Twelfth Card, by Jeffery Deaver

Cover ImageFinished 6-9-09, rating 3/5, mystery/ thriller, pub.2005

#6 Lincoln Rhymes series

“You like that actor broke his neck?” She slurped her coffee, added more sugar.  Slurped again.

“That’s right”

“An’ you can’t move nothin’?”

“Not much.”

“Damn”

“Keesh,” Geneva whispered. “Chill, girl.”

“Just, you know, damn.”

Chapter4

Paraplegic Lincoln Rhymes is back in his Upper West side townhouse with his usual cast of of friends.  This time he is called to investigate an attempted attack in Harlem on 16 year old Geneva Settle.  Geneva was researching her ancestor, Charles Singleton who had been a freed slave 140 years ago, when she had eluded an attack using her street smarts.  The attacker goes on to kill a bystander and a police officer at the scene, so it is all hands on deck to protect the girl and to find out what had made her a target.

Lincoln is also dealing with some personal insecurities.  After months of machines working his paralyzed body it is finally time to find out if it has made any difference and he is willing to use any excuse to put this off.  Sellitto has a close encounter with the killer and has become a bit gun-shy, a bad thing when you are chasing dangerous men and women everyday and a good way to get yourself killed.  Kara, the musician from the last book makes a  small appearance.

This was my least favorite of the series so far for a few reasons, but what it all comes back to is that is felt more like a politically correct history lesson than a thrilling mystery.  The slang used by Geneva and her best friend seemed stereotypical and tired.  The old mystery involving  the freed slave also working with the black activists of the time was not interesting enough to keep the story moving.  I’m no lawyer, but the end seemed very outlandish to me.

Deaver’s books are always well written, fast-paced, and full of many twists and turns.  This one was too, it just wasn’t quite up to the level of his others.  And it did seem very appropriate to be reading this while I was in New York!

The Vanished Man, by Jeffery Deaver

Cover ImageFinished 6-3-09, rating 4.5/5, mystery/thriller, pub. 2003

This is the 5th book in the Lincoln Rhymes series

Kara asked, “You know what illusion is?”

“David Copperfield,” Sachs replied, shrugging, “Houdini.”

“Copperfield, yes.  Houdini, no – he was an escapist.  Well, illusion’s different from sleight of hand or close-in magic, we call it.  Like…” Kara held up a quarter in her fingers, change from the coffee.  She closed her palm and when she opened it again the coin was gone.

Sachs laughed.  Where the hell had it gone?

“That was sleight of hand.  Illusion is tricks involving large objects or people or animals.  What you just described, that that killer did, is a classic illusionist trick.  It’s called the Vanished Man.”

Chapter 7

Paraplegic forensic specialist, Lincoln Rhymes is back with his girlfriend and partner in crime Amelia Sachs.  This time the NYPD has them working on a case involving a man who proves to be so illusive that he can vanish from a room and be standing right in front of you and you wouldn’t know it.  Based on some evidence they found at the scene, they decided that he was a magician and brought in Kara, an aspiring magician, to help them figure out this killer’s next move. 

This is an over-the-top mystery that has more twits and turns than probably necessary, but every one was exciting.  I never quite got a handle on what the killer was up to and I was surprised right up to the end.  Note that I did mention is was over-the-top.  Many of the twist stretched the limits of believability, but that’s what made this fun for me.

I loved the insights into the world of illusion.  The killer also uses mentalism.  So, if you like the television show The Mentalist you will appreciate this guide to his tricks! 

I also really liked the growing, yet understated relationship between Lincoln and Amelia.  And Amelia’s quest to become a Sergeant really made me root for her in a way that I haven’t in earlier books.

If you like CSI (any of them) this is the series for you!  As always, start at the beginning, The Bone Collector.