The Empty Chair (Lincoln Rhyme Series #3) [NOOK Book]

Overview

Lincoln Rhyme is back...
From the bestselling author of The Bone Collector and The Devil's Teardrop comes this spine-chilling new thriller that pits renowned criminalist Lincoln Rhyme against the ultimate opponent -- Amelia Sachs, his own brilliant protégée.
A quadriplegic since a beam crushed his spinal cord years ago, Rhyme is desperate to improve his condition and goes to the University of North Carolina Medical Center for high-risk ...
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The Empty Chair (Lincoln Rhyme Series #3)

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Overview

Lincoln Rhyme is back...
From the bestselling author of The Bone Collector and The Devil's Teardrop comes this spine-chilling new thriller that pits renowned criminalist Lincoln Rhyme against the ultimate opponent -- Amelia Sachs, his own brilliant protégée.
A quadriplegic since a beam crushed his spinal cord years ago, Rhyme is desperate to improve his condition and goes to the University of North Carolina Medical Center for high-risk experimental surgery. But he and Sachs have hardly settled in when the local authorities come calling. In a twenty-four-hour period, the sleepy Southern outpost of Tanner's Corner has seen a local teen murdered and two young women abducted. And Rhyme and Sachs are the best chance to find the girls alive.
The prime suspect is a strange teenaged truant known as the Insect Boy, so nicknamed for his disturbing obsession with bugs. Rhyme agrees to find the boy while awaiting his operation. Rhyme's unsurpassed analytical skills and stellar forensic experience, combined with Sachs's exceptional detective legwork, soon snare the perp. But even Rhyme can't anticipate that Sachs will disagree with his crime analysis and that her vehemence will put her in the swampland, harboring the very suspect whom Rhyme considers a ruthless killer. So ensues Rhyme's greatest challenge -- facing the criminalist whom he has taught everything he knows in a battle of wits, forensics, and intuition. And in this adversary, Rhyme also faces his best friend and soul mate.
With the intricate forensic detail, breathtaking speed, and masterful plot twists that are signature Deaver, The Empty Chair is page-turning suspense of the highest order, destined to continue Jeffery Deaver's bestselling track record and thrill his legions of fans worldwide.
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
May 2000

The Empty Chair is the third — or, if you count a guest appearance in the millennial thriller The Devil's Teardrop, the fourth — novel to feature Lincoln Rhyme, the irascible forensic genius who became a quadriplegic when a cave-in at a crime scene damaged his spinal cord beyond repair. The series began in 1997 with The Bone Collector, which was recently made into a so-so film starring Denzel Washington. Every Rhyme novel to date has been characterized by authentic forensic detail and wild, even extravagant plotting, and the latest entry is no exception. The Empty Chair may, in fact, be the single trickiest suspense novel published so far this year.

Unlike earlier volumes, The Empty Chair takes place outside of New York City in the bucolic but sinister environs of Paquenoke County, North Carolina. Rhyme — accompanied by his long-suffering physical therapist, Thom, and his beloved forensic assistant, Amelia Sachs — has just been accepted as a patient at the Medical Center of the University of North Carolina, where he is scheduled to undergo an experimental procedure that might increase the range of his mobility but might, on the other hand, result in his death. Shortly after his arrival, Lincoln's plans are disrupted by an unforeseen emergency. Jim Bell, Paquenoke County sheriff, has trouble on his hands and needs Lincoln's expertise.

According to Bell, a disturbed teenager — known, for reasons that become graphically clear, as the Insect Boy — has murdered a local football hero and abductedtwoyoung women. Convinced that the women have only hours to live, Bell asks Lincoln to examine the trace evidence found at the abduction site in the faint hope of pinpointing the kidnapper's location. Though he knows nothing about the physical composition of the surrounding area — he and Sachs, as he repeatedly comments, are "fish out of water" in the American South — Rhyme agrees to help. Once again using Amelia Sachs as his eyes and legs, he sets up an ad hoc forensic lab in a borrowed corner of the local Sheriff's office and goes to work.

This sort of scenario — a crazed killer, a race against time, a scattered handful of clues — offers more than enough drama to fuel any number of traditional suspense novels. In The Empty Chair, however, this same scenario is merely the first level of a complex, multitiered mystery that constantly confounds our most fundamental expectations. The first indication that The Empty Chair contains unexpected depths comes when Lincoln, flawlessly interpreting his disparate bits of evidence, locates both the Insect Boy (Garrett Hanlon) and his most recent victim (an oncology nurse named Lydia Johannsen) within the first 150 pages. At that point, Deaver throws away the rulebook.

After talking with Garrett Hanlon in the Paquenoke County jail, Amelia develops the instinctive sense that Garrett might, as he continually claims, be a victim, and that another unidentified killer might still be at large. In a moment of intuitive — and reckless — empathy, Amelia abandons her professional principles and escapes with Garrett, determined both to prove the boy's innocence and rescue the remaining victim, a local history student named Mary Beth McConnell. From this point forward, almost nothing that happens in The Empty Chair is even remotely predictable.

It would spoil too many of the carefully constructed surprises to reveal the plot in any more detail. Suffice it to say that the narrative — which seems, at first, a simple but effective chase story — broadens and deepens to become something stranger and infinitely more complex. Throwing a varied assortment of people and elements into the mix — a trio of Deliverance-style rednecks, an emotionally scarred cancer survivor, a revisionist account of the Lost Colony of Roanoke, an apparently deranged deputy sheriff, a pair of incipient rapists, the hidden motivations of a wealthy industrialist, and the tragic history of Tanner's Corner, a "town without children" — Deaver constructs an artful, entertaining melodrama that has much to say about the destructive consequences of uncontrolled greed.

If The Empty Chair has a besetting weakness, it is Deaver's relentless determination to dazzle the reader with his narrative sleight of hand, piling on an endless, constantly escalating series of shocks, surprises, and unexpected twists that might, in a lesser writer's hands, have become just a bit too much. But Deaver, as usual, is a consummate professional, and he holds it all together with the ease and assurance of a natural storyteller. Readers familiar with the earlier adventures of Lincoln Rhyme will be lining up for this one, which seems likely to attract a substantial number of new readers, as well. The Empty Chair is Jeffery Deaver at his best and most devious and is recommended, without reservation, to anyone in search of intelligent, high-adrenaline entertainment.

—Bill Sheehan

Bill Sheehan reviews horror, suspense, and science fiction for Cemetery Dance, The New York Review of Science Fiction, and other publications. His book-length critical study of the fiction of Peter Straub, At the Foot of the Story Tree, will be published by Subterranean Press (www.subterraneanpress.com) in the spring of 2000.

