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The Twelfth Card (Lincoln Rhyme Series #6)

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Unlocking a cold case with explosive implications for the future of civil rights, forensics expert Lincoln Rhyme and his protégé, Amelia Sachs, must outguess a killer who has targeted a high school girl from Harlem who is digging into the past of one of her ancestors, a former slave. What buried secrets from 140 years ago could have an assassin out for innocent blood? And what chilling message is hidden in his calling card, the hanged man of the tarot deck? Rhyme must anticipate the next strike or become history ...

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New York, NY 2005 Hard cover First edition. First Printing, based on Printers key. New in new dust jacket. Sewn binding. Cloth over boards. 395 p. Lincoln Rhyme Novels ... (Hardcover). Audience: General/trade. Geneva Settle is a bright young high school student from Harlem writing a paper about one of her ancestors, a former slave called Charles Singleton. Geneva is also the target of a ruthless professional killer. Criminalist Lincoln Rhyme and his policewoman partner Amelia Sachs are called into the case, working frantically to anticipate where the hired gun will strike next and how to stop him, all the while trying to get to the truth of Charles Singleton, and the reason that Geneva has been targeted. Read more Show Less

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The Twelfth Card (Lincoln Rhyme Series #6)

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Overview

Unlocking a cold case with explosive implications for the future of civil rights, forensics expert Lincoln Rhyme and his protégé, Amelia Sachs, must outguess a killer who has targeted a high school girl from Harlem who is digging into the past of one of her ancestors, a former slave. What buried secrets from 140 years ago could have an assassin out for innocent blood? And what chilling message is hidden in his calling card, the hanged man of the tarot deck? Rhyme must anticipate the next strike or become history — in the bestseller that proves "there is no thriller writer today like Jeffery Deaver" (San Jose Mercury News).

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Lincoln Rhyme, Deaver's popular paraplegic detective, returns (after The Vanished Man) in a robust thriller that demonstrates Deaver's unflagging ability to entertain. But even great entertainers have high and lows, and this novel, while steadily absorbing, doesn't match the author's best. Geneva Settle, who's 16 and black, is attacked in a Manhattan library while researching an ancestor, a former slave who harbored a serious secret (not revealed until book's end). Amelia Sachs, Rhyme's lover/assistant, and then Rhyme are pulled into the case, which quickly turns bloody. After Geneva are a lethally cool white hit man and a black ex-con-but even when they're identified, their motive remains unclear: why does someone want this feisty, hardworking Harlem schoolgirl dead? To find out, Rhyme primarily relies, as usual, on his and Sachs's strength, forensic analysis; the book's tour de force opening sequence consists mostly of a lengthy depiction of their painstaking dissection of evidence left during the initial attack on Geneva, and every few chapters there's an extensive recap of all evidence collected in the case. Deaver offers more plot twists than seem possible, each fully justified, but this and the emphasis on forensics give the novel more brain than heart. Geneva, a wonderful character, adds feeling to the story, and there are minor personal crises faced by other characters, but as the novel's focus veers from police procedure to odd byways of American history, execution techniques and one more plot twist, the narrative loses grace and form. Even so, this is one of the more lively thrillers of the year and will be a significant bestseller. Agent, Deborah Schneider. 300,000 first printing; 14-city author tour. (June 7) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Quadriplegic criminalist Lincoln Rhyme fights to save a schoolgirl somebody's determined to kill?At first the attack on Geneva Settle looks like a routine sexual assault. The masked man who nearly left her dead in New York's Museum of African-American Culture and History even left a bag of rape accessories behind when he pursued Geneva into the street, where he shot a librarian three times. But the trademark death-on-rats forensic work Rhyme orders strongly suggests that the bag may have been left behind as a decoy-the first of many false trails Thompson Boyd, Geneva's sinister assailant, lays for the NYPD's Det. Amelia Sachs and Lt. Lou Sellitto. Was Boyd interested in the microfiche Geneva was reading? Is his motive connected to a century-old crime, or one that hasn't happened yet? As Rhyme and his colleagues close in on Boyd, he closes in on Geneva, who stubbornly resists police intrusions into her family circle and life at Langston Hughes High School and pays a high price in vulnerability. Despite the brilliance of Rhyme's work and some heartbreaking near-misses in their manhunt, Boyd and his own co-conspirators seem able to strike at will, and few readers will turn off the lights and leave Rhyme's sixth case unfinished. Deaver is as tricky as ever, strewing secrets broadcast among good guys as well as bad. As in his last few cases (The Vanished Man, 2003, etc.), however, Deaver's like a departing dinner guest who just can't resist telling one more anecdote; the capture of the perp is followed by a whole string of anticlimactic surprises that yield diminishing returns-though the revelation of the conspirators' true motive is a humdinger. There's no question, though, about Deaver'sunexcelled ability to pull the wool over your eyes. When he describes a colorless, odorless glass of liquid as water, don't assume it is until somebody drinks it down-or maybe till an hour later.
From the Publisher
"A master of ticking-bomb suspense." — People

