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The Sleeping Doll (Kathryn Dance Series #1)

The Sleeping Doll (Kathryn Dance Series #1)

4.1 84
by Jeffery Deaver

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When Special Agent Kathryn Dance — a brilliant interrogator and kinesics expert with the California Bureau of Investigation — is sent to question the convicted killer Daniel "Son of Manson" Pell as a suspect in a newly unearthed crime, she feels both trepidation and electrifying intrigue. Pell is serving a life sentence for the brutal murders of the


When Special Agent Kathryn Dance — a brilliant interrogator and kinesics expert with the California Bureau of Investigation — is sent to question the convicted killer Daniel "Son of Manson" Pell as a suspect in a newly unearthed crime, she feels both trepidation and electrifying intrigue. Pell is serving a life sentence for the brutal murders of the wealthy Croyton family in Carmel years earlier — a crime mirroring those perpetrated by Charles Manson in the 1960s. But Pell and his cult members were sloppy: Not only were they apprehended, they even left behind a survivor — the youngest of the Croyton daughters, who, because she was in bed hidden by her toys that terrible night, was dubbed the Sleeping Doll.

But the girl never spoke about that night, nor did the crime's mastermind. Indeed, Pell has long been both reticent and unrepentant about the crime. And so with the murderer transported from the Capitola superprison to an interrogation room in the Monterey County Courthouse, Dance sees an opportunity to pry a confession from him for the recent murder — and to learn more about the depraved mind of this career criminal who considers himself a master of control, a dark Svengali, forcing people to do what they otherwise would never conceive of doing. In an electrifying psychological jousting match, Dance calls up all her skills as an interrogator and kinesics — body language — expert to get to the truth behind Daniel Pell.

But when Dance's plan goes terribly wrong and Pell escapes, leaving behind a trail of dead and injured, she finds herself in charge of her first-ever manhunt. But far from simply fleeing, Pell turns on his pursuers — and other innocents — for reasons Dance and her colleagues can't discern. As the idyllic Monterey Peninsula is paralyzed by the elusive killer, Dance turns to the past to find the truth about what Daniel Pell is really up to. She tracks down the now teenage Sleeping Doll to learn what really happened that night, and she arranges a reunion of three women who were in his cult at the time of the killings. The lies of the past and the evasions of the present boil up under the relentless probing of Kathryn Dance, but will the truth about Daniel Pell emerge in time to stop him from killing again?

Editorial Reviews

Marilyn Stasio
This disturbingly intelligent monster takes us deep into his confidence, sharing both the philosophy and the diabolical techniques of an utterly ruthless cult leader: “Nothing made him happier than transforming someone into a creature of his own making.” Master manipulator that he is, Deaver shows us exactly how it’s done — and makes us admire his own literary artistry.
— The New York Times
Publishers Weekly