Barnes & Noble Guide to New Fiction
Renowned quadriplegic criminalist Lincoln Rhyme is back in a "fast-paced, surprising" thriller that pits him against the ultimate opponent - Amelia Sachs, his brilliant protegee. "Suspense thriller fans will enjoy this." "An exciting read, with some very good plot twists late in the game."
VOYA
While in North Carolina to undergo experimental treatment that could restore some of his mobility, wheelchair-bound criminal expert Lincoln Rhyme, his assistant Amelia Sachs, and his caregiver Thom become involved in a unique and frightening case. Sheriff Roland Bell desperately pleads for assistance in locating sixteen-year-old Garrett Hanlon, who due to his affinity for all things that creep, crawl, fly, or make webs, is known locally as the "Insect Boy." Garrett is believed to have kidnapped two women and to have engineered an ingenious wasp attack upon a pursuing deputy. Amelia sets out to garner information for Lincoln to interpret. The suspense builds as the reader learns that a victim's survival is less likely the longer he is held by a kidnapper. Despite many obstacles, including hostile deputies and local vigilantes who want to collect a bounty for Garrett's death, Amelia is convinced that she and Lincoln can find the information needed to locate the kidnapped women in time. In this third book featuring Lincoln Rhyme, Deaver keeps his detective as enigmatically fascinating as ever, while fleshing out Amelia's character and pitting her expertise against Lincoln's. Deaver is a past master of roller-coaster plot twists, and here readers find that nothing is as it seems, including the violence believed to have been wreaked by Garrett. At first, Deaver makes Garrett seem terrifying, but he gradually is shown to be a misunderstood youth victimized by powerful adults, all the while imparting interesting facts about insects. Older teens who enjoy books featuring wrongly accused teen protagonists, such as in John Gilstrap's Nathan's Run (HarperCollins, 1996), will find this thrillerabsolutely impossible to put down. VOYA CODES: 4Q 4P S A/YA (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Broad general YA appeal; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12; Adult and Young Adult). 2000, Simon & Schuster, 411p, $25. Ages 16 to Adult. Reviewer: Joanna Morrison

SOURCE: VOYA, December 2000 (Vol. 23, No. 5)

Library Journal
Lincoln Rhyme (The Bone Collector) is back in Deaver's outstanding new thriller. Lincoln and his partner, Amelia Sachs, are in North Carolina to visit a hospital where a new experimental surgery technique might allow the paralyzed Lincoln partial use of his body. But something is going on in this town, and the authorities ask for his expertise. Two local girls have been kidnapped, and while the police know the culprit, they have no idea where the kidnapper has taken them. Lincoln is a fish out of water here, and it will take his complete forensic knowledge to find the two girls. As the case progresses, he will be forced to match wits with Amelia, severely testing their relationship. Although the novel takes a little longer than usual to get going compared with Deaver's previous books, when the suspense starts, the pages fly. Deaver does a wonderful job of strengthening the characters of Lincoln and especially Amelia, who is the heart of this novel. While not as good as the other Lincoln Rhyme novels, this is still terrific, and people should be grabbing it off the shelves. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 1/00.]--Jeff Ayers, Seattle P.L. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\
School Library Journal
YA-The author combines wonderful examples of the powers of forensic detection along with plenty of bad guys and girls, plot twists, murder, mayhem, and environmental crime. Rhyme, who may be known to those who saw the movie The Bone Collector, based on Deaver's book (Viking, 1997), travels to North Carolina for an experimental surgical treatment with his aid Thom and prot g e/soul-mate Amelia Sachs. Soon after their arrival, the sheriff from a nearby town calls upon him. It happens that he is desperate to locate two kidnapped young women. The kidnapper is believed to be a 16-year-old orphan who is suspected of involvement in three deaths, two through attacks by stinging insects. Through chemical analysis of the dirt from the scene, Rhyme is able to learn much about the kidnapper and his travels. However, there are other sinister signs here-like the absence of children among the town's populace. The book is fast moving with lots of surprises. The story offers an additional inducement to recommend it-that of a candid look at a quadriplegic's life. The foray into environmental poisoning by a profit-driven company is timely, and the surprise ending will leave readers impatient to read the next installment of Rhyme's adventures.-Carol DeAngelo, Kings Park Library, Burke, VA Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Bill Sheehan
May 2000

The Empty Chair is the third -- or, if you count a guest appearance in the millennial thriller The Devil's Teardrop, the fourth -- novel to feature Lincoln Rhyme, the irascible forensic genius who became a quadriplegic when a cave-in at a crime scene damaged his spinal cord beyond repair. The series began in 1997 with The Bone Collector, which was recently made into a so-so film starring Denzel Washington. Every Rhyme novel to date has been characterized by authentic forensic detail and wild, even extravagant plotting, and the latest entry is no exception. The Empty Chair may, in fact, be the single trickiest suspense novel published so far this year.

Unlike earlier volumes, The Empty Chair takes place outside of New York City in the bucolic but sinister environs of Paquenoke County, North Carolina. Rhyme -- accompanied by his long-suffering physical therapist, Thom, and his beloved forensic assistant, Amelia Sachs -- has just been accepted as a patient at the Medical Center of the University of North Carolina, where he is scheduled to undergo an experimental procedure that might increase the range of his mobility but might, on the other hand, result in his death. Shortly after his arrival, Lincoln's plans are disrupted by an unforeseen emergency. Jim Bell, Paquenoke County sheriff, has trouble on his hands and needs Lincoln's expertise.

According to Bell, a disturbed teenager -- known, for reasons that become graphically clear, as the Insect Boy -- has murdered a local football hero and abducted two young women. Convinced that the women have only hours to live, Bell asks Lincoln to examine the trace evidence found at the abduction site in the faint hope of pinpointing the kidnapper's location. Though he knows nothing about the physical composition of the surrounding area -- he and Sachs, as he repeatedly comments, are "fish out of water" in the American South -- Rhyme agrees to help. Once again using Amelia Sachs as his eyes and legs, he sets up an ad hoc forensic lab in a borrowed corner of the local Sheriff's office and goes to work.

This sort of scenario -- a crazed killer, a race against time, a scattered handful of clues -- offers more than enough drama to fuel any number of traditional suspense novels. In The Empty Chair, however, this same scenario is merely the first level of a complex, multitiered mystery that constantly confounds our most fundamental expectations. The first indication that The Empty Chair contains unexpected depths comes when Lincoln, flawlessly interpreting his disparate bits of evidence, locates both the Insect Boy (Garrett Hanlon) and his most recent victim (an oncology nurse named Lydia Johannsen) within the first 150 pages. At that point, Deaver throws away the rulebook.

After talking with Garrett Hanlon in the Paquenoke County jail, Amelia develops the instinctive sense that Garrett might, as he continually claims, be a victim, and that another unidentified killer might still be at large. In a moment of intuitive -- and reckless -- empathy, Amelia abandons her professional principles and escapes with Garrett, determined both to prove the boy's innocence and rescue the remaining victim, a local history student named Mary Beth McConnell. From this point forward, almost nothing that happens in The Empty Chair is even remotely predictable.