"Deaver's Lincoln Rhyme novels . . . are masterpieces of modern criminology." — Philadelphia Daily News

"Deaver's labyrinthine plots are astonishing." — The New York Times Book Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780743260923
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Publication date: 6/7/2005
  • Series: Lincoln Rhyme Series , #6
  • Pages: 416
  • Product dimensions: 6.25 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 1.25 (d)

Meet the Author

Jeffery  Deaver

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.

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:

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One: The Three-Fifths Man

Tuesday, October 9

His face wet with sweat and with tears, the man runs for freedom, he runs for his life.

"There! There he goes!"

The former slave does not know exactly where the voice comes from. Behind him? To the right or left? From atop one of the decrepit tenements lining the filthy cobblestoned streets here?

Amid July air hot and thick as liquid paraffin, the lean man leaps over a pile of horse dung. The street sweepers don't come here, to this part of the city. Charles Singleton pauses beside a pallet stacked high with barrels, trying to catch his breath.

A crack of a pistol. The bullet goes wide. The sharp report of the gun takes him back instantly to the war: the impossible, mad hours as he stood his ground in a dusty blue uniform, steadying a heavy musket, facing men wearing dusty gray, aiming their own weapons his way.

Running faster now. The men fire again. These bullets also miss.

"Somebody stop him! Five dollars' gold if you catch him."

But the few people out on the streets this early — mostly Irish ragpickers and laborers trooping to work with hods or picks on their shoulders — have no inclination to stop the Negro, who has fierce eyes and large muscles and such frightening determination. As for the reward, the shouted offer came from a city constable, which means there's no coin behind the promise.

At the Twenty-third Street paintworks, Charles veers west. He slips on the slick cobblestones and falls hard. A mounted policeman rounds the corner and, raising his nightstick, bears down on the fallen man. And then —

And? the girl thought.

And?

What happened to him?

Sixteen-year-old Geneva Settle twisted the knob on the microfiche reader again but it would move no farther; she'd come to the last page on this carriage. She lifted out the metal rectangle containing the lead article in the July 23, 1868, edition of Coloreds' Weekly Illustrated. Riffling through the other frames in the dusty box, she worried that the remaining pages of the article were missing and she'd never find out what happened to her ancestor Charles Singleton. She'd learned that historical archives regarding black history were often incomplete, if not forever misplaced.

Where was the rest of the story?

Ah...Finally she found it and mounted the carriage carefully into the battered gray reader, moving the knob impatiently to locate the continuation of the story of Charles's flight.

Geneva's lush imagination — and years of immersing herself in books — had given her the wherewithal to embellish the bare-bones magazine account of the former slave's pursuit through the hot, foul streets of nineteenth-century New York. She almost felt she was back there, rather than where she really was at the moment: nearly 140 years later in the deserted fifth-floor library of the Museum of African-American Culture and History on Fifty-fifth Street in Midtown Manhattan.

As she twisted the dial, the pages streamed past on the grainy screen. Geneva found the rest of the article, which was headlined:

Shame

THE ACCOUNT OF A FREEDMAN'S CRIME

CHARLES SINGLETON, A VETERAN OF THE WAR

BETWEEN THE STATES, BETRAYS THE CAUSE

OF OUR PEOPLE IN A NOTORIOUS INCIDENT

A picture accompanying the article showed twenty-eight-year-old Charles Singleton in his Civil War uniform. He was tall, his hands were large and the tight fit of the uniform on his chest and arms suggested powerful muscles. Lips broad, cheekbones high, head round, skin quite dark.

Staring at the unsmiling face, the calm, piercing eyes, the girl believed there was a resemblance between them — she had the head and face of her ancestor, the roundness of his features, the rich shade of his skin. Not a bit of the Singleton physique, though. Geneva Settle was skinny as a grade-school boy, as the Delano Project girls loved to point out.

She began to read once more, but a noise intruded.

A click in the room. A door latch? Then she heard footsteps. They paused. Another step. Finally silence. She glanced behind her, saw nobody.

