A Maiden's Grave

( 31 )

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 ...
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A Maiden's Grave

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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.

On a lonely highway in Kansas, eight young deaf girls and their teachers are taken hostage by three escaped killers. Pitted against them is the FBI's chief negotiator, a veteran of hundreds of such encounters. But somehow, he feels, this one may be different.

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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
From Barnes & Noble
When a school bus carrying eight deaf schoolgirls stops on a Kansas highway, three escaped convicts hijack the vehicle, taking the girls hostage in a deadly game of cat and mouse and initiating a 12-hour siege of noose-tightening tension.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780736643009
  • Publisher: Books on Tape, Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/1/1999
  • Edition description: Unabridged

Meet the Author

Jeffery  Deaver

Jeffery Deaver is the New York Times bestselling author of thirty novels. He has been nominated for seven Edgar Awards from the Mystery Writers of America and is a three-time recipient of the Ellery Queen Readers Award for Best Short Story of the Year.

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:

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 31 )
Rating Distribution

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 31 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 5, 2004

    Highly Recommended

    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.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 7, 2004

    Best Of His Books

    I have read every one of Deaver's books, and this is my favorite. His best work as far as I'm concerned.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 28, 2004

    Totally Top-Notch Page-Turner!!!

    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!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 23, 2003

    Plodding, A Chore to Read!

    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!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 30, 2001

    Very Good

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2000

    A waste of paper

    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. ***

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 20, 2013

    The man is good. That was my first thought after finishing A MAI

    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

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 4, 2008

    BORING BOOK

    Since I am retired I read about five or more books a week. I had read one of Deaver's books and enjoyed it so I went to the library and got more. This was the most boring and drawn out book that I have read in a very long time. The only reason I plowed through and read it all was that I always finish a book no matter how bad it is and trust me this one was bad. I have four more of his books and hope they are a better read.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 21, 2001

    Kept Me on The Edge

    The Chevy raced right for the front of the building,the bus following.Both skidded to a stop just to the left of the door.Melanie peered at the ruddy brick.When she was eighteen, and a student herself at the Laurent Clerc School,a boy had brought her here,supposedly for a picnic but of course to do what boys of eighteen will do--and what Melanie too wanted,she believed at the time.But once they'd snuck inside,carting a blanket with them,she looked at the gloomy rooms and panicked.She'd fled and had never seen the perplexed boy,or the building,again.But she remembered it.An abandoned slaughterhouse,a place of death.A place that was hard and sharp and dangerous.And dark.How Melanie hated the dark.(twenty five years old and she had five night-lights in a six-room house)Stoat flung open the bus door,dragged Susan and Mrs.Harstrawn out after him.Bear herded the students and their teachers into a sim-cicular,tiled room,windowless and damp.The walls and cement floors were stained dark brown.A worn wooden ramp led to the left side of the room.An overhead con-veyor holding meat hooks led away from the right side.In the center was a drain for the blood.The ending of this book is ABSOLUETLY WILD.I found it hard to put this book down.But I didn't want to finsh it either.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 9, 2001

    Outstanding

    I quickly became a Deaver fan after I picked up a copy of the Bone Collector several years ago. I soon immersed myself in several of Deaver's books. Many of his earlier books had the feel of an author in the 'learning stage' and I at times struggled to finish them. However, this novel was one of the best I have read. I finished this book several years ago, but I still remember the vivid characters and outstanding story. This one is near the top of my list of favorites by Mr. Deaver. Highly recommended. Most people only learned of Jeffrey Deaver after the movie version of the Bone Collector came out- I am happy to say I 'found' him prior to that. Anyone who enjoys mysterys or thrillers or crime novels should take a day or two to read this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 1999

    Great Book

    In just a few words: You are not a serious reader until you read this book. 419 pages, I put them down in three days.

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    Posted December 29, 2010

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    Posted March 30, 2011

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    Posted December 20, 2011

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    Posted August 3, 2011

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    Posted September 15, 2011

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    Posted January 1, 2010

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    Posted June 29, 2010

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    Posted January 21, 2012

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    Posted July 27, 2013

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