It would spoil too many of the carefully constructed surprises to reveal the plot in any more detail. Suffice it to say that the narrative -- which seems, at first, a simple but effective chase story -- broadens and deepens to become something stranger and infinitely more complex. Throwing a varied assortment of people and elements into the mix -- a trio of Deliverance-style rednecks, an emotionally scarred cancer survivor, a revisionist account of the Lost Colony of Roanoke, an apparently deranged deputy sheriff, a pair of incipient rapists, the hidden motivations of a wealthy industrialist, and the tragic history of Tanner's Corner, a "town without children" -- Deaver constructs an artful, entertaining melodrama that has much to say about the destructive consequences of uncontrolled greed.

If The Empty Chair has a besetting weakness, it is Deaver's relentless determination to dazzle the reader with his narrative sleight of hand, piling on an endless, constantly escalating series of shocks, surprises, and unexpected twists that might, in a lesser writer's hands, have become just a bit too much. But Deaver, as usual, is a consummate professional, and he holds it all together with the ease and assurance of a natural storyteller. Readers familiar with the earlier adventures of Lincoln Rhyme will be lining up for this one, which seems likely to attract a substantial number of new readers, as well. The Empty Chair is Jeffery Deaver at his best and most devious and is recommended, without reservation, to anyone in search of intelligent, high-adrenaline entertainment.

--Bill Sheehan

Bill Sheehan reviews horror, suspense, and science fiction for Cemetery Dance, The New York Review of Science Fiction, and other publications. His book-length critical study of the fiction of Peter Straub, At the Foot of the Story Tree, will be published by Subterranean Press (www.subterraneanpress.com) in the spring of 2000.

Mary Cannon
Deaver's skill as a writer convinces us not only that Rhyme and the odd characters who people his eccentric world exist, but that they also live in such breathtakingly suspenseful times. This one's a winner.
Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine
From the Publisher
New York Post Masterful....[Lincoln Rhyme] is the most brilliant and most vulnerable of crime fiction's heroes.

The New York Times Book Review A twisted thriller...[of] scientific smarts and psychological cunning.

The New York Times Book Review A pulse-racing chase.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780743211659
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Publication date: 6/30/2000
  • Series: Lincoln Rhyme Series , #3
  • Sold by: SIMON & SCHUSTER
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 416
  • Sales rank: 15,064
  • File size: 4 MB

Meet the Author

Jeffery  Deaver
Jeffery Deaver is the author of two collections of short stories and twenty-eight suspense novels. He is best known for his Kathryn Dance and Lincoln Rhyme thrillers, most notably The Bone Collector, which was made into a feature starring Denzel Washington and Angelina Jolie. His many awards include the Novel of the Year at the International Thriller Writers’ Awards in 2009 for his standalone novel The Bodies Left Behind. The latest entries in the Lincoln Rhyme series are The Cold Moon, The Broken Window, and The Burning Wire.

Deaver has been nominated for seven Edgar Awards by the Mystery Writers of America, an Anthony Award and a Gumshoe Award. He was recently short-listed for the ITV3 Crime Thriller Award for Best International Author. His books are sold in 150 countries and translated into twenty-five languages. He lives in North Carolina.

Biography

Born just outside Chicago in 1950 to an advertising copywriter father and stay-at-home mom, Jeffery Deaver was a writer from the start, penning his first book (a brief tome just two chapters in length) at age 11. He went on to edit his high school literary magazine and serve on the staff of the school newspaper, chasing the dream of becoming a crack reporter.

Upon earning his B.A. in journalism from the University of Missouri, Deaver realized that he lacked the necessary background to become a legal correspondent for the high-profile publications he aspired to, such as The New York Times or The Wall Street Journal, so he enrolled at Fordham Law School. Being a legal eagle soon grew on Deaver, and rather than continue on as a reporter, he took a job as a corporate lawyer at a top Wall Street firm. Deaver's detour from the writing life wasn't to last, however; ironically, it was his substantial commute to the law office that touched off his third -- and current -- career. He'd fill the long hours on the train scribbling his own renditions of the kind of fiction he enjoyed reading most: suspense.

Voodoo, a supernatural thriller, and Always a Thief, an art-theft caper, were Deaver's first published novels. Produced by the now-defunct Paperjacks paperback original house, the books are no longer in print, but they remain hot items on the collector circuit. His first major outing was the Rune series, which followed the adventures of an aspiring female filmmaker in the power trilogy Manhattan Is My Beat (1988), Death of a Blue Movie Star (1990), and Hard News (1991).

Deaver's next series, this one featuring the adventures of ace movie location scout John Pellam, featured the thrillers Shallow Graves (1992), Bloody River Blues (1993), and Hell's Kitchen (2001). Written under the pen name William Jefferies, the series stands out in Deaver's body of work, primarily because it touched off his talent for focusing more on his vivid characters than on their perilous situations.

In fact, it is his series featuring the intrepid and beloved team of Lincoln Rhyme and Amelia Sachs that showcases Deaver at the top of his game. Confronting enormous odds (and always under somewhat gruesome circumstances), the embittered detective and his feisty partner and love interest made their debut in 1991's grisly caper The Bone Collector, and hooked fans for four more books: The Coffin Dancer (1998), The Empty Chair (2000), The Stone Monkey (2002), and The Vanishing Man(2003). Of the series, Kirkus Reviews observed, "Deaver marries forensic work that would do Patricia Cornwell proud to turbocharged plots that put Benzedrine to shame."

On the creation of Rhyme, who happens to be a paraplegic, Deaver explained to Shots magazine, "I wanted to create a Sherlock Holmes-ian kind of character that uses his mind rather than his body. He solves crimes by thinking about the crimes, rather than someone who can shoot straight, run faster, or walk into the bar and trick people into giving away the clues."

As for his reputation for conjuring up some of the most unsavory scenes in pop crime fiction, Deaver admits on his web site, "In general, I think, less is more, and that if a reader stops reading because a book is too icky then I've failed in my obligation to the readers."

Good To Know

Deaver revises his manuscripts "at least 20 or 30 times" before his publishers get to even see a version.

Two of his books have been made into major feature films. The first was A Maiden's Grave (the film adaptation was called Dead Silence), which starred James Garner and Marlee Matlin. The Bone Collector came next, starring Denzel Washington and Angelina Jolie.

In addition to being a bestselling novelist, Deaver has also been a folksinger, songwriter, music researcher, and professional poet.

Deaver's younger sister, Julie Reece Deaver, is a fellow author who writes novels for young adults.

In our interview with Deaver, he reveals, "My inspiration for writing is the reader. I want to give readers whatever will excite and please them. It's absolutely vital in this business for authors to know their audience and to write with them in mind."

