Lincoln Rhymes and Amelia Sachs may have met their match. A master illusionist is murdering people, and with each mocking sleight of hand, he is moving closer to the ultimate vanishing act. Wheelchair-bound quadriplegic Rhymes and his protégé know what game the killer they dub "the Conjurer" is playing, but they can't get beyond the smoke and mirrors without exposing themselves. With its likable characters and breakneck action, this is a dazzling follow-up to Deaver's The Stone Monkey.
The Vanished Man is a bar-raising installment in a series that never disappoints.
Among the crimes rendered with Deaver's customary grace and wit are sadistic variations on Houdini's Water Torture Cell, P. T. Selbit's neat trick of sawing a woman in half and one of Howard Thurston's animal acts, in which he brought a dead bird back to life. There is, of course, a great master design to these elegantly executed illusions, and Deaver is clever enough to string it out to almost unbearable limits of suspense. But in the end, all this trickery really does come down to ''applied physics, chemistry and psychology.''
The New York Times
Not since Bill Bixby's The Magician has illusion played such a vigorous role in the investigation of a homicide. A girl is murdered, the killer is caught red-handed, then trapped in a sealed room with a hostage. A shot is fired and when the room is entered, it is empty. Deaver (The Stone Monkey; The Devil's Teardrop; etc.) summons up a fifth tale in the Lincoln Rhyme series and loads it with his trademark twist and turns. Rhyme, a quadriplegic forensic criminologist, seems to have met his match in his new foe, dubbed "The Conjurer" by the police, a master of sleight of hand, illusion and misdirection, much like Deaver himself. Grupper does a fine job of keeping the thriller on the rails, and his depiction of Malerick, a villainous master of disguise straight out of a comic book (he regularly disappears in a flash of light and smoke), is riveting. Grupper's skill with gender and accents is marvelous. The structure of the book is nicely formatted for audio, as the killer narrates his own "performances" as if he were a ringmaster announcing the latest trick, using phrases like, "And now, revered audience...." Simultaneous release with the Simon & Schuster hardcover (Forecasts, Jan. 20). (Mar.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Adam Grupper's animated narration heightens the tension in Deaver's latest psychological thriller-his fifth novel featuring quadriplegic forensic criminologist Lincoln Rhyme. Lincoln and his partner, New York policewoman Amelia Sachs, must track down a murderer who seems to have literally vanished from a locked room at the scene of the crime. Soon realizing the perpetrator is an escape artist/illusionist, Lincoln and Amelia enlist the help of Kara, a spunky aspiring illusionist, to find the serial killer they've dubbed "the Conjurer." As more bodies are discovered, Kara tells Lincoln that she believes the killer is making use of another illusionist's trick-misdirection-to throw the police off track. When the Conjurer is linked to a white supremacist group trying to assassinate a Manhattan district attorney, Lincoln and company struggle to separate the killer's real motivation from his diabolical misdirection. Highly recommended for all fiction collections.-Beth Farrell, Portage Cty. Dist. Lib., OH Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
In this fifth case pitting quadriplegic criminalist Lincoln Rhyme against a murderous magician, Deaver (The Stone Monkey, 2002, etc.) tries his best to outdo himselfand brother, does it show. Rhyme’s adventures, in which the armchair detective has depended on NYPD Officer Amelia Sachs for his legwork (and lately for emotional succor as well), have always traded on dexterous sleight-of-hand, so it’s only natural to literalize the metaphor in the Conjuror, the malevolent illusionist who first seems bent on dispatching a random collection of New Yorkers through diverse means at precise intervals of four hours. Of course, there’s a deeper method beneath this murderous madness; of course, the mechanics of each homicidal outragethe Russian flautist strangled by a Houdini-designed rope tie called the Lazy Hangman, the gay makeup artist sawed in half, the equestrian lawyer chained and dunked by her ankles into a Central Park pondare fiendishly inventive and the detective work equally so; and, of course, Deaver keeps the suspense taut by repeatedly bringing the cops face to face with the Conjuror at the crime scenes and repeatedly showing him slipping through their fingers. Even so, the staggering pile of red herrings Deaver tosses in to misdirect his fans and, more improbably, the copsis the Conjuror avenging himself on the circus manager who let his wife die in a fire? is he scheming to break upstate militiaman Andrew Constable out of jail before his trial begins? is he planning to assassinate the ADA who’s trying Constable’s high-profile case?eventually loses its sheen, and the manhunt ends in a sprawling, anticlimactic third act in which Deaver shamelessly pullsone rabbit after another from his hat, forgetting that the trick is to find one really good rabbit and pull hard. All the prodigious energy and ingenuity of a canny performer who just doesn’t know when to quit.
People Ingeniously devious....[The] plot is so crooked it could hide behind a spiral staircase.
Publishers Weekly This is prime Deaver.
Chicago Sun-Times A crackling thriller.