Kathryn Dance, an investigator with the California Bureau of Investigation, returns from Deaver's The Cold Moon(where she was a secondary) in this post-prison break pulse-pounder. Dance is the lead cop handling the escape of psychopathic killer Daniel Pell, dubbed "Son of Manson" by the press for his "family" of young runaways and his most horrendous crime, the murders of computer engineer William Croyton, Croyton's wife and two of their three children. The only child left alive, nine-year-old Theresa, is known as theSleeping Doll. Pell, charismatic and diabolically intelligent, continually eludes capture, but Dance, a specialist in interrogation and kinesics (or body language), is never more than a few suspenseful minutes behind. Dance is nicely detailed, and procedural scenes where she uses somatic cues to ferret out liars are fascinating. The book sags in its long middle, but toward the end Deaver digs into his bottomless bag of unexpected twists and turns, keeping readers wide-eyed with surprise, and leaving them looking forward to more of the perspicacious Dance. (June)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Library Journal
To stop a raving Charles Manson type named Daniel Pell, special agent Kathryn Dance (back from The Cold Moon) must find the little girl called the Sleeping Doll who alone survived Pell's slaughter of her family. With a 12-city tour. Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The creator of quadriplegic criminalist Lincoln Rhyme (The Cold Moon, 2006, etc.) presents a new supersleuth to match wits with his latest supervillain. Kathryn Dance is a specialist in interrogation kinesics. She's so good at reading the tiniest movements of the people she's talking to that she's a human lie detector. She's the obvious person for the California Bureau of Investigation to send to interrogate Daniel Pell eight years after the slaughter of computer expert William Croyton and his family landed him in a maximum-security prison for life. Pell is now under suspicion in another cold case. But Dance doesn't have much chance to use her vaunted skills, because hours after her chat with Pell, he escapes in a movie-ready set piece and goes on the lam with the accomplice who helped break him out. Pell's long-range plan is to form a new cult-like Family to replace the three women who were captured along with him and retreat to a private mountaintop he owns. But first he means to protect himself from every possible threat to his future welfare, and that means killing-Theresa Croyton, the daughter who survived her family's murder? Morton Nagle, the fishy true-crime writer who's researching a book on the case? The three Family members Dance has brought together in an uneasy reunion? Dance and her colleagues in the CBI and the Monterey prosecutor's office? The action sequences organized around sightings of Pell and attempts to protect potential victims are expertly staged, and no one in the business can match Deaver's gift for palming an ace under your nose while he tricks you into looking the other way. Longtime fans, however, will see several twists coming and-sensing the approach ofDeaver's most unwisely beloved convention, the false-bottom epilogue-will know enough to skip the last 50 pages. A professional, forgettable barn-burner. First printing of 300,000. Agent: Deborah Schneider/Gelfman Schneider Literary Agents Inc.

Product Details

Pocket Books
Publication date:
Kathryn Dance Series , #1
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.20(d)

Read an Excerpt

The Sleeping Doll

A Novel
By Jeffery Deaver

Simon & Schuster

Copyright © 2007 Jeffery Deaver
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780743260947

Chapter One

The interrogation began like any other.

Kathryn Dance entered the interview room and found the forty-three-year-old man sitting at a metal table, shackled, looking up at her closely. Subjects always did this, of course, though never with such astonishing eyes. Their color was a blue unlike sky or ocean or famous gems.

"Good morning," she said, sitting down across from him.

"And to you," replied Daniel Pell, the man who eight years ago had knifed to death four members of a family for reasons he'd never shared. His voice was soft.

A slight smile on his bearded face, the small, sinewy man sat back, relaxed. His head, covered with long, gray-black hair, was cocked to the side. While most jailhouse interrogations were accompanied by a jingling soundtrack of handcuff chains as subjects tried to prove their innocence with broad, predictable gestures, Daniel Pell sat perfectly still.

To Dance, a specialist in interrogation and kinesics -- body language -- Pell's demeanor and posture suggested caution, but also confidence and, curiously, amusement. He wore an orange jumpsuit, stenciled with "Capitola Correctional Facility" on the chest and "Inmate" unnecessarily decorating the back.

At the moment, though, Pell and Dance were not inCapitola but, rather, a secure interview room at the county courthouse in Salinas, forty miles away.

Pell continued his examination. First, he took in Dance's own eyes -- a green complementary to his blue and framed by square, black-rimmed glasses. He then regarded her French-braided, dark blond hair, the black jacket and beneath it the thick, unrevealing white blouse. He noted too the empty holster on her hip. He was meticulous and in no hurry. (Interviewers and interviewees share mutual curiosity. She told the students in her interrogation seminars, "They're studying you as hard as you're studying them -- usually even harder, since they have more to lose.")

Dance fished in her blue Coach purse for her ID card, not reacting as she saw a tiny toy bat, from last year's Halloween, that either twelve-year-old Wes, his younger sister, Maggie, or possibly both conspirators had slipped into the bag that morning as a practical joke. She thought: How's this for a contrasting life? An hour ago she was having breakfast with her children in the kitchen of their homey Victorian house in idyllic Pacific Grove, two exuberant dogs at their feet begging for bacon, and now here she sat, across a very different table from a convicted murderer.

She found the ID and displayed it. He stared for a long moment, easing forward. "Dance. Interesting name. Wonder where it comes from. And the California Bureau...what is that?"