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    1. Also Known As:
      William Jefferies, Jeffery Wilds Deaver
    2. Hometown:
      Washington, D.C.
    1. Date of Birth:
      May 6, 1950
    2. Place of Birth:
      Chicago, Illinois
    1. Education:
      B.A., University of Missouri; Juris Doctor, cum laude, Fordham University School of Law
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

She came here to lay flowers at the place where the boy died and the girl was kidnapped.
She came here because she was a heavy girl and had a pocked face and not many friends.
She came because she was expected to.
She came because she wanted to.
Ungainly and sweating, twenty-six-year-old Lydia Johansson walked along the dirt shoulder of Route 112, where she'd parked her Honda Accord, then stepped carefully down the hill to the muddy bank where Blackwater Canal met the opaque Paquenoke River.
She came here because she thought it was the right thing to do.
She came even though she was afraid.
It wasn't long after dawn but this August had been the hottest in years in North Carolina and Lydia was already sweating through her nurse's whites by the time she started toward the clearing on the riverbank, surrounded by willows and tupelo gum and broad-leafed bay trees. She easily found the place she was looking for; the yellow police tape was very evident through the haze.
Early morning sounds. Loons, an animal foraging in the thick brush nearby, hot wind through sedge and swamp grass.
Lord, I'm scared, she thought. Flashing back vividly on the most gruesome scenes from the Stephen King and Dean Koontz novels she read late at night with her companion, a pint of Ben & Jerry's.
More noises in the brush. She hesitated, looked around. Then continued on."Hey," a man's voice said. Very near.
Lydia gasped and spun around. Nearly dropped the flowers. "Jesse, you scared me."
"Sorry." Jesse Corn stood on the other side of a weeping willow, near the clearing that was roped off. Lydia noticed that their eyes were fixed on the same thing: a glistening white outline on the ground where the boy's body'd been found. Surrounding the line indicating Billy's head was a dark stain that, as a nurse, she recognized immediately as old blood.
"So that's where it happened," she whispered.
"It is, yep." Jesse wiped his forehead and rearranged the floppy hook of blond hair. His uniform -- the beige outfit of the Paquenoke County Sheriff's Department -- was wrinkled and dusty. Dark stains of sweat blossomed under his arms. He was thirty and boyishly cute. "How long you been here?" she asked.
"I don't know. Since five maybe."
"I saw another car," she said. "Up the road. Is that Jim?"
"Nope. Ed Schaeffer. He's on the other side of the river." Jesse nodded at the flowers. "Those're pretty."
After a moment Lydia looked down at the daisies in her hand. "Two forty-nine. At Food Lion. Got 'em last night. I knew nothing'd be open this early. Well, Dell's is but they don't sell flowers." She wondered why she was rambling. She looked around again. "No idea where Mary Beth is?"
Jesse shook his head. "Not hide nor hair."
"Him neither, I guess that means."
"Him neither." Jesse looked at his watch. Then out over the dark water, dense reeds and concealing grass, the rotting pier.
Lydia didn't like it that a county deputy, sporting a large pistol, seemed as nervous as she was. Jesse started up the grassy hill to the highway. He paused, glanced at the flowers. "Only two ninety-nine?"
"Forty-nine. Food Lion."
"That's a bargain," the young cop said, squinting toward a thick sea of grass. He turned back to the hill. "I'll be up by the patrol car."
Lydia Johansson walked closer to the crime scene. She pictured Jesus, she pictured angels and she prayed for a few minutes. She prayed for the soul of Billy Stail, which had been released from his bloody body on this very spot just yesterday morning. She prayed that the sorrow visiting Tanner's Corner would soon be over.
She prayed for herself too.
More noise in the brush. Snapping, rustling.
The day was lighter now but the sun didn't do much to brighten up Blackwater Landing. The river was deep here and fringed with messy black willows and thick trunks of cedar and cypress -- some living, some not, and all choked with moss and viny kudzu. To the northeast, not far, was the Great Dismal Swamp, and Lydia Johansson, like every Girl Scout past and present in Paquenoke County, knew all the legends about that place: the Lady of the Lake, the Headless Trainman....But it wasn't those apparitions that bothered her; Blackwater Landing had its own ghost -- the boy who'd kidnapped Mary Beth McConnell.
Lydia opened her purse and lit a cigarette with shaking hands. Felt a bit calmer. She strolled along the shore. Stopped beside a stand of tall grass and cattails, which bent in the scorching breeze.
On top of the hill she heard a car engine start. Jesse wasn't leaving, was he? Lydia looked toward it, alarmed. But she saw the car hadn't moved. Just getting the air-conditioning going, she supposed. When she looked back toward the water she noticed the sedge and cattails and wild rice plants were still bending, waving, rustling.
As if someone was there, moving closer to the yellow tape, staying low to the ground.
But no, no, of course that wasn't the case. It's just the wind, she told herself. And she reverently set the flowers in the crook of a gnarly black willow not far from the eerie outline of the sprawled body, spattered with blood dark as the river water. She began praying once more.

Across the Paquenoke River from the crime scene, Deputy Ed Schaeffer leaned against an oak tree and ignored the early morning mosquitoes fluttering near his arms in his short-sleeved uniform shirt. He shrank down to a crouch and scanned the floor of the woods again for signs of the boy.
He had to steady himself against a branch; he was dizzy from exhaustion. Like most of the deputies in the county sheriff's department he'd been awake for nearly twenty-four hours, searching for Mary Beth McConnell and the boy who'd kidnapped her. But while, one by one, the others had gone home to shower and eat and get a few hours' sleep Ed had stayed with the search. He was the oldest deputy on the force and the biggest (fifty-one years old and two hundred sixty-four pounds of mostly unuseful weight) but fatigue, hunger and stiff joints weren't going to stop him from continuing to look for the girl.
The deputy examined the ground again.
He pushed the transmit button of his radio. "Jesse, it's me. You there?"
"Go ahead."
He whispered, "I got footprints here. They're fresh. An hour old, tops."
"Him, you think?"
"Who else'd it be? This time of morning, this side of the Paquo?"
"You were right, looks like," Jesse Corn said. "I didn't believe it at first but you hit this one on the head."
It had been Ed's theory that the boy would come back here. Not because of the cliché -- about returning to the scene of the crime -- but because Blackwater Landing had always been his stalking ground and whatever kind of trouble he'd gotten himself into over the years he always came back here.
Ed looked around, fear now replacing exhaustion and discomfort as he gazed at the infinite tangle of leaves and branches surrounding him. Jesus, the deputy thought, the boy's here someplace. He said into his radio, "The tracks look to be moving toward you but I can't tell for sure. He was walking mostly on leaves. You keep an eye out. I'm going to see where he was coming from."
Knees creaking, Ed rose to his feet and, as quietly as a big man could, followed the boy's footsteps back in the direction they'd come -- farther into the woods, away from the river.
He followed the boy's trail about a hundred feet and saw it led to an old hunting blind -- a gray shack big enough for three or four hunters. The gun slots were dark and the place seemed to be deserted. Okay, he thought. Okay...He's probably not in there. But still...
Breathing hard, Ed Schaeffer did something he hadn't done in nearly a year and a half: unholstered his weapon. He gripped the revolver in a sweaty hand and started forward, eyes flipping back and forth dizzily between the blind and the ground, deciding where best to step to keep his approach silent.
Did the boy have a gun? he wondered, realizing that he was as exposed as a soldier landing on a bald beachhead. He imagined a rifle barrel appearing fast in one of the slots, aiming down on him. Ed felt an ill flush of panic and he sprinted, in a crouch, the last ten feet to the side of the shack. He pressed against the weathered wood as he caught his breath and listened carefully. He heard nothing inside but the faint buzzing of insects.
Okay, he told himself. Take a look. Fast.
Before his courage broke, Ed rose and looked through a gun slot.
No one.
Then he squinted at the floor. His face broke into a smile at what he saw. "Jesse," he called into his radio excitedly.
"Go ahead."
"I'm at a blind maybe a quarter mile north of the river. I think the kid spent the night here. There's some empty food wrappers and water bottles. A roll of duct tape too. And guess what? I see a map."
"A map?"
"Yeah. Looks to be of the area. Might show us where he's got Mary Beth. What do you think about that?"
But Ed Schaeffer never found out his fellow deputy's reaction to this good piece of police work; the woman's screaming filled the woods and Jesse Corn's radio went silent.