She felt a chill, but told herself not to be freaked. It was just bad memories that put her on edge: the Delano girls whaling on her in the school yard behind Langston Hughes High, and that time Tonya Brown and her crew from the St. Nicholas Houses dragged her into an alley then pounded her so bad that she lost a back tooth. Boys groped, boys dissed, boys put you down. But it was the girls who made you bleed.

Get her down, cut her, cut the bitch...

More footsteps. Another pause.

Silence.

The nature of this place didn't help. Dim, musty, quiet. And there was no one else here, not at eight-fifteen on a Tuesday morning. The museum wasn't open yet — tourists were still asleep or having their breakfasts — but the library opened at eight. Geneva had been waiting here when they unlocked the doors, she'd been so eager to read the article. She now sat in a cubicle at the end of a large exhibit hall, where faceless mannequins wore nineteenth-century costumes and the walls were filled with paintings of men in bizarre hats, women in bonnets and horses with wack, skinny legs.

Another footstep. Then another pause.

Should she leave? Go hang with Dr. Barry, the librarian, until this creepy dude left?

And then the other visitor laughed.

Not a weird laugh, a fun laugh.

And he said, "Okay. I'll call you later."

A snap of a cell phone folding up. That's why he'd been pausing, just listening to the person on the other end of the line.

Told you not to worry, girl. People aren't dangerous when they laugh. They aren't dangerous when they say friendly things on cell phones. He'd been walking slowly because that's what people do when they're talking — even though what kind of rude claimer'd make a phone call in a library? Geneva turned back to the microfiche screen, wondering, You get away, Charles? Man, I hope so.

Yet he regained his footing and, rather than own up to his mischief, as a courageous man would do, continued his cowardly flight.

So much for objective reporting, she thought angrily.

For a time he evaded his pursuers. But escape was merely temporary. A Negro tradesman on a porch saw the freedman and implored him to stop, in the name of justice, asserting that he had heard of Mr. Singleton's crime and reproaching him for bringing dishonor upon all colored people throughout the nation. The citizen, one Walker Loakes, thereupon flung a brick at Mr. Singleton with the intent of knocking him down. However,

Charles dodges the heavy stone and turns to the man, shouting, "I am innocent. I did not do what the police say!"

Geneva's imagination had taken over and, inspired by the text, was writing the story once again.

But Loakes ignores the freedman's protests and runs into the street, calling to the police that the fugitive is headed for the docks.

His heart torn, his thoughts clinging to the image of Violet and their son, Joshua, the former slave continues his desperate run for freedom.

Sprinting, sprinting...

Behind him comes the gallop of mounted police. Ahead of him, other horsemen appear, led by a helmeted police officer brandishing a pistol. "Halt, halt where you are, Charles Singleton! I am Detective Captain William Simms. I've been searching for you for two days."

The freedman does as ordered. His broad shoulders slump, strong arms at his sides, chest heaving as he sucks in the humid, rancid air beside the Hudson River. Nearby is the tow boat office, and up and down the river he sees the spindles of sailing ship masts, hundreds of them, taunting him with their promise of freedom. He leans, gasping, against the large Swiftsure Express Company sign. Charles stares at the approaching officer as the clop, clop, clop of his horse's hooves resonate loudly on the cobblestones.

"Charles Singleton, you are under arrest for burglary. You will surrender to us or we will subdue you. Either way you will end up in shackles. Pick the first and you will suffer no pain. Pick the second, you will end up bloody. The choice is yours."

"I have been accused of a crime I did not commit!"

"I repeat: Surrender or die. Those are your only choices."

"No, sir, I have one other," Charles shouts. He resumes his flight — toward the dock.

"Stop or we will shoot!" Detective Simms calls.

But the freedman bounds over the railing of the pier like a horse taking a picket in a charge. He seems to hang in the air for a moment then cartwheels thirty feet into the murky waters of the Hudson River, muttering some words, perhaps a plea to Jesus, perhaps a declaration of love for his wife and child, though whatever they might be none of his pursuers can hear.

Fifty feet from the microfiche reader forty-one-year-old Thompson Boyd moved closer to the girl.

He pulled the stocking cap over his face, adjusted the eyeholes and opened the cylinder of his pistol to make sure it wasn't jammed. He'd checked it earlier but, in this job, you could never be too certain. He put the gun into his pocket and pulled the billy club out of a slit cut into his dark raincoat.

He was in the stacks of books in the costume exhibit hall, which separated him from the microfiche-reader tables. His latex-gloved fingers pressed his eyes, which had been stinging particularly sharply this morning. He blinked from the pain.

He looked around again, making sure the room was in fact deserted.

