Roadside Crosses (Kathryn Dance Series #2) [NOOK Book]


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 ...
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Roadside Crosses (Kathryn Dance Series #2)

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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 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.
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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

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781439166024
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Publication date: 6/9/2009
  • Series: Kathryn Dance Series , #2
  • Sold by: SIMON & SCHUSTER
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 416
  • Sales rank: 26,040
  • File size: 2 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.


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 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

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 100 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 100 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 24, 2010

    Surprising Disappointing

    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!

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 12, 2009

    The plot for Roadside Crosses was okay. Good lead character. However, the companion "Blue Nowhere" was much, much better - fantastic, really!!! The Blue Nowhere is one of the most interesting books I have read in awhile.

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 21, 2009

    Not my favorite

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 14, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Jeffrey Deaver, author of the great Lincoln Rhymes mysteries, has another hit series with the Kathryn Dance police procedurals

    The Chilton Report blog, owned and operated by Jim Chilton, opens up a discussion thread dubbed Roadside Crosses, which questions why an accident occurred on the spot where two roadsides intersect. The teens were going home after a graduation party; but two died, one was hospitalized and driver Travis Brigham hardly had a scratch. On the blog, everyone attacks Travis holding him responsible for vehicular homicide.--

    He becomes the victim of a cyber war in which each part is uglier than the previously horrific segue as people accuse him of all sorts of crimes. Tammy Parker was kidnapped and thrown into the trunk if her car, which he drove into the ocean at high tide; she was fortunate to be rescued. She said Travis did it Another female almost died from poisonous fumes; she tells the cops Travis did it. --------------

    California Bureau of Investigation agent Kathryn Dance investigates Travis, but when she tries to see him a second time, he is gone. As more people on the blog claim Travis attacked them, Kathryn applies her kinesics expertise to separate the lies from the truth in hopes of catching Travis before he kills again; he knows if he is caught he has no prayer as the evidence is extraordinarily overwhelming.-----------

    Jeffrey Deaver, author of the great Lincoln Rhymes mysteries, has another hit series with the Kathryn Dance police procedurals (see THE SLEEPING DOLL). The protagonist seems genuine because she makes mistakes even with her being the department's expert on reading body language. As she follows clues that seem to inch her closer to the perpetrator, she must deal with her mom being arrested for a mercy killing while also coping with the Blog attacks coaxing politicians to pressure her and other cops to catch Travis. There are plenty of red herrings and misdetections as Mr. Deaver provides an intriguing high tech thriller; that besides an exhilarating cat and mouse murder investigation looks deep into the influence of blogs.-----------

    Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 17, 2014


    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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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 5, 2013


    A girl crawls in

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 5, 2013


    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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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 11, 2012

    highly recommended

    i could not put this book down

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  • Posted April 10, 2011

    Highly Recommended

    An excellent read, I highly recommend this book!

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  • Posted December 17, 2010


    This is not the best book Deaver has written. There is definately a "keep you in the pages" element missing.

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  • Posted September 25, 2010

    Not his best.

    I listened to the audio version of this book and was very disappointed. The narrator's voice didn't help the impression of "chick lit".
    It's been a while since I read the last Dance book so I can't compare the two accurately but I remember liking that one. I wouldn't buy a third.

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  • Posted August 6, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Roadside Crosses

    A killer leaves roadside crosses to warn of a murder he will commit that day. As the CBI tries to track down a teenage boy whom they believe is the killer, their trail leads to the world of blogging and gaming.

    Although, there are twists and turns, as the lead detective searches for the killer I found the whole gaming and blogging tale fairly unappealing. Not one of Deaver's best.

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  • Posted July 6, 2010

    I loved it!

    This is my first Jeffery Deaver book and I could not put it down. This is a great book.

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  • Posted July 1, 2010

    Roadside Crosses

    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.

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  • Posted April 24, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Typical Deaver

    Jeffery Deaver always comes through with a legal/suspence tough to figure out mind puzzle. I have a 35 minute bus commute to work five days a week and his books are perfect for making the time fly. Love his books.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 19, 2010

    So many twists, turns and a surprise ending!!

    This is one book that had me stumped until the end. Just when you think you know whats going on - surprise...

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  • Posted March 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    jeffery deaver books never let you down.

    it was nice to have a katherine dance thriller. it was such a good read, but for me jeffery deaver never disappoints. one note. only one double contraction in this book.....i guess they all belong to lincon rhymes.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 4, 2009

    new character

    I like the new character. I'm not real fond of the Lincoln Rhymes character, but I still read it because I like Deaver's style.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 26, 2009

    more from this reviewer


    I like my dad liked this book.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 10, 2009


    From the first attempt, there are a series of twists and turns that keep you reading. I'm not going to give the book away, but there is a killer that leaves roadside crosses BEFORE he kills. Uh huh.. BEFORE!! A great book even though (and I'm not an author by any stretch of the imagination) I would have written a slightly different ending. But if that's the only negative I can come up with... as I said.. it's a MUST read.

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