Lydia Johansson stumbled backward and screamed again as the boy leapt from the tall sedge and grabbed her arms with his pinching fingers.
"Oh, Jesus Lord, please don't hurt me!" she begged.
"Shut up," he raged in a whisper, looking around, jerking movements, malice in his eyes. He was tall and skinny, like most sixteen-year-olds in small Carolina towns, and very strong. His skin was red and welty -- from a run-in with poison oak, it looked like -- and he had a sloppy crew cut that looked like he'd done it himself.
"I just brought flowers...that's all! I didn't -- "
"Shhhh," he muttered.
But his long, dirty nails dug into her skin painfully and Lydia gave another scream. Angrily he clamped a hand over her mouth. She felt him press against her body, smelled his sour, unwashed odor.
She twisted her head away. "You're hurting me!" she said in a wail.
"Just shut up!" His voice snapped like ice-coated branches tapping and flecks of spit dotted her face. He shook her furiously as if she were a disobedient dog. One of his sneakers slipped off in the struggle but he paid no attention to the loss and pressed his hand over her mouth again until she stopped fighting.
From the top of the hill Jesse Corn called, "Lydia? Where are you?"
"Shhhhh," the boy warned again, eyes wide and crazy. "You scream and you'll get hurt bad. You understand? Do you understand?" He reached into his pocket and showed her a knife.
She nodded.
He pulled her toward the river.
Oh, not there. Please, no, she thought to her guardian angel. Don't let him take me there.
North of the Paquo...
Lydia glanced back and saw Jesse Corn standing by the roadside 100 yards away, hand shading his eyes from the low sun, surveying the landscape. "Lydia?" he called.
The boy pulled her faster. "Jesus Christ, come on!"
"Hey!" Jesse cried, seeing them at last. He started down the hill.
But they were already at the riverbank, where the boy'd hidden a small skiff under some reeds and grass. He shoved Lydia into the boat and pushed off, rowing hard to the far side of the river. He beached the boat and yanked her out. Then dragged her into the woods.
"Where're we going?" she whispered.
"To see Mary Beth. You're going to be with her."
"Why?" Lydia whispered, sobbing now. "Why me?"
But he said nothing more, just clicked his nails together absently and pulled her after him.

. . .

"Ed," came Jesse Corn's urgent transmission. "Oh, it's a mess. He's got Lydia. I lost him."
"He's what?" Gasping from exertion, Ed Schaeffer stopped. He'd started jogging toward the river when he'd heard the scream.
"Lydia Johansson. He's got her too."
"Shit," muttered the heavy deputy, who cursed about as frequently as he drew his sidearm. "Why'd he do that?"
"He's crazy," Jesse said. "That's why. He's over the river and'll be headed your way."
"Okay." Ed thought for a moment. "He'll probably be coming back here to get the stuff in the blind. I'll hide inside, get him when he comes in. He have a gun?"
"I couldn't see."
Ed sighed. "Okay, well....Get over here as soon as you can. Call Jim too."
"Already did."
Ed released the red transmit button and looked through the brush toward the river. There was no sign of the boy and his new victim. Panting, Ed ran back to the blind and found the door. He kicked it open. It swung inward with a crash and Ed stepped inside fast, crouching in front of the gun slot.
He was so high on fear and excitement, concentrating so hard on what he was going to do when the boy got here, that he didn't at first pay any attention to the two or three little black-and-yellow dots that zipped in front of his face. Or to the tickle that began at his neck and worked down his spine.
But then the tickling became detonations of fiery pain on his shoulders then along his arms and under them. "Oh, God," he cried, gasping, leaping up and staring in shock at the dozens of hornets -- vicious yellow jackets -- clustering on his skin. He brushed at them in a panic and the gesture infuriated the insects even more. They stung his wrist, his palm, his fingertips. He screamed. The pain was worse than any he'd felt -- worse than the broken leg, worse than the time he'd picked up the cast-iron skillet not knowing Jean had left the burner on.
Then the inside of the blind grew dim as the cloud of hornets streamed out of the huge gray nest in the corner -- which had been crushed by the swinging door when he kicked it in. Easily hundreds of the creatures were attacking him. They zipped into his hair, seated themselves on his arms, in his ears, crawled into his shirt and up his pant legs, as if they knew that stinging on cloth was futile and sought his skin. He raced for the door, ripping his shirt off, and saw with horror masses of the glossy crescents clinging to his huge belly and chest. He gave up trying to brush them off and simply ran mindlessly into the woods.
"Jesse, Jesse, Jesse!" he cried but realized his voice was a whisper; the stinging on his neck had closed up his throat.
Run! he told himself. Run for the river.
And he did. Speeding faster than he'd ever run in his life, crashing through the forest. His legs pumping furiously. Go....Keep going, he ordered himself. Don't stop. Outrun the little bastards. Think about your wife, think about the twins. Go, go, go....There were fewer wasps now though he could still see thirty or forty of the black dots clinging to his skin, the obscene hindquarters bending forward to sting him again.
I'll be at the river in three minutes. I'll leap into the water. They'll drown. I'll be all right....Run! Escape from the pain...the pain...How can something so small cause so much pain? Oh, it hurts....
He ran like a racehorse, ran like a deer, speeding through underbrush that was just a hazy blur in his tear-filled eyes.
He'd --
But wait, wait. What was wrong? Ed Schaeffer looked down and realized that he wasn't running at all. He wasn't even standing up. He was lying on the ground only thirty feet from the blind, his legs not sprinting but thrashing uncontrollably.
His hand groped for his Handi-talkie and even though his thumb was swollen double from the venom he managed to push the transmit button. But then the convulsions that began in his legs moved into his torso and neck and arms and he dropped the radio. For a moment he heard Jesse Corn's voice in the speaker, and when that stopped he heard the pulsing drone of the wasps, which became a tiny thread of sound and finally silence.
Copyright © 2000 by Jeffery Deaver
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Table of Contents

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First Chapter

Chapter Two

Only God could cure him. And God wasn't so inclined.