"Bureau of Investigation. Like an FBI for the state. Now, Mr. Pell, you understand that this conversation is being recorded?"

He glanced at the mirror, behind which a video camera was humming away. "You folks think we really believe that's there so we can fix up our hair?"

Mirrors weren't placed in interrogation rooms to hide cameras and witnesses -- there are far better high-tech ways to do so -- but because people are less inclined to lie when they can see themselves.

Dance gave a faint smile. "And you understand that you can withdraw from this interview anytime you want and that you have a right to an attorney?"

"I know more criminal procedure than the entire graduating class of Hastings Law rolled up together. Which is a pretty funny image, when you think about it."

More articulate than Dance expected. More clever too.

The previous week, Daniel Raymond Pell, serving a life sentence for the 1999 murders of William Croyton, his wife and two of their children, had approached a fellow prisoner due to be released from Capitola and tried to bribe him to run an errand after he was free. Pell told him about some evidence he'd disposed of in a Salinas well years ago and explained that he was worried the items would implicate him in the unsolved murder of a wealthy farm owner. He'd read recently that Salinas was revamping its water system. This had jogged his memory and he'd grown concerned that the evidence would be discovered. He wanted the prisoner to find and dispose of it.

Pell picked the wrong man to enlist, though. The short-timer spilled to the warden, who called the Monterey County Sheriff's Office. Investigators wondered if Pell was talking about the unsolved murder of farm owner Robert Herron, beaten to death a decade ago. The murder weapon, probably a claw hammer, was never found. The Sheriff's Office sent a team to search all the wells in that part of town. Sure enough, they found a tattered T-shirt, a claw hammer and an empty wallet with the initials R.H. stamped on it. Two fingerprints on the hammer were Daniel Pell's.

The Monterey County prosecutor decided to present the case to the grand jury in Salinas, and asked CBI Agent Kathryn Dance to interview him, in hopes of a confession.

Dance now began the interrogation, asking, "How long did you live in the Monterey area?"

He seemed surprised that she didn't immediately begin to browbeat. "A few years."


"Seaside." A town of about thirty thousand, north of Monterey on Highway 1, populated mostly by young working families and retirees. "You got more for your hard-earned money there," he explained. "More than in your fancy Carmel." His eyes alighted on her face.

His grammar and syntax were good, she noted, ignoring his fishing expedition for information about her residence.

Dance continued to ask about his life in Seaside and in prison, observing him the whole while: how he behaved when she asked the questions and how he behaved when he answered. She wasn't doing this to get information -- she'd done her homework and knew the answers to everything she asked -- but was instead establishing his behavioral baseline.

In spotting lies, interrogators consider three factors: nonverbal behavior (body language, or kinesics), verbal quality (pitch of voice or pauses before answering) and verbal content (what the suspect says). The first two are far more reliable indications of deception, since it's much easier to control what we say than how we say it and our body's natural reaction when we do.

The baseline is a catalog of those behaviors exhibited when the subject is telling the truth. This is the standard the interrogator will compare later with the subject's behavior when he might have a reason to lie. Any differences between the two suggest deception.

Finally Dance had a good profile of the truthful Daniel Pell and moved to the crux of her mission in this modern, sterile courthouse on a foggy morning in June. "I'd like to ask you a few questions about Robert Herron."

Eyes sweeping her, now refining their examination: the abalone shell necklace, which her mother had made, at her throat. Then Dance's short, pink-polished nails. The gray pearl ring on the wedding-band finger got two glances.

"How did you meet Herron?"

"You're assuming I did. But, no, never met him in my life. I swear."

The last sentence was a deception flag, though his body language wasn't giving off signals that suggested he was lying.

"But you told the prisoner in Capitola that you wanted him to go to the well and find the hammer and wallet."

"No, that's what he told the warden." Pell offered another amused smile. "Why don't you talk to him about it? You've got sharp eyes, Officer Dance. I've seen them looking me over, deciding if I'm being straight with you. I'll bet you could tell in a flash that that boy was lying."

She gave no reaction, but reflected that it was very rare for a suspect to realize he was being analyzed kinesically.

"But then how did he know about the evidence in the well?"