No guards were here, none downstairs either. No security cameras or sign-in sheets. All good. But there were some logistical problems. The big room was deathly quiet, and Thompson couldn't hide his approach to the girl. She'd know someone was in the room with her and might become edgy and alert.

So after he'd stepped inside this wing of the library and locked the door behind him, he'd laughed, a chuckle. Thompson Boyd had stopped laughing years ago. But he was also a craftsman who understood the power of humor — and how to use it to your advantage in this line of work. A laugh — coupled with a farewell pleasantry and a closing cell phone — would put her at ease, he reckoned.

This ploy seemed to work. He looked quickly around the long row of shelves and saw the girl, staring at the microfiche screen. Her hands, at her sides, seemed to clench and unclench nervously at what she was reading.

He started forward.

Then stopped. The girl was pushing away from the table. He heard her chair slide on the linoleum. She was walking somewhere. Leaving? No. He heard the sound of the drinking fountain and her gulping some water. Then he heard her pulling books off the shelf and stacking them up on the microfiche table. Another pause and she returned to the stacks once again, gathering more books. The thud as she set them down. Finally he heard the screech of her chair as she sat once more. Then silence.

Thompson looked again. She was back in her chair, reading one of the dozen books piled in front of her.

With the bag containing the condoms, razor knife and duct tape in his left hand, the club in his right, he started toward her again.

Coming up behind her now, twenty feet, fifteen, holding his breath.

Ten feet. Even if she bolted now, he could lunge forward and get her — break a knee or stun her with a blow to the head.

Eight feet, five...

He paused and silently set the rape pack on a shelf. He took the club in both hands. He stepped closer, lifting the varnished oak rod.

Still absorbed in the words, she read intently, oblivious to the fact that her attacker was an arm's length behind her. Thompson swung the club downward with all his strength toward the top of the girl's stocking cap.

Crack...

A painful vibration stung his hands as the baton struck her head with a hollow snap.

But something was wrong. The sound, the feel were off. What was going on?

Thompson Boyd leapt back as the body fell to the floor.

And tumbled into pieces.

The torso of the mannequin fell one way. The head another. Thompson stared for a moment. He glanced to his side and saw a ball gown draped over the bottom half of the same mannequin — part of a display on women's clothing in Reconstruction America.

No...

Somehow, she'd tipped to the fact that he was a threat. She'd then collected some books from the shelves as a cover for standing up and taking apart a mannequin. She'd dressed the upper part of it in her own sweatshirt and stocking cap then propped it on the chair.

But where was she?

The slap of racing feet answered the question. Thompson Boyd heard her sprinting for the fire door. The man slipped the billy club into his coat, pulled out his gun and started after her.

Copyright © 2005 by Jeffery Deaver

Read More Show Less

First Chapter

Chapter One: The Three-Fifths Man

Tuesday, October 9

His face wet with sweat and with tears, the man runs for freedom, he runs for his life.

"There! There he goes!"

The former slave does not know exactly where the voice comes from. Behind him? To the right or left? From atop one of the decrepit tenements lining the filthy cobblestoned streets here?

Amid July air hot and thick as liquid paraffin, the lean man leaps over a pile of horse dung. The street sweepers don't come here, to this part of the city. Charles Singleton pauses beside a pallet stacked high with barrels, trying to catch his breath.

A crack of a pistol. The bullet goes wide. The sharp report of the gun takes him back instantly to the war: the impossible, mad hours as he stood his ground in a dusty blue uniform, steadying a heavy musket, facing men wearing dusty gray, aiming their own weapons his way.

Running faster now. The men fire again. These bullets also miss.

"Somebody stop him! Five dollars' gold if you catch him."

But the few people out on the streets this early -- mostly Irish ragpickers and laborers trooping to work with hods or picks on their shoulders -- have no inclination to stop the Negro, who has fierce eyes and large muscles and such frightening determination. As for the reward, the shouted offer came from a city constable, which means there's no coin behind the promise.

At the Twenty-third Street paintworks, Charles veers west. He slips on the slick cobblestones and falls hard. A mounted policeman rounds the corner and, raising his nightstick, bears down on the fallen man. And then --

And? the girl thought.

And?

Whathappened to him?

Sixteen-year-old Geneva Settle twisted the knob on the microfiche reader again but it would move no farther; she'd come to the last page on this carriage. She lifted out the metal rectangle containing the lead article in the July 23, 1868, edition of Coloreds' Weekly Illustrated. Riffling through the other frames in the dusty box, she worried that the remaining pages of the article were missing and she'd never find out what happened to her ancestor Charles Singleton. She'd learned that historical archives regarding black history were often incomplete, if not forever misplaced.