Not that it mattered, for Lincoln Rhyme was a man of science rather than theology and so he'd traveled not to Lourdes or Turin or to some Baptist tent outfitted with a manic faith healer but here, to this hospital in North Carolina, in hopes of becoming if not a whole man at least less of a partial one.

Rhyme now steered his motorized Storm Arrow wheelchair, red as a Corvette, off the ramp of the van in which he, his aide and Amelia Sachs had just driven five hundred miles — from Manhattan. His perfect lips around the controller straw, he turned the chair expertly and accelerated up the sidewalk toward the front door of the Neurologic Research Institute at the Medical Center of the University of North Carolina in Avery.

Thom retracted the ramp of the glossy black Chrysler Grand Rollx, a wheelchair-accessible van.

"Put it in a handicapped space," Rhyme called. He gave a chuckle.

Amelia Sachs lifted an eyebrow to Thom, who said, "Good mood. Take advantage. It won't last."

"I heard that," Rhyme shouted.

The aide drove off and Sachs caught up with Rhyme. She was on her cell phone, on hold with a local car rental company. Thom would be spending much of the next week in Rhyme's hospital room and Sachs wanted the freedom to keep her own hours, maybe do some exploring in the region. Besides, she was a sports-car person, not a van person, and on principle shunned vehicles whose top speed was two digits.

Sachs had been on hold for five minutes and finally she hung up in frustration. "I wouldn't mind waiting but the Muzak is terrible. I'll try later." She looked at her watch. "Only ten-thirty. But this heat is too much. I mean, way too much." Manhattan is not necessarily the most temperate of locales in August but it's much farther north than the Tar Heel State, and when they'd left the city yesterday, southbound via the Holland Tunnel, the temperature was in the low seventies and the air was dry as salt.

Rhyme wasn't paying any attention to the heat. His mind was solely on his mission here. Ahead of them the automated door swung open obediently (this would be, he assumed, the Tiffany's of handicapped-accessible facilities) and they moved into the cool corridor. While Sachs asked directions Rhyme looked around the main floor. He noticed a half-dozen unoccupied wheelchairs clustered together, dusty. He wondered what had become of the occupants. Maybe the treatment here had been so successful that they'd discarded the chairs and graduated to walkers and crutches. Maybe some had grown worse and were confined to beds or motorized chairs.

Maybe some had died.

"This way," Sachs said, nodding up the hall. Thom joined them at the elevator (double-wide door, handrails, buttons three feet off the floor) and a few minutes later they found the suite they sought. Rhyme wheeled up to the door, noticed the hands-free intercom. He said a boisterous "Open, sesame" and the door swung wide.

"We get that a lot," drawled the pert secretary when they'd entered. "You must be Mr. Rhyme. I'll tell the doctor you're here."

Dr. Cheryl Weaver was a trim, stylish woman in her mid-forties. Rhyme noticed immediately that her eyes were quick and her hands, as befitted a surgeon, seemed strong. Her nails were polish-free and short. She rose from her desk, smiled and shook Sachs's and Thom's hands, nodded to her patient. "Lincoln."

"Doctor." Rhyme's eyes took in the titles of the many books on her shelves. Then the myriad certificates and diplomas — all from good schools and renowned institutions, though her credentials were no surprise to him. Months of research had convinced Rhyme that the University Medical Center in Avery was one of the best hospitals in the world. Its oncology and immunology departments were among the busiest in the country and Dr. Weaver's neuro institute set the standard for spinal cord injury research and treatment.

"It's good to meet you at last," the doctor said. Under her hand was a three-inch-thick manila folder. Rhyme's own, the criminalist assumed. (Wondering what the keeper of the file had entered under the prognosis heading: "Encouraging"? "Poor"? "Hopeless"?) "Lincoln, you and I've had some conversations on the phone. But I want to go through the preliminaries again. For both our sakes."

Rhyme nodded curtly. He was prepared to tolerate some formality though he had little patience for ass-covering. Which is what this was starting to sound like.

"You've read the literature about the Institute. And you know we're starting some trials of a new spinal cord regeneration and reconstruction technique. But I have to stress again that this is experimental."

"I understand that."

"Most of the quads I've treated know more neurology than a general practitioner. And I'll bet you're no exception."

"Know something about science," Rhyme said dismissively. "Know something about medicine." And he offered her an example of his trademark shrug, a gesture Dr. Weaver seemed to notice and file away.

She continued, "Well, forgive me if I repeat what you already know but it's important for you to understand what this technique can do and what it can't do."

"Please," Rhyme said. "Go on."

"Our approach at the Institute here is an all-out assault on the site of the injury. We use traditional decompression surgery to reconstruct the bony structure of the vertebrae themselves and to protect the site where your injury occurred. Then we graft two things into the site of the injury: One is some of the patient's own peripheral nervous system tissue. And the other substance we graft is some embryonic central nervous system cells, which — "

"Ah, the shark," Rhyme said.

"That's right. Blue shark, yes."

"Lincoln was telling us that," Sachs said. "Why shark?"

"Immunologic reasons, compatibility with humans. Also," the doctor added, laughing, "it's a damn big fish so we can get a lot of embryo material from one."

"Why embryo?" Sachs asked.

"It's the adult central nervous system that doesn't naturally regenerate," Rhyme grumbled, impatient with the interruption. "Obviously, a baby's nervous system has to grow."

"Exactly. Then, in addition to the decompression surgery and micrografting, we do one more thing — which is what we're so excited about: We've developed some new drugs that we think might have a significant effect on improving regeneration."

Sachs asked, "Are there risks?"

Rhyme glanced at her, hoping to catch her eye. He knew the risks. He'd made his decision. He didn't want her interrogating his doctor. But Sachs's attention was wholly on Dr. Weaver. Rhyme recognized her expression; it was how she examined a crime scene photo.

"Of course there are risks. The drugs themselves aren't particularly dangerous. But any C4 quad is going to have lung impairment. You're off a ventilator but with the anesthetic there's a chance of respiratory failure. Then the stress of the procedure could lead to autonomic dysreflexia and resulting severe blood pressure elevation — I'm sure you're familiar with that — which in turn could lead to a stroke or a cerebral event. There's also a risk of surgical trauma to the site of your initial injury — you don't have any cysts now and no shunts but the operation and resulting fluid buildup could increase that pressure and cause additional damage."

"Meaning he could get worse," Sachs said.

Dr. Weaver nodded and looked down at the file, apparently to refresh her memory, though she didn't open the folder. She looked up. "You have movement of one lumbrical — the ring finger of your left hand — and good shoulder and neck muscle control. You could lose some or all of that. And lose your ability to breathe spontaneously."

Sachs remained perfectly still. "I see," she said finally, the words coming out as a taut sigh.

The doctor's eyes were locked on Rhyme's. "And you have to weigh these risks in light of what you hope to gain — you aren't going to be able to walk again, if that's what you were hoping for. Procedures of this sort have had some limited success with spinal cord injuries at the lumbar and thoracic level — much lower and much less severe than your injury. It's had only marginal success with cervical injuries and none at all with a C4-level trauma."

