The Empty Chair, by Jeffery Deaver

Cover ImageFinished 11-12-08, rating 4/5, fiction, pub. 2000

“You have movement of one lumbrical- the ring finger of your left hand- and good shoulder and neck muscle control.  You could lose some or all of that.  And lose your ability to breathe spontaneously.”  -Chapter 2

Lincoln Rhymes and Amelia Sachs are back in book three of this popular series.

Lincoln is in North Carolina for a risky spinal cord surgery and he’s brought Amelia and his aide, Thom, with him.  Lincoln is hoping for any small improvement and Amelia is discouraging him from taking the risk.  The local sheriff, a cousin of a NY friend, asks Lincoln to help with a kidnapping case in the few days he has before he goes under the knife.  Garrett, Insect Boy to locals, has kidnapped two girls and Lincoln and Amelia work with local authorities to track him down.  Once in jail, Amelia is drawn to Garrett’s vulnerability and becomes convinced of his innocence.  She makes a decision that will change her life forever and pit her against Lincoln.

I cannot say enough good things about this series and this one was a nice change of pace.  It focused more on the relationship between Lincoln and Amelia and the southern locale offered a colorful backdrop to the story.  That said, this was my least favorite of the three so far.  There were too many people involved in excessive twists and turns.  I still recommend, but start with the first one, The Bone Collector.