Where was the rest of the story?

Ah...Finally she found it and mounted the carriage carefully into the battered gray reader, moving the knob impatiently to locate the continuation of the story of Charles's flight.

Geneva's lush imagination -- and years of immersing herself in books -- had given her the wherewithal to embellish the bare-bones magazine account of the former slave's pursuit through the hot, foul streets of nineteenth-century New York. She almost felt she was back there, rather than where she really was at the moment: nearly 140 years later in the deserted fifth-floor library of the Museum of African-American Culture and History on Fifty-fifth Street in Midtown Manhattan.

As she twisted the dial, the pages streamed past on the grainy screen. Geneva found the rest of the article, which was headlined:

Shame

THE ACCOUNT OF A FREEDMAN'S CRIME

CHARLES SINGLETON, A VETERAN OF THE WAR

BETWEEN THE STATES, BETRAYS THE CAUSE

OF OUR PEOPLE IN A NOTORIOUS INCIDENT

A picture accompanying the article showed twenty-eight-year-old Charles Singleton in his Civil War uniform. He was tall, his hands were large and the tight fit of the uniform on his chest and arms suggested powerful muscles. Lips broad, cheekbones high, head round, skin quite dark.

Staring at the unsmiling face, the calm, piercing eyes, the girl believed there was a resemblance between them -- she had the head and face of her ancestor, the roundness of his features, the rich shade of his skin. Not a bit of the Singleton physique, though. Geneva Settle was skinny as a grade-school boy, as the Delano Project girls loved to point out.

She began to read once more, but a noise intruded.

A click in the room. A door latch? Then she heard footsteps. They paused. Another step. Finally silence. She glanced behind her, saw nobody.

She felt a chill, but told herself not to be freaked. It was just bad memories that put her on edge: the Delano girls whaling on her in the school yard behind Langston Hughes High, and that time Tonya Brown and her crew from the St. Nicholas Houses dragged her into an alley then pounded her so bad that she lost a back tooth. Boys groped, boys dissed, boys put you down. But it was the girls who made you bleed.

Get her down, cut her, cut the bitch...

More footsteps. Another pause.

Silence.

The nature of this place didn't help. Dim, musty, quiet. And there was no one else here, not at eight-fifteen on a Tuesday morning. The museum wasn't open yet -- tourists were still asleep or having their breakfasts -- but the library opened at eight. Geneva had been waiting here when they unlocked the doors, she'd been so eager to read the article. She now sat in a cubicle at the end of a large exhibit hall, where faceless mannequins wore nineteenth-century costumes and the walls were filled with paintings of men in bizarre hats, women in bonnets and horses with wack, skinny legs.

Another footstep. Then another pause.

Should she leave? Go hang with Dr. Barry, the librarian, until this creepy dude left?

And then the other visitor laughed.

Not a weird laugh, a fun laugh.

And he said, "Okay. I'll call you later."

A snap of a cell phone folding up. That's why he'd been pausing, just listening to the person on the other end of the line.

Told you not to worry, girl. People aren't dangerous when they laugh. They aren't dangerous when they say friendly things on cell phones. He'd been walking slowly because that's what people do when they're talking -- even though what kind of rude claimer'd make a phone call in a library? Geneva turned back to the microfiche screen, wondering, You get away, Charles? Man, I hope so.

Yet he regained his footing and, rather than own up to his mischief, as a courageous man would do, continued his cowardly flight.

So much for objective reporting, she thought angrily.

For a time he evaded his pursuers. But escape was merely temporary. A Negro tradesman on a porch saw the freedman and implored him to stop, in the name of justice, asserting that he had heard of Mr. Singleton's crime and reproaching him for bringing dishonor upon all colored people throughout the nation. The citizen, one Walker Loakes, thereupon flung a brick at Mr. Singleton with the intent of knocking him down. However,

Charles dodges the heavy stone and turns to the man, shouting, "I am innocent. I did not do what the police say!"

Geneva's imagination had taken over and, inspired by the text, was writing the story once again.

But Loakes ignores the freedman's protests and runs into the street, calling to the police that the fugitive is headed for the docks.

His heart torn, his thoughts clinging to the image of Violet and their son, Joshua, the former slave continues his desperate run for freedom.

Sprinting, sprinting...

Behind him comes the gallop of mounted police. Ahead of him, other horsemen appear, led by a helmeted police officer brandishing a pistol. "Halt, halt where you are, Charles Singleton! I am Detective Captain William Simms. I've been searching for you for two days."

