From the Publisher
“Jeffery Deaver is grand master of the ticking-clock thriller.”
“Clever and twisted. . . . Don’t miss this one.”—Library Journal
“There is no thriller writer today like Jeffery Deaver.”
—San Jose Mercury News
Tony Award–winning actress Michele Pawk nicely captures the inner monologues of Deaver's protagonist Kathryn Dance, the California Bureau of Investigation's leading kinesics expert. Dance's remarkable sixth sense concerning the truthfulness of suspects and witnesses becomes a double-edged sword in her social interactions with co-workers and family members, and Pawk's portrayal of the widowed detective's angst on the fledgling romantic front rings especially true. Pawk's rendering of the dialogue proves to be her weak point: the voices of older teen boys, especially Travis Brigham, the young man at the center of the story, continually quiver into higher octaves more suitable to preadolescent males. While the listener never loses touch with the essence of Dance, others in her path come to life with varying degrees of success. A Simon & Schuster hardcover (Reviews, Apr. 13). (June)
Deaver brings back body-language expert Kathryn Dance (The Sleeping Doll) in a clever and twisted tale that explores the world of the Internet and the premise that words can be more powerful than any weapon. A roadside remembrance cross is found with the next day's date. When that day arrives, someone almost dies near the spot. As more memorials appear that seem to predict future deaths, Dance must push her talents to the limit; this killer lives in an online world and believes that his imaginary life is his real one. And how does an expert on human interaction deal with an avatar from a fake realm? The web sites mentioned throughout the book are actual live links and add to the fun. Though a couple of subplots get glossed over, the main story resonates. Dance is another exciting series character, and though this series has a ways to go before it achieves the devotion accorded Deaver's Rhyme/Sachs series, it has unlimited potential. Don't miss this one. [See Prepub Alert, LJ2/15/09.]
Kinesics specialist Kathryn Dance's second case (The Sleeping Doll, 2007) gives her more chances to show her special expertise, but to less effect. Everyone's seen the homemade crosses, often arrayed with flowers, that mark fatal traffic accidents. But the memorials placed along the roads of Monterey, Calif., are different. They don't include the names of the dead, and they list today's or tomorrow's dates, making them less like memorials than like the taunting prophecies so beloved of Lincoln Rhyme's creator (The Broken Window, 2008, etc.). The California Bureau of Investigation is quick to link the first roadside cross to Tammy Foster, a high-school student abducted and locked in the trunk of her car, which was parked on the beach as the tide came in. Soon after, CBI investigator Dance, recalling a one-car accident that left two of Tammy's friends dead, realizes that The Chilton Report, a local blog about to go global, may have unleashed a wave of violence. Blogger James Chilton's online question-whether the road on which high-school student Travis Brigham crashed the car had been adequately maintained-seemed innocuous enough, but the comments that followed, many of them attacks on Travis by fellow students, became increasingly vitriolic. Did the flame war erupt from cyberspace into the old-fashioned kind of space? A series of considerably more physical attacks, first against another student, then directed more generally at contributors to The Chilton Report, raises the stakes. Yet Dance seems mostly ineffectual, maybe due to the distractions of the obligatory turf wars and of her mother's arrest for euthanizing a hopelessly wounded patient in the hospital where she works as a nurse.Deaver's trademark plot twists are more numerous but less surprising than usual, with most of the alleged thunderclaps muffled. After 15 years as the master magician of the thriller, Deaver seems to be opting for a less demanding formula. Agent: Deborah Schneider/Gelfman Schneider Literary Agents
Read an Excerpt
M O N D A Y
OUT OF PLACE.
The California Highway Patrol trooper, young with bristly yellow hair beneath his crisp hat, squinted through the windshield of his Crown Victoria Police Interceptor as he cruised south along Highway 1 in Monterey. Dunes to the right, modest commercial sprawl to the left.
Something was out of place. What?
Heading home at 5:00 p.m. after his tour had ended, he surveyed the road. The trooper didn'twrite a lot of tickets here, leaving that to the county deputies professional courtesy but he occasionally lit up somebody in a German or Italian car if he was in a mood, and this was the route he often took home at this time of day, so he knew the highway pretty well.
There...that was it. Something colorful, a quarter mile ahead, sat by the side of the road at the base of one of the hills of sand that cut off the view of Monterey Bay.
What could it be?
He hit his light bar protocol and pulled over onto the right shoulder. He parked with the hood of the Ford pointed leftward toward traffic, so a rear-ender would shove the car away from, not over, him, and climbed out. Stuck in the sand just beyond the shoulder was a cross a roadside memorial. It was about eighteen inches high and homemade, cobbled together out of dark, broken-off branches, bound with wire like florists use. Dark red roses lay in a splashy bouquet at the base. A cardboard disk was in the center, the date of the accident written on it in blue ink. There were no names on the front or back.
Officially these memorials to traffic accident victims were discouraged, since people were occasionally injured, even killed, planting a cross or leaving flowers or stuffed animals.
Usually the memorials were tasteful and poignant. This one was spooky.
What was odd, though, was that he couldn't remember any accidents along here. In fact this was one of the safest stretches of Highway 1 in California. The roadway becomes an obstacle course south of Carmel, like that spot of a really sad accident several weeks ago: two girls killed coming back from a graduation party. But here, the highway was three lanes and mostly straight, with occasional lazy bends through the old Fort Ord grounds, now a college, and the shopping districts.
The trooper thought about removing the cross, but the mourners might return to leave another one and endanger themselves again. Best just to leave it. Out of curiosity he'd check with his sergeant in the morning and find out what had happened. He walked back to his car, tossed his hat on the seat and rubbed his crew cut. He pulled back into traffic, his mind no longer on roadside accidents. He was thinking about what his wife would be making for supper, about taking the kids to the pool afterward.
And when was his brother coming to town? He looked at the date window on his watch. He frowned. Was that right? A glance at his cell phone confirmed that, yes, today was June 25.
That was curious. Whoever had left the roadside cross had made a mistake. He remembered that the date crudely written on the cardboard disk was June 26, Tuesday, tomorrow.
Maybe the poor mourners who'd left the memorial had been so upset they'd jotted the date down wrong.
Then the images of the eerie cross faded, though they didn'tvanish completely and, as the officer headed down the highway home, he drove a bit more carefully.
Copyright © 2009 by Jeffrey Deaver