"I'm a gambling man," he said quickly. Sachs gave him a troubled glance. Because she'd know that Lincoln Rhyme wasn't a gambling man at all. He was a scientist who lived his life according to quantifiable, documented principles. He added simply, "I want the surgery."

Dr. Weaver nodded and seemed neither pleased nor displeased about his decision. "You'll need to have several tests that should take several hours. The procedure's scheduled for the day after tomorrow. I have about a thousand forms and questionnaires for you. I'll be right back with the paperwork."

Sachs rose and followed the doctor out of the room. Rhyme heard her asking, "Doctor, I have a..." The door clicked shut.

"Conspiracy," Rhyme muttered to Thom. "Mutiny in the ranks."

"She's worried about you."

"Worried? That woman drives a hundred fifty miles an hour and plays gunslinger in the South Bronx. I'm getting baby fish cells injected into me."

"You know what I'm saying."

Rhyme tossed his head impatiently. His eyes strayed to a corner of Dr. Weaver's office, where a spinal cord — presumably real — rested on a metal stand. It seemed far too fragile to support the complicated human life that had once hung upon it.

The door opened. Sachs stepped into the office. Someone entered behind her but it wasn't Dr. Weaver. The man was tall, trim except for a slight paunch, and wearing a county sheriff's tan uniform. Unsmiling, Sachs said, "You've got a visitor."

Seeing Rhyme, the man took off his Smokey the Bear hat and nodded. His eyes darted not to Rhyme's body, as did most people's upon meeting him, but went immediately to the spine on the stand behind the doctor's desk. Back to the criminalist. "Mr. Rhyme. I'm Jim Bell. Roland Bell's cousin? He told me you were going to be in town and I drove over from Tanner's Corner."

Roland was on the NYPD and had worked with Rhyme on several cases. He was currently a partner of Lon Sellitto, a detective Rhyme had known for years. Roland had given Rhyme the names of some of his relatives to call when he was down in North Carolina for the operation in case he wanted some visitors. Jim Bell was one of them, Rhyme recalled. Looking past the sheriff toward the doorway through which his angel of mercy, Dr. Weaver, had yet to return, the criminalist said absently, "Nice to meet you."

Bell gave a grim smile. He said, "Matter of fact, sir, I don't know you're going to be feeling that way for too long."

Copyright © 2000 by Jeffery Deaver

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 80 )
Rating Distribution

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(44)

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(17)

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(6)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 80 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 22, 2014

    Mist

    She leaps and kills the rabbit along with a couple of shrews. She pads to result two.

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  • Posted August 24, 2013

    Highly Recommended

    This is Deaver! You get hooked from the first chapter and have a hard time putting it down. Just when you think you have it figured out, there's another twist. A must read!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 2, 2013

    Boring

    By the end of the book everyone mentioned was a betrayer and criminal. Could have cut 200 pages

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 31, 2011

    Good book

    Really enjoyed this one. Jeffery Deaver is clearly becoming one of my favorite authors :-)

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  • Posted March 21, 2010

    A good read

    The is the third Lincoln Rhyme novel. The series is a good series but this book is not quite the best he has written. His books are very well written and keep you tied to the plot and the characters.

    I did like "The Bluie Nowhere" better even though I do like the Lincoln Rhyme series.

    This is a good read.

    J. Robert Ewbank author, "John Wesley, Natural Man, and the 'Isms'"

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  • Posted March 13, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Fish out of water, but learning to swim quickly...

    The Empty Chair is the third novel in the Deaver's Lincoln Rhyme series, and while it was not quite as gripping for me as the previous two, it does stand well in both story and telling.

    Back for this outing are the primary protagonists, quadriplegic criminologist Lincoln Rhyme and his protégé-turned love interest, Amelia Sachs. Also along for the ride is Thom, the long suffering medical aid to Rhyme, and seemingly the only one who can weather his moody obstinance.

    However, the similarities and familiarities end there. In a clever move to bring new and fresh hurdles to bear, the story is set in a small town in North Carolina, complete with moonshiners, sleepy slow paced people, and a small town sheriff's department. Lincoln has come to be treated with an experimental procedure in the nearby University Hospital, only to be dragged into a local murder/double kidnapping.

    Deaver uses the term repeatedly, and it is well true; Rhyme and Sachs are "fish out of water" in a place so foreign to them. Nothing here is as it is in Manhattan, and locals aren't all that impressed with the methodical and tedious collection of evidence. Around these here parts, they get hounds and guns and run down the guy they all know did it.

    The intricate weaving of the story works well, and the various local personalities are vivid and believable. I even found myself cursing out loud when things went wrong or a misstep by an over anxious local pulled all into chaos.

    I do have two small grievances regarding details of the firearms handling and ammunition used by the characters. These are petty, but, to me, important. I contend that detail is the backbone of novels such as this. Deaver's research into forensic science, entomology, exobiology, and all the rest, are top notch and make the stories believable. So when he makes a technical error that should be obvious, it stands out like body fluids under luminal.

    These items I bring up only because, for me, they rip a hole in the credibility of the science, procedure, and detail. If items like this are untrue or fabricated, it makes me wonder what other things that I don't know about are likewise incorrect.

    Barring those small oversights, I have to say that The Empty Chair is a good read and a sound progression in the series. I highly recommend it.

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  • Posted September 7, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed for Midwest Book Review

    Quadriplegic, criminalist Lincoln Rhyme, accompanied by his lover, investigator Amelia Sachs and his assistant Thom, is in Avery, North Carolina, where he hopes to undergo experimental surgery to aid with spinal cord regeneration. His first day there, Rhyme is visited by Jim Bell, sheriff of Paquenoke County, where two women have been kidnapped and a young man killed by 16-year-old Garrett Hanlon, nicknamed the Insect Boy because of his interest in bugs. Garrett's on the run and Bell wants Rhyme to help find him before he kills the two women he kidnapped. Sachs talks Rhyme into looking into the case and the two begin their unique investigating: Rhyme examining the forensic evidence in a lab with Sachs doing the legwork. They eventually track Garrett through forensics and he is arrested but refuses to reveal the whereabouts of the two women. Sachs thinks there is more to what's going on than they've been told, so she lets Garrett go under the condition he will lead her to the two women. Now Sachs is in a world of trouble with the law and Rhyme's trying to trace her whereabouts, fearing she will be shot either by Garrett or law enforcement.

    Rhyme and Sachs are two very likable characters who mesh well together. Rhyme, frustrated with the physical limitations he is forced to endure, seeks a way to become whole again while Sachs secretly wants him to remain a quadriplegic, fearing he will not want her once he is mobile. As with each book in the series, the forensics investigation is fascinating. The mystery of Garrett and his reason for kidnapping the women is well-done, as is the suspense as Sachs and Garrett are pursued.

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  • Posted May 30, 2009

    Surprisingly complex

    When I began the book I did not think I was going to enjoy reading it. I did not especially care for the characters. But the plot is so carefully crafted that it gains speed as it moves along, revealing layers of plot as it goes. Although the reader probably will not anticipate all of the twists toward the end, when they happen it seems obvious and natural that they do so. The reader will come to care about the main characters and at the end of the book will anticipate the next in the series.

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  • Posted April 6, 2009

    Lincoln Rhyme never fails to entertain. He is the "intelligent" alternative to some of the more street smart dectives. Love his relationahip with Angie; it's very "grown up."

    Full of twists and turns. Keeps you on your toes.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 5, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Toss this book in the fireplace!

    The Empty Chair," the title of Jeffery Deaver's third Lincoln Rhyme novel, pretty much says everything in the title. From each chapter of the book, it contains scenes to contain no suspense and derisive twists. <BR/><BR/>In chapter three of the series, Deaver brings back detective Lincoln Rhyme and Amelia Sachs, his two most well liked heroes from the previous novels ("The Bone Collector" and "The Coffin Dancer"). Recently commuting from his townhouse in New York, Rhyme now heads over North Carolina to undergo some high risk spinal cord surgery. Just when he and Amelia are about to settle in, the local authorities come in and acquire Rhyme to help them solve a case involving a murder, along with the disappearance of two teenage girls. The kidnapper is a sixteen year-old teenager dubbed the "Insect Boy," knicknamed for his disturbing obsession with bugs. Unfamiliar to his new surroundings, Rhyme is unsure of who to trust. Throughout the investigation, Rhyme begins to clash head to head to Amelia, who not just is his partner but also his one and only protegee. <BR/><BR/>Despite all of the flaws, I do have to admit that there are a few things that I enjoyed in the book. First off, I would like to give praise for Deaver's cleverly developed metaphor comparing a hornet's nest to Rhyme's distrust for the residents in this new town. And being a current reader in the series, I liked seeing how Amelia Sach's instinct on forensics is beginning to get more opinionated. <BR/><BR/>Now being a huge Lincoln Rhyme fan, I have enjoyed all of the other cases that he and Amelia have tackled. I must say that this particular one made me feel a little dissatisfied from the beginning. As mentioned before, title of this book says it all, from where it begins to where it finishes. I was annoyed at how the plot contained bunches of ludicrous twists, not to mention the myriad holes in the mystery. What bothered me the most about the book were all of the paper-thin characters throughout the plot. All of the junk contained in "The Empty Chair" made it very painful for me to finish it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 25, 2008

    Not a bad book but a bit a reality check needed

    It was a great story. The plots, twists that you would expect form Deaver are all there but the book seemed to fizzle out. A bit to much useless banter while touring the woods. Some of the characters were just over the top. Near the end the gunfight would make the OK Corral seem like Disneyland but it was a nice twist at the very end. The stupidity of Sachs and the townfolk in the book were just to much for me.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 3, 2006

    Great mystrey.

    This is my first book by Mr.Deaver i have read and it is a great mystrey, tautly written with beatifully drawn characters. I don't think anybody can guess the ending. The last 100 pages goes like a flash. However, a few questions, please? Wasn't there a newspaper in the town with a nosey reporter suspicious of all these happenings? Was there a sequel to this novel? It begs one.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 17, 2005

    Excellent read

    I'm a Deaver fan and like all his other books I found this one to be one of his best. A great thriller and full of suspense..

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 13, 2003

    Sad that it was over

    This book is awesome. I almost couldn't stop reading it but had to force myself to go to bed. Exciting until the very end. I recommend this to everyone who likes exciting mysteries.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2003

    Disappointing

    This was a very disappointing book from a very good writer. The plot was somewhat predictable and tired. I read it quickly just to be done with it. Devil's Teardrop was a much better novel.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 8, 2002

    Another GREAT Lincoln Rhyme Story

    THE EMPTY CHAIR AUTHOR: Jeffery Deaver PUBLISHER: Simon & Schuster REVIEWED BY: Barbara Rhoades BOOK REVIEW: Are you a fan of Jeffery Deaver¿s character, Lincoln Rhyme? If so, you don¿t want to miss the book, The Empty Chair. In this story, Lincoln has decided to have surgery performed that may give him more movement. When Lincoln and Amelia, his right-hand gal and soul mate, arrive at the University of North Carolina, they are asked by the sheriff of Tanner¿s Corner to help them locate two girls that have been abducted. Putting aside his need to be ready for the surgery, Lincoln agrees to help. Between them, they determine that the Insect Boy is the culprit but when he is apprehended, he refuses to tell where one of the girls is being held. Amelia begins to believe Garrett, AKA the Insert boy, is not guilty. Lincoln disagrees. Pitting their wits against each other, each tries to prove he is right. Mr. Deaver¿s writes with a knowledge of local color that is superb and keeps the reader on the edge of his chair until the last word is read. He also gives the plot several unexpected twists that add to the story. Be sure to get a copy for yourself.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 23, 2002

    empty chair good reading...

    Deaver has once again given us a very entertaining read. This one is a nice change of pace (and place) for the Rhyme/Sachs series. I liked the change of setting to the swamplands of North Carolina, and how Deaver lets you feel Rhyme's frustration at being a 'fish out of water'. Even though he keeps the action going, this one seems a little slower in the first half of the book than some of the rest of Deaver's books. However, after you get by the halfway point the action and the tension really gets cranked up. The last part of the book is typical Deaver. I won't give the ending away, but I will say that the plot twists so much it will make your head spin. Again, this book is a great read, and a great addition to the Rhyme/Sachs series. It adds to the series without rewriting anything. I also would recommend the Devils Teardrop to any Jeffery Deaver fans who like the forensic science, action, and mystery novels. The book could have been shorter, but it was worth reading. Jeffery Deaver is typical to be very detailed and that he was. You feel like you are part of the book because the scene is described so well.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 28, 2002

    'fish out of water.....'

    Heance my headline I felt like a 'fish out of water'after I read the first two novels of the Rhyme series(which were very good).This one was the most emotional of the trilogy. I thought I could out smart Deaver and find out who did it, but the end is like Deaver's tradmark endings, plenty of twists and turns that will make your head spin and you gasping for air.This one of my favorite and I suggest you recomend this and many more of his exceptional novels to your friends who are craving for an eccellent murder mystery.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 9, 2002

    What a Good Book!

    Over the course of years (too many to mention), I have read hundreds (thousands?) of mostly mystery books. I have to say that Jeffery Deavers', The Empty Chair, is my all time favorite. Other books I have read have a tendancy to not keep me interested or to not keep me constantly guessing the outcome. This book had so many twists and interesting angles, that what I expected to have happen didn't, and what I never imagined to have happen did. I have now read three more of his books. All of the books are three and a half (maybe 4) star ratings, but I have to say that this is book is still retaining the rank as my favorite.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 29, 2001

    Awesome!

    This book is great.... I was amazed in the twists... only a brilliant mind could create such a masterpiece.... I suggest this book to anyone... if you like suspense, you will not be able to put it down... It would make an awesome movie... Definately 5 stars... no doubt! Read it!

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