The freedman does as ordered. His broad shoulders slump, strong arms at his sides, chest heaving as he sucks in the humid, rancid air beside the Hudson River. Nearby is the tow boat office, and up and down the river he sees the spindles of sailing ship masts, hundreds of them, taunting him with their promise of freedom. He leans, gasping, against the large Swiftsure Express Company sign. Charles stares at the approaching officer as the clop, clop, clop of his horse's hooves resonate loudly on the cobblestones.

"Charles Singleton, you are under arrest for burglary. You will surrender to us or we will subdue you. Either way you will end up in shackles. Pick the first and you will suffer no pain. Pick the second, you will end up bloody. The choice is yours."

"I have been accused of a crime I did not commit!"

"I repeat: Surrender or die. Those are your only choices."

"No, sir, I have one other," Charles shouts. He resumes his flight -- toward the dock.

"Stop or we will shoot!" Detective Simms calls.

But the freedman bounds over the railing of the pier like a horse taking a picket in a charge. He seems to hang in the air for a moment then cartwheels thirty feet into the murky waters of the Hudson River, muttering some words, perhaps a plea to Jesus, perhaps a declaration of love for his wife and child, though whatever they might be none of his pursuers can hear.

Fifty feet from the microfiche reader forty-one-year-old Thompson Boyd moved closer to the girl.

He pulled the stocking cap over his face, adjusted the eyeholes and opened the cylinder of his pistol to make sure it wasn't jammed. He'd checked it earlier but, in this job, you could never be too certain. He put the gun into his pocket and pulled the billy club out of a slit cut into his dark raincoat.

He was in the stacks of books in the costume exhibit hall, which separated him from the microfiche-reader tables. His latex-gloved fingers pressed his eyes, which had been stinging particularly sharply this morning. He blinked from the pain.

He looked around again, making sure the room was in fact deserted.

No guards were here, none downstairs either. No security cameras or sign-in sheets. All good. But there were some logistical problems. The big room was deathly quiet, and Thompson couldn't hide his approach to the girl. She'd know someone was in the room with her and might become edgy and alert.

So after he'd stepped inside this wing of the library and locked the door behind him, he'd laughed, a chuckle. Thompson Boyd had stopped laughing years ago. But he was also a craftsman who understood the power of humor -- and how to use it to your advantage in this line of work. A laugh -- coupled with a farewell pleasantry and a closing cell phone -- would put her at ease, he reckoned.

This ploy seemed to work. He looked quickly around the long row of shelves and saw the girl, staring at the microfiche screen. Her hands, at her sides, seemed to clench and unclench nervously at what she was reading.

He started forward.

Then stopped. The girl was pushing away from the table. He heard her chair slide on the linoleum. She was walking somewhere. Leaving? No. He heard the sound of the drinking fountain and her gulping some water. Then he heard her pulling books off the shelf and stacking them up on the microfiche table. Another pause and she returned to the stacks once again, gathering more books. The thud as she set them down. Finally he heard the screech of her chair as she sat once more. Then silence.

Thompson looked again. She was back in her chair, reading one of the dozen books piled in front of her.

With the bag containing the condoms, razor knife and duct tape in his left hand, the club in his right, he started toward her again.

Coming up behind her now, twenty feet, fifteen, holding his breath.

Ten feet. Even if she bolted now, he could lunge forward and get her -- break a knee or stun her with a blow to the head.

Eight feet, five...

He paused and silently set the rape pack on a shelf. He took the club in both hands. He stepped closer, lifting the varnished oak rod.

Still absorbed in the words, she read intently, oblivious to the fact that her attacker was an arm's length behind her. Thompson swung the club downward with all his strength toward the top of the girl's stocking cap.

Crack...

A painful vibration stung his hands as the baton struck her head with a hollow snap.

But something was wrong. The sound, the feel were off. What was going on?

Thompson Boyd leapt back as the body fell to the floor.

And tumbled into pieces.

The torso of the mannequin fell one way. The head another. Thompson stared for a moment. He glanced to his side and saw a ball gown draped over the bottom half of the same mannequin -- part of a display on women's clothing in Reconstruction America.

No...

Somehow, she'd tipped to the fact that he was a threat. She'd then collected some books from the shelves as a cover for standing up and taking apart a mannequin. She'd dressed the upper part of it in her own sweatshirt and stocking cap then propped it on the chair.

But where was she?

The slap of racing feet answered the question. Thompson Boyd heard her sprinting for the fire door. The man slipped the billy club into his coat, pulled out his gun and started after her.