"Oh, I've got that figured out. Somebody stole a hammer of mine, killed Herron with it and planted it to blame me. They wore gloves. Those rubber ones everybody wears on CSI."

Still relaxed. The body language wasn't any different from his baseline. He was showing only emblems -- common gestures that tended to substitute for words, like shrugs and finger pointing. There were no adaptors, which signal tension, or affect displays -- signs that he was experiencing emotion.

"But if he wanted to do that," Dance pointed out, "wouldn't the killer just call the police then and tell them where the hammer was? Why wait more than ten years?"

"Being smart, I'd guess. Better to bide his time. Then spring the trap."

"But why would the real killer call the prisoner in Capitola? Why not just call the police directly?"

A hesitation. Then a laugh. His blue eyes shone with excitement, which seemed genuine. "Because they're involved too. The police. Sure...The cops realize the Herron case hasn't been solved and they want to blame somebody. Why not me? They've already got me in jail. I'll bet the cops planted the hammer themselves."

"Let's work with this a little. There're two different things you're saying. First, somebody stole your hammer before Herron was killed, murdered him with it and now, all this time later, dimes you out. But your second version is that the police got your hammer after Herron was killed by someone else altogether and planted it in the well to blame you. Those're contradictory. It's either one or the other. Which do you think?"

"Hm." Pell thought for a few seconds. "Okay, I'll go with number two. The police. It's a setup. I'm sure that's what happened."

She looked him in the eyes, green on blue. Nodding agreeably.

"Let's consider that. First, where would the police have gotten the hammer?"

He thought. "When they arrested me for that Carmel thing."

"The Croyton murders in ninety-nine?"

"Right. All the evidence they took from my house in Seaside."

Dance's brows furrowed. "I doubt that. Evidence is accounted for too closely. No, I'd go for a more credible scenario: that the hammer was stolen recently. Where else could somebody find a hammer of yours? Do you have any property in the state?"


"Any relatives or friends who could've had some tools of yours?"

"Not really."

Which wasn't an answer to a yes-or-no question; it was even slipperier than "I don't recall." Dance noticed too that Pell had put his hands, tipped with long, clean nails, on the table at the word "relatives." This was a deviation from baseline behavior. It didn't mean lying, but he was feeling stress. The questions were upsetting him.

"Daniel, do you have any relations living in California?"

He hesitated, must have assessed that she was the sort to check out every comment -- which she was -- and said, "The only one left's my aunt. Down in Bakersfield."

"Is her name Pell?"

Another pause. "Yep...That's good thinking, Officer Dance. I'll bet the deputies who dropped the ball on the Herron case stole that hammer from her house and planted it. They're the ones behind this whole thing. Why don't you talk to them?"

"All right. Now let's think about the wallet. Where could that've come from?...Here's a thought. What if it's not Robert Herron's wallet at all? What if this rogue cop we're talking about just bought a wallet, had R.H. stamped in the leather, then hid that and the hammer in the well? It could've been last month. Or even last week. What do you think about that, Daniel?"

Pell lowered his head -- she couldn't see his eyes -- and said nothing.

It was unfolding just as she'd planned.

Dance had forced him to pick the more credible of two explanations for his innocence -- and proceeded to prove it wasn't credible at all. No sane jury would believe that the police had fabricated evidence and stolen tools from a house hundreds of miles away from the crime scene. Pell was now realizing the mistake he'd made. The trap was about to close on him.


Her heart thumped a bit and she was thinking that the next words out of his mouth might be about a plea bargain.

She was wrong.

His eyes snapped open and bored into hers with pure malevolence. He lunged forward as far as he could. Only the chains hooked to the metal chair, grounded with bolts to the tile floor, stopped him from sinking his teeth into her.

She jerked back, gasping.

"You goddamn bitch! Oh, I get it now. Sure, you're part of it too! Yeah, yeah, blame Daniel. It's always my fault! I'm the easy target. And you come in here sounding like a friend, asking me a few questions. Jesus, you're just like the rest of them!"

Her heart was pounding furiously now, and she was afraid. But she noted quickly that the restraints were secure and he couldn't reach her. She turned to the mirror, behind which the officer manning the video camera was surely rising to his feet right now to help her. But she shook her head his way. It was important to see where this was going.

