While Deaver’s primary protagonist, paraplegic criminalist Lincoln Rhyme, is a mighty tough act to follow, his CBI agent and kinesics expert Kathryn Dance is no slouch. She reminds me a bit of Alex Cross, James Patterson’s psychologist cop. Both are devoted single parents coping after the murder of a spouse. Both are brilliant at reading people. And both are challenged with diabolical adversaries.
Terrific evil villains are Deaver’s stock and trade (remember the Watchmaker? The Bone Collector?). This time, Dance is on the trail of a psychopath obsessed with evoking fear as his weapon of choice. As always, the baddie is skillfully drawn, believable and memorable.
Along the way to nailing him, Dance grapples with parenting headaches, matters of the heart, a demotion and loss of her weapon (just when she seems to need it most) and, oh, sexism. Deaver provides his usual assortment of rollercoaster dips and twists. His stories are never over until the very last line. There’s always one more breathtaking drop before the ride ends. And he is king of the subplot, wasting no opportunity to wring conflict and drama out of each character and relationship.
Okay, one gripe (and I’ll try not to make it a spoiler). Sure, I’ve heard of unreliable narrators, but should it be your protagonist? Not fair to keep us in the heroine’s head yet have her keep secrets from the reader. I guess really good writers are allowed to break the rules, huh?
Read Solitude Creek and let me know what you think.