Copyright © 2005 by Jeffery Deaver

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 45 )
Rating Distribution

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(13)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 45 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 17, 2013

    Ingenious!

    Unique plot and wonderful story. Love Deaver!

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  • Posted January 27, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Typical hero thriller!

    Admittedly, this is the first Deaver book I have read, muchless a "Rhymes" series book.

    I have to make this short. But essentially it was an overall good read. Though predictable in the character's having access to all the necessary agencies and equipment. Not to forget, "arriving just in the nick of time" to thwart the criminal from completing his job.

    It was a book and I didn't ever not want to continue reading. It was my "lunch" book and did it's job of taking me away from the office for an hour.

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  • Posted March 26, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Deaver pulls out a joker in THE TWELFTH CARD.

    For over the past decade, bestselling mystery writer Jeffery Deaver has astonished readers with the creation of Lincoln Rhyme, the fictional quadriplegic who, throughout the notorious series, has successfully answered the one question lingering from everyone's mind: how can you solve a crime that you cannot see? Throughout the books, fans have become aware of not only the elevated brilliance of the well known criminalist, but also of the love interest that he shares with his partner, Amelia Sachs. Despite of the some of the graphic crime scenes that two have had to encounter behind the yellow police tape, Deaver fails to deliver in THE TWELFTH CARD.

    In this sixth series entry, the duo take on a case that they have never took on before; one that has gone cold for 140 years. Throughout the entire case, both Rhyme and Sachs try in their best efforts to protect Geneva Settle, a sixteen-year old Harlem student who nearly gets ambushed by a crazed assassin in the beginning scenes of the book. By digging further into the investigation, Rhyme and Sachs later discover that the ruthless assassin may be after her because of a term paper she is working on regarding Charles Singleton, a former slave and an ancestor of Geneva's. Moreover, they find out that the madman who skulks Geneva leaves his calling card of the Hanged Man, the "twelfth card" in the tarot deck. They also discover that Charles witheld a devastating secret that he found to be too ahamed to reveal. Thoughout the investigation, questions linger through Rhyme and Sachs: Why is this crazed madman on the hunt for innocent blood? What secrets are lied within his calling card? And most important, what type of "secret" would Charles have had been veiling for all this time?

    Sad to say, Deaver disappoints his fans in this entry. Throughout the majority of the narration of the book, readers will become exposed with various slang that they will happen to find tedious. Such figures of speech impedes Deaver's main talent in psychological writing. As he did in THE STONE MONKEY, the author yet again fails to deliver what makes this series enjoyable for readers.

    A key literary element that seems to torpedo Deaver's attempt lies within the one-dimensional character development of not only Rhyme, but of also the majority of the other remaining characters. Througout the investigation, the interaction of characters made by Rhyme lackes the ecstacy that made the disabled criminalist popular.

    Without a doubt, Deaver fans will also get the impression of having their intelligence insulted. Thoughout the book, the author provides a myriad amount of historical detail based on hearsay rather than actual research. Fans will become annoyed by his deversion from the well-known police procedural into a tale of historical uncertainty. Sure enough, readers will realize sooner or later that the details provided in this book was not anything in which they have learned or studied in history class.

    THE TWELFTH CARD is yet indeed another disappointing attempt by Deaver. By the lack of character development and research, readers can certainly argue that this churning is actually a publication deadline rather than a piece of literature.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2007

    Very disappointing

    I love all of the Lincoln Rhymes books and bought this one eagerly. By the time I'd read a few chapters, though, I was feeling very disappointed. I kept picking the book back up, trying to give it another chance, but finally laid it down and never went back to it (something I simply never do with books). The speech throughout the book was horrendous and tedious, the plot line was nothing but dull, the characters I could not even care about - I don't know what happened with this book, but I really hope Mr. Deaver gets back in the game with his next book. I would not recommend this book to anyone for any reason.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 10, 2006

    Alright....but could have been better

    I love Deaver's books...however this book was lacking in a few ways. All in all the character's were likeable and it had the typical feel of a Jeffery Deaver novel. My problem with the book lies in the speach. It really did sound like a white guy trying to sound black...and it didn't work for me. I can't wait for his next book...I truly hope it's better.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 26, 2006

    What a Page Turner!!!

    The Twelve Card is fraught with twist, all of which you never see coming. Mr. Deaver has a great talent for writing, and is one of the least of writers that actually knows how to hold a reader¿s attention. Though ¿page-turner¿ is used out of context nowadays, The Twelve Card lives up to it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2006

    too unrealistic

    Love Deaver, love Lincoln Rhyme, but this one was simply too much. Not at all believable. The story was interesting, and it moved well, but some of the stretches the readers are asked to make are just too far.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 25, 2005

    NOT HIS BEST WORK!