Then suddenly Pell's fury was replaced with a cold calm. He sat back, caught his breath and looked her over again. "You're in your thirties, Officer Dance. You're somewhat pretty. You seem straight to me, so I guarantee there's a man in your life. Or has been." A third glance at the pearl ring.

"If you don't like my theory, Daniel, let's come up with another one. About what really happened to Robert Herron."

As if she hadn't even spoken. "And you've got children, right? Sure, you do. I can see that. Tell me all about them. Tell me about the little ones. Close in age, and not too old, I'll bet."

This unnerved her and she thought instantly of Maggie and Wes. But she struggled not to react. He doesn't know I have children, of course. He can't. But he acts as if he's certain. Was there something about my behavior he noted? Something that suggested to him that I'm a mother?

They're studying you as hard as you're studying them....

"Listen to me, Daniel," she said smoothly, "an outburst isn't going to help anything."

"I've got friends on the outside, you know. They owe me. They'd love to come visit you. Or hang with your husband and children. Yeah, it's a tough life being a cop. The little ones spend a lot of time alone, don't they? They'd probably love some friends to play with."

Dance returned his gaze, never flinching. She asked, "Could you tell me about your relationship with that prisoner in Capitola?"

"Yes, I could. But I won't." His emotionless words mocked her, suggesting that, for a professional interrogator, she'd phrased her question carelessly. In a soft voice he added, "I think it's time to go back to my cell."

Copyright © 2007 by Jeffery Deaver


Excerpted from The Sleeping Doll by Jeffery Deaver Copyright © 2007 by Jeffery Deaver. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Jeffery Deaver, a former attorney, is the New York Times bestselling author of two collections of short stories and dozens of previous 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. Visit the author on Facebook or go to JefferyDeaver.com.

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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The Sleeping Doll (Kathryn Dance Series #1) 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 84 reviews.
JCB3 More than 1 year ago
Homerun!!! The psychological talent which encompasses Kathryn Dance is a PERFECT compliment to Lincoln Rhyme's stunning forensic abilities. As a woman, I am impressed by how much depth Deaver gave his main character - Dance's family life is rich and tender but is woven through the plot delicately enough so it does not detract from the main story-line.
Charlotte_Isabella More than 1 year ago
I believe this book has a lot of inconsistencies in the story. For the most part it was a good plot which included the two-dimensional Kathryn Dance, a Private Detective, her children, Daniel Pell (the bad guy), and Daniel Pell's accomplice. Daniel Pell was a supposed Manson worshipper, who is a cold-blooded killer. In the beginning he and a mysterious accomplice organize a jail break where many policemen and killed. Pell then goes on the lam and the whole book is about the chase. Slightly disappointing.
ndpndnt More than 1 year ago
I just finished the Sleeping Doll and in some parts of the story, I didn't want to stop reading! I like the new character of Kathryn Dance, along with the other law enforcers. Suspense was high in this story and also the psychological baseline with the twisted ending was great and very unexpected. I admire Jeffery Deaver as a writer that can go from Lincoln Rhyme on the forensic science kind of law enforcement to Kathrn Dance who is on the typical leg/field work side of law enforement. I really liked how all characters in this story came with a vivid description. The story line was edgy and very real to actual police work. It takes a very talented author to invent and tell this story!
CopperEagle More than 1 year ago
I want to start with I am a HUGE Kay Scarpetta fan. Thank you Mr. Deaver for creating another character in this vein. I'm hooked. Keep writing. And if you haven't read this yet, dear reader friends, buy it!
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book. There were a few times it got me side tracked, but overall would recommend to others. A good read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fast paced and enjoyable
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smorton17 More than 1 year ago
This was my first Deaver novel and I was hooked from the very beginning. An excellent, great page turner with a twisting plot. You think you've figured it out when he hits you with another twist! Highly recommend!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am a big fan of Deaver and I love the first book in this series. Very entertaining. Kathryn Dance is as brillant as Kay Scarpetta. Great plot and surprise ending. I highly recommend.
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