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Roadside Crosses (Kathryn Dance Series #2)

Roadside Crosses (Kathryn Dance Series #2)

3.7 100
by Jeffery Deaver

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The Monterey Peninsula is rocked when a killer begins to leave roadside crosses beside local highways -- not in memoriam, but as announcements of his intention to kill. And to kill in particularly horrific and efficient ways: using the personal details about the victims that they've carelessly posted in blogs and on social networking websites.

The case lands


The Monterey Peninsula is rocked when a killer begins to leave roadside crosses beside local highways -- not in memoriam, but as announcements of his intention to kill. And to kill in particularly horrific and efficient ways: using the personal details about the victims that they've carelessly posted in blogs and on social networking websites.

The case lands on the desk of Kathryn Dance, the California Bureau of Investigation's foremost kinesics -- body language-expert. She and Deputy Michael O'Neil follow the leads to Travis Brigham, a troubled teenager whose role in a fatal car accident has inspired vicious attacks against him on a popular blog, The Chilton Report.

As the investigation progresses, Travis vanishes. Using techniques he learned as a brilliant participant in MMORPGs, Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games, he easily eludes his pursuers and continues to track his victims, some of whom Kathryn is able to save, some not. Among the obstacles Kathryn must hurdle are politicians from Sacramento, paranoid parents and the blogger himself, James Chilton, whose belief in the importance of blogging and the new media threatens to derail the case and potentially Dance's career. It is this threat that causes Dance to take desperate and risky measures...

In signature Jeffery Deaver style, Roadside Crosses is filled with dozens of plot twists, cliff-hangers and heartrending personal subplots. It is also a searing look at the accountability of blogging and life in the online world. Roadside Crosses is the third in Deaver's bestselling High-Tech Thriller Trilogy, along with The Blue Nowhere and The Broken Window.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
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)
Library Journal

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.]
—Jeff Ayers

Kirkus Reviews
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
From the Publisher
“Jeffery Deaver is grand master of the ticking-clock thriller.”
—Kathy Reichs

“Clever and twisted. . . . Don’t miss this one.”—Library Journal

“There is no thriller writer today like Jeffery Deaver.”
—San Jose Mercury News

Product Details

Simon & Schuster
Publication date:
Kathryn Dance Series , #2
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File size:
2 MB

Read an Excerpt


Chapter 1


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

Meet the Author

Jeffery Deaver is the international, #1 bestselling author of more than twenty-seven suspense novels, including The Bone Collector, which was made into a film starring Denzel Washington. He lives in North Carolina.

Brief Biography

Washington, D.C.
Date of Birth:
May 6, 1950
Place of Birth:
Chicago, Illinois
B.A., University of Missouri; Juris Doctor, cum laude, Fordham University School of Law

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Roadside Crosses (Kathryn Dance Series #2) 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 98 reviews.
murphyMT More than 1 year ago
I am having a hard time getting through this book. Usually I look forward to the evening when I can sit and read but I haven't been looking forward to finishing this book. Too much about the blogs, and the kinesic information. I will finish it and am counting down the pages to til the end. Sixty pages to go... ugh...Hope the ending is worth it. It also feels like Michael O'Neill doesn't want to be in the book either. Was hoping to see more of him.
Imrahil More than 1 year ago
Roadside Crosses was my introduction to Jeffrey Deaver and sadly, I have confess this book was barely readable. I have to agree with another reviewer that character development was rather minimal and I found it odd that all the story characters spoke in clipped,fragmented sentences. It was irritating and almost considered quitting this story. The only thing that stopped me was that I bought this book. Some men might speak fragmentedly, but I find it difficult to believe that women, even law enforcement career women like Kathryn Dance speak this way as a general rule. Everyone has their own unique speech & vocabulary patterns when they communicate, but everyone in this story spoke in the same fragmented manner. Implausible! Then there was the endless streams of blogs I had to sift through & other techie information which was very monotonous. Ennui quickly set in after awhile, living inside the head of Kathryn Dance throughout most of this book. There was much too much display of kinesics and processing in this story for me. Kathryn Dance read everyone,kids, friends, co-workers, suspects, witnesses, the dog.....on a 24/7 basis. It made me think Dance is a control freak and way too sensitive about what others think and what their body expressions might convey. Her professional analysis of body reading can assist in investigations, but is insubstantive and an inadequate basis as a primary tool for crime solving. It's a good tool as an aid....but just an aid. I found it hard to believe that a good law enforcement agent can conduct a thorough and factually based investigation solely based on kinesics. Furthermore, I wasn't convinced that Dance could effectively control people on a consistent basis by giving hard looks & or growling commands. Once Dance barked, people backed off. Really? Men,in particular, often challenge the authority of women, yet not one gave her a serious challenge. I guess Dance was talented that way. Ha! I really had a difficult time getting through this book. Most of the story was dialog so I presume that the author is hoping for Hollywood to buy the screenplay & movie rights for this story. The author did not appear to "paint" the scenes and just plainly told the reader how things were instead of using the device of powerful or subtle scene descriptions to lead the reader down the path of imagination. It appeared to me, this author wrote this story in a hurried manner to meet a deadline. Sorry to say, it but this is one of the worst novels I've ever read. Interesting storyline & plot twist but extremely disappointly poor in execution. Here's my two thumbs down on this book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I listened to the Roadside Crosses audiobook. It was enjoyable, but simple. Although the idea of confusing the online world with reality is fairly fresh, the book didn't go into much depth on this topic. The Roadside Crosses audiobook came with a free book by Deavers called "The Blue Nowhere". This book was absolutely outstanding. The plot was thrilling, the lead character extremely likeable and the technology was thoroughly described. I felt that I really learned about the world of computer hacking in-depth. This book was enjoyable and provocative. I felt like Roadside Crosses was written for a leisure audience, while The Blue Nowhere was written for a more serious reader that wants to learn about a new, scary technology. I read many books, and I felt that the Blue Nowhere was really refreshing because it did not assume that the reader simply wants a cheap thrill. The book was clearly thoroughly researched and I was pleased to finally read a mystery novel that was complicated and intellectually engaging.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read all of Deaver's books but this one spent too much time on the family and coworker's side stories. I had hoped for more focus on the title story and felt that more time should have been spend developing that.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a pathetic, boring book which I finally gave up reading. 90% filler and a job to read. This guy makes you endure an entire chapter about nothing more than dinner at the main characters house and endless page after page after page of stupid "blogs" which make up the ( and I use this term loosely)....story. Worst boredom I have endured since Moby Dick. Finally gave up on it halfway through and opened Lee Childs, Gone Tomorrow which was like opening a big box of chocolates. This guy can write and in living color. I'm all better now. Gave this book one star because it was required before submitting the review. Deserves negative stars. What a waste of time and money.
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A 13 year old boy looks around. He has turcoise eyes and dirty blonde hair. I wonder which god is my dad...
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i could not put this book down
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carriemurcier More than 1 year ago
An excellent read, I highly recommend this book!
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