The Stone Monkey, by Jeffery Deaver

Cover ImageFinished 2-5-09, rating 3.5/5, fiction, pub. 2002

Lincoln Rhyme series #4

“We’re staying in Mahattan.”

Leaning closer so that Mah could not hear, Chang whispered, “Don’t be a fool. The Ghost will find you.”

Wu laughed.  Don’t worry about him.”

“Don’t worry?  He just killed a dozen of our friends.”  Gambling with Wu’s own life was one thing but to risk his wife and children was unthinkable.

Quadriplegic Lincoln Rhyme is back in New York awaiting the risky surgery that may grant him limited movement.  His partner in crime and in love, Amelia Sachs, is against the surgery, but is trying to come to terms with it because it is what Lincoln wants.  They are both thrust into an INS investigation trying to locate a snakehead (smuggler of desperate Chinese people into the US unlawfully) in the middle of the ocean.  The Ghost is the most feared of all snakeheads because of his ruthlessness with the human cargo on his ships and because of his high connections which enable him to escape prosecution.

The Coast Guard locate the ship, but before they can board the Ghost blows it up.  He survives and kills anyone else who has lived, but two families escape him.  They escape into New York City where the Ghost hunts them down.  A Chinese detective proves very helpful to Rhyme with insight and friendship and the race is on to find the illegal immigrants before the Ghost does.

This Lincoln Rhyme installment was a different kind of book than the first three.  There was so much information about the Chines and Chinese American cultures that the story moved slower, at least the first half.  It was still really good, but I was able to put it down, which did not happen with the first three.  Also, there was less emphasis on Lincoln, which is okay, but I happen to love watching him outsmart everyone. 

I did like his close  friendship with the Chinese detective.  And Lincoln and Amelia’s relationship keeps moving forward, which I love.  Although you don’t have to read the series in order I think it is rewarding to see this relationship develop from the beginning.

This book has all the twists and turns and surprises that I’ve come to expect from Deaver.  He keeps you guessing-even when you didn’t know there was guessing to be done! 

I recommend this thriller especially if you are interested in the Chinese American culture.