    Being that is was a Lincoln Rhyme story I expected it to be great like his other books. BUt this book just did not make the cut. It had a poor plot line. I couldn't stand the character's. How they talked and how it was just too unreal. The twist weren't good enough to keep me reading. It made it feel like it was a drag to keep reading. I love his other Lincoln Rhyme novels this one i just couldn't stand.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 28, 2005

    Deaver and Rhyme at their BEST

    Jeffery Deaver writes another great Lincoln Rhyme novel. This one is about Geneva Settle, a 16 year old black girl who is researching her ancestor, Charles Singleton who lived during the Civil War. He was active in the early Civil Right movement but the newspaper report tells of his arrest for theft. While Geneva is at the Black History Museum looking at the micro fiche tapes, she is attacked by Thompson Boyd. But Geneva is smarter than Boyd. She sets up a mannequin in her place and runs. In steps Lincoln Rhyme and Amelia Sachs to help the police figure out why Geneva is the target of Boyd. Boyd is willing to sacrifice innocents to accomplish what he was hired to do. Who hired him and why? Is he working alone? Why has he become a person who feels nothing? Another problem arises when Lincoln discovers that Geneva¿s parents are fictitious and she is living on her own. She is doing very well in school so no one suspects the real situation. Where are her mom and dad? And, of course, there is always the side of the story where Lincoln¿s paralysis comes in. This time, he is exercising to attempt to create even a small amount of movement. Does all the hard work bring about what Lincoln hopes for? The twists and turns of this story kept me wanting to listen long into the night. The reader, Dennis Boutsikaris, is adept at voice inflections and keeps the reader interested by not becoming monotone. He is clear and precise in his pronunciation of the words and does very well when reading the Black English Vernacular. The Twelfth Card provides historical background on the civil rights movement and how hard life was for the black man. It also tell of what hard work and determination of a teenager can bring about and of Lincoln¿s constant struggle to gain even a little bit of freedom from the paralysis he suffers.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 11, 2005

    Can't wait to read it!

    I loved ever single Lincoln Rhyme novel so far, and every Deaver book as well. I can't wait to read it, and if it is like any other book written by Deaver, it will become an instant classic!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 4, 2005

    One of his BEST!

    I always look forward to reading the next Lincoln Ryhme novel, and this one kept me guessing at every turn. The character, Geneva Settles, is extremely likeable from the start and you're rooting for her the whole way. She does have some of her own surprises as well that are thrown into the mix well. The ending (g's??) is gratifying and surprising. What will Lincoln be doing in the next book? I can't wait to find out.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 6, 2005

    not up to his usual standards

    good main character developement but secondary characters poorly laid out not real believable a former gangbanger pretends to be a school counselor that would not work in real life the legal action taken would of ended up in court for year and years no bank would give up like that and the villian would not try to kill his prey on a campus with a loud messy shotgun not nearly his best work

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Outstanding and unputdownable

    Sixteen years old high school student Geneva Settle is at the Museum of African American Culture early in the morning reading microfilmed copies of Coloreds Weekly Illustrated in the basement. She is interested in researching her ancestor Charles Singleton, a slave who was freed by his master, given a farm, but eventually incarcerated for robbery. Geneva hears a noise and takes off running because she knows it was the click of a gun...................... Thompson Boyd, a killer for hire, was going to murder her and he was using a rape kit as camouflage to disguise how the young woman had to die. Police consultant Lincoln Rhyme, a paraplegic and his lover and partner Amelia Sachs are assigned the case. They hire a security firm to watch over her because she is the target of the killer. Thompson Boyd outwits them at every turn but luck keeps Geneva alive until they catch the hitman. However the person who wants Geneva dead still plans to kill her as she can destroy all he worked so hard to possess.................... THE TWELFTH CARD is an exciting police procedural that centers on a high school student who has survived on her own for two years and has no idea why someone wants her dead. Jeffrey Deaver¿s strength as a writer is his ability to create characters, major and secondary, that readers come to care about. Fans will feel for the policeman who loses his nerve; the hero who fears being tested to see if he regained any feeling in his paralyzed body; and the student who doesn¿t understand why her world is in danger of detonating.......................... Harriet Klausner

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    Posted October 4, 2011

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    Posted January 20, 2011

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    Posted January 10, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 16, 2014

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    Posted July 16, 2011

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    Posted August 21, 2010

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    Posted July 13, 2010

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