most obsessive fandoms. That’s at least my take as an insider – but maybe I just don’t like to be called ‘crazy’ because I happen to be enthusiastic about people and stories.

The novel is accompanied by a country album which is available for downloading on Deaver’s website. I haven’t listened to it yet but it’s certainly interesting to know.