Monday, July 14, 2008

BOOKS: Broken Window - Jeffrey Deaver

Jeffrey Deaver's Lincoln Rhymes novels feel comfortable ... if you can call the series of battles between the brilliant criminologist and a lengthy list of crazed killers comfortable.

Broken Window is the latest in the 10-year old series that started with the media hit The Bone Collector. It was the one that was made into a movie starring Denzel Washington. 'Nuff said about that mistake. However, Broken Window is a pretty good book, possibly right up there with Cold Moon as the best of the series. Cold Moon happens to be the other Rhymes novel that deals with the Watchmaker. He's a peripheral participant in Broken Window until literally the last page in the book. That page gives the reader one last cold chill down the spine.

The personal data mining business is the heart of Broken Window. Repeatedly, readers should be feeling a little panicked at how little privacy they truly have in this computerized world. One after another of the shields we 'think' we have are battered down. It's the completeness of the inspection that eventually allows for the rescue of Lincoln's other half, police detective Amelia Sachs. She once again charges into the foray sans backup and spends a chapter or two as the loon's prisoner. THAT might be getting a little old, the only downbeat in the story.

Otherwise, we get a decent list of potential suspects to measure against the chapters narrated by the loony-tune killing people. He's a hoarder, along with being an expert at taking advantage of society's total reliance (and acceptance) of computers. He's killing people, planting enough physical evidence to lead to the incarceration of others and their convictions. With no one looking for him, he's free to kill. And kill again. And again.

Until he picks one patsy too many. Lincoln's cousin Art, a real piece of work, plays fall guy and Lincoln comes to the rescue. Well comes to the rescue might be overstating it. He is, after all, a quadraplegic, trapped in a gussied up wheelchair, when not in bed. But he sends for the usual cast led by Sachs and the now recovered Ron Pulaski. Pulaski suffers more than Sachs in this book, although getting shot and losing her prized Camaro certainly leaves Sachs sad.

A good development that could have been handled horribly sees Amelia's almost-ward Pam do some growing up. It's a mark of Deaver's deft touch that the two women aren't simply men in dresses ... or at least form-fitting jeans.

There's a lot to like about Broken Window. It was a good kick off to this summer's reading week.

No comments: