A Maiden's Grave

A Maiden's Grave

4.1 33
by Jeffery Deaver
     
 

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A school bus carrying eight deaf school-girls and their teachers brakes suddenly on a flat Kansas highway. They should never have stopped. Waiting for them are three heartless men just escaped from prison - each with nothing to lose. And now, with the girls as their hostages, they have everything to gain. They make their stand in an abandoned slaughterhouse, and it is…  See more details below

Overview

A school bus carrying eight deaf school-girls and their teachers brakes suddenly on a flat Kansas highway. They should never have stopped. Waiting for them are three heartless men just escaped from prison - each with nothing to lose. And now, with the girls as their hostages, they have everything to gain. They make their stand in an abandoned slaughterhouse, and it is there that Lou Handy, a murderer and the convicts' ringleader, announces his terms: to kill one captive an hour unless his demands are met. What follows is a twelve-hour siege of noose-tight tension - and a war of nerves between Handy and the FBI's senior hostage negotiator, Arthur Potter.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
It's said that great minds think alike; apparently great thriller writers do too. Here's the second outstanding novel in as many months to see a busload of schoolchildren kidnapped by maniacs. The first was Mary Willis Walker's Under the Beetle's Cellar (Forecasts, June 12); Deaver's is equally gripping, with the added twist that these kids are deaf. In rural Kansas, an act of kindness launches a nightmare when Mrs. Harstrawn, along with hearing-impaired apprentice teacher Melanie Charrol, stops her busload of deaf schoolgirls at a car wreck, only to be taken hostage by Lou Handy and two other stone-cold killers who've just escaped from prison. Pursued by a state trooper, the captors race with their prey to an abandoned slaughterhouse. There, Arthur Potter, the FBI's foremost hostage negotiator, sets up a command post-but the nightmare intensifies when Handy releases one girl, then shoots her in the back just as she reaches the agent. After further brutalities, Melanie decides to rescue her students herself, tricking the killers with sign language games to convey her plan to her charges. Meanwhile, pressure mounts on Potter as the media get pushy, the local FBI stonewalls, Kansas State hostage rescue units try an end run to grab the glory and an assistant attorney general butts in. Deaver (Praying for Sleep) brilliantly conveys the tensions and deceit of hostage negotiations; he also proves a champion of the deaf, offering poetic insight into their world. Throughout, heartbreakingly real characters keep the wildly swerving plot from going off-track, even during the multiple-whammy twists that bring the novel, Deaver's best to date, to its spectacular finish. 200,000 first printing; $200,000 ad/promo; Literary Guild featured alternate; film rights to Interscope Communications; simultaneous Penguin Audiobook; author tour. (Oct.)
Library Journal
A bus carrying eight deaf children and their teachers stops in the middle of the Kansas countryside, a car wreck directly ahead. Soon, three escaped killers rise out of the nearby cornfields and take children and teachers hostage. Pursued by the police, the convicts are forced to hole up in an abandoned slaughterhouse. There they threaten to shoot a child every hour until their demands are met. A 12-hour war of wits begins between FBI hostage expert Arthur Potter and the escapees' leader, Louis Jeremiah Handy. "I aim to get outta here. ...If it means I gotta shoot 'em dead as posts then that's the way it's gonna be," Handy boasts. Potter finds himself "in the middle of the week's media big bang," battling publicity-hungry politicians, trigger-happy cops, and the press as well as the unpredictable killers. This book by the best-selling author of Praying for Sleep (Viking, 1994) starts with a bang, and the tension never lets up. A topnotch thriller with an unexpected kicker at the end. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 6/1/95.]David Keymer, California State Univ., Stanislaus
George Needham
Eight students and two teachers from a school for the deaf are kidnapped on a remote Kansas highway by three murderous escaped convicts. They are held hostage in an abandoned slaughterhouse for 18 hours while the FBI's top negotiator, Arthur Potter, attempts to secure their release. The situation is made more difficult because the leader of the convicts is as brilliant in his way as Potter is in his. Meanwhile, reporters are crawling all over the security zone Potter has established, politicians are preening for the cameras, and rival law enforcement agencies are hatching their own rescue plots. Deaver has taken what could have been a routine plot and created a spine-tingling thriller by his judicious use of time, outstanding characterizations, and a plot twist near the end of the book that is as logical as it is startling. In Arthur Potter, he introduces a sympathetic and human hero, a complex, moralistic man who can only succeed at his craft by befriending the vilest criminals and then betraying them. Deaver has also succeeded in making his deaf characters vivid individuals, without a hint of patronizing.
From the Publisher
"Chilling." —San Francisco Chronicle

"Gripping" —Denver Post

"Deaver writes the types of thrillers that would challenge even the most enthusiastic roller-coaster rider." —Cleveland Plain Dealer

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780451188489
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
10/01/1996
Pages:
432
Product dimensions:
4.38(w) x 6.88(h) x 1.18(d)

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
“A screaming hit.”—The New York Times Book Review

“Compelling suspense…a chilling web of madness and violence…an all-night page-turner.’”—San Francisco Chronicle

“Starts with a bang, and the tension never lets up. A top-notch thriller with an unexpected kicker at the end.”—Library Journal

“Heartbreakingly real characters…multiple-whammy twists…[a] spectacular finish. Deaver brilliantly conveys the tensions and deceit of hostage negotiations.”—Publishers Weekly

Steve Martini
"Wonderful, riverting, vivid...rings with an atmosphere of haunting realism."

Meet the Author

Jeffery Deaver is the New York Times bestselling author of nineteen suspense novels, including The Blue Nowhere and The Bone Collector, which was made into a feature film starring Denzel Washington and Angelina Jolie. He has been nominated for three Edgar Awards from the Mystery Writers of America and is a two-time recipient of the Ellery Queen Readers Award for Best Short Story of the Year. A lawyer who quit practicing to write full-time, he lives in California and Virginia.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
Washington, D.C.
Date of Birth:
May 6, 1950
Place of Birth:
Chicago, Illinois
Education:
B.A., University of Missouri; Juris Doctor, cum laude, Fordham University School of Law
Website:
http://www.jefferydeaver.com/

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Maiden's Grave 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 33 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book gripped my attention from the start, and kept me interested to the last page. I'm a huge Deaver fan, and have read all of his books. This is my favorite Deaver book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have read every one of Deaver's books, and this is my favorite. His best work as far as I'm concerned.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book grips you on every page with a sustained suspense, tension, interest, and humanity. Totally engrossing (and I'm fussy about that!). Never lets up, and contains some great surprises and reversals. Takes its place with Deaver's other top gripper, Blue Nowhere. I am saving both books to read again in a few years!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've read this one by JD twice & I know I will read it again! He is by far one of the best writers of this genre. To me there is no such thing as a boring JD book!! Please never stop writing.
RobertDowns More than 1 year ago
The man is good. That was my first thought after finishing A MAIDEN’S GRAVE. If you want to learn how to plot a novel, then you’d be hard pressed to find a better author to learn from than the master himself. And he knows how to tackle damaged characters, not just emotionally damaged, but physically damaged, scarred to the point that you’re only left with pieces, and the pieces don’t seem to fit together the way that they should. This novel is filled with enough twists and turns to keep you guessing, taking what could have been just a classic negotiation story and flipping it on its head. It takes a frightful, horrific situation and turns it up a notch by having a group of deaf hostages, and the three hostage takers that are unwilling to communicate with them. And then it adds local politics and multiple task forces for good measure, with each group having its own agenda. The characters sometimes take a backseat to the story, but I still felt emotionally invested in what would happen next. This proved to be a good read, along with having a certain amount of unpredictability to keep things interesting. Robert Downs Author of Falling Immortality: Casey Holden, Private Investigator
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'm a big fan of Jeffrey Deaver's Lincoln Rhyme series and eagerly picked up A Maiden's Grave. Unfortunately, this novel simply isn't the same calibre of the Rhyme books. The plot involves the kidnapping of several young deaf girls who are held hostage at an old slaughterhouse in Kansas. The main character in the book is Arthur Potter, an FBI hostage negotiator; he's accompanied by the standard techno-geek, the mousey assistant who faithfully logs info on the bad guys, and the stunningly gorgeous ex-model assistant Angie. For fans of the Rhyme series, you'll recognize this Amelia Sachs-clone immediately...the only change is the hair color. The villains are interesting, but not enough is shared about them to keep this reader interested. Most of the book is spent slogging through countless scenes of tech-talk, political in-fighting, and the developing 'relationship' between one of the deaf women and the hostage negotiator. This plotline alone strains the credibility of the book. All in all, it appears that Deaver has done his research, but the plot is hackneyed and too drawn out -- I've even lost count of the number of times the hostage negotiation team 'bursts into applause' at the slightest 'accomplishment' of the hero, Potter. If you like police procedurals, read A Maiden's Grave. If you want an engaging novel, you'd be better off reading the Lincoln Rhyme series. And for the ultimate hostage negotiation novel, check out Robert Crais' 'Hostage' -- that was a phenomenal read!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was impressed. I liked the way that Deaver made the hero seem human and the way the relationship developed between hero and villian. I would recommend the book and I'll definitely read other Deaver novels.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was grievously disappointed with A MAIDEN'S GRAVE, especially after reading THE BONE COLLECTOR. Certain weak premises are unforgiveable - such as frequent the use of the word 'stoat' by numerous characters, including the deaf ones and their interpreters, when a sign-language interpretation of that word would be automatically translated to 'weasel'. This is Kansas, not England! All the characters are poorly-defined and broadly unsympathetic, except the smallest children who are barely more than props shaken at the reader like helpless puppies. The 'suspense' in this book left me feeling dirty and voyeuristic. ***
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