For those of us who have been reading the adventures of Lincoln Rhyme and Amelia Sachs for the past 12 or more novels by Jeffery Deaver, nothing could make them better than they are. They are dramatic, clever, entertaining and fully enjoyable so why mess with a good thing. Deaver obviously thinks there are new elements he can add to the mix so in his latest Rhymes/Sachs novel, THE STEEL KISS, he mixes things up a little.
First off he removes Rhyme from the police world. In the past the quadriplegic genius has served as a crime consultant for the New York police. Along with a few specialists in a variety of fields, and Amelia Sachs who is a police detective, he has worked on and solved a variety of cases. But as this story opens he has resigned as a consultant and is now spending his time teaching criminology matters and methods.
This leaves Sachs all alone with her new case which involves a potential serial killer who has killed a man with a ball peen hammer. In the past she and Rhyme would have worked on a case like this together. Now she has to work it from the station. The same is true of Ron Pulaski, another detective who has worked with Rhyme and Sachs in the past. He is devoted to Rhyme and much chagrined by Rhyme's new career choice.
Deaver has also brought in a new member to the cast of characters. Juliette Archer is a student in one of Rhyme's classes. After talking with her he decides to bring her on as his intern. The fact she is also a quadriplegic might have had some impact on his decision, but the main reason is her brilliance and acute observation of criminal scenes and settings. Still readers will wonder if she is going to be a threat to Sachs who is not only Rhyme's business associate but also his lover.
This is one of Deaver's most complex novels in that there are four diverse elements in his plot. There is Sachs case concerning the ball peen murder, which soon spills over to a homicide by escalator (read the book, you will understand). There is also Pulaski's off the book and undercover activities. There is a lawsuit against a manufacturing company for damages, in which Rhyme is involved. Lastly there is the return of Nick, a former boyfriend of Amelia's who has served time in prison.
Because Deaver is so inventive, these plot lines converge into one engaging and engrossing story. Plus along the way you get more insight into the relationships of all the major characters and the added Juliette. It is Deaver at his best and when you are Jeffery Deaver this means the best of the best.
The arrival of a new Lincoln Rhyme/Amelia Sachs novel each year means it is Christmas in March - or April or whatever month it happens to occur. It is an event to be anticipated and one to be savored when it arrives. This series has been going on for some time now and Deaver has never disappointed. Here's hoping we get more of these books from here to eternity.
THE STEEL KISS is published by Grand Central Publishing. It contains 486 pages and sells for $28.00.
Jackie K Cooper