by Jeffery Deaver is a riveting mystery. He is definitely
the Master of Suspense with the many twists and turns throughout
the novel. It is an understatement to say he manipulates his
readers as he sets them up for one course of action and then
abruptly changes it. This latest Kathryn Dance novel is no
Deaver commented, "I like to camouflage clues but the
surprises must be grounded with a reference somewhere. Twists
are definitely my trademark. I think it is better to create
suspense than depict gore. I want to grab readers with the
story. I look for incidents that could scare the heck out
of them. It is important to get that balance where the reader
is horrified but not repulsed, which is why I cut away with
the sex and violence scenes. To make my books resonate I raise
different questions, but never preach."
What makes this plot so gripping is that any person can see
themselves in the victim's situation. Whether in an elevator,
a music club, a book signing, or an amusement park, the antagonist
is able to manipulate a situation to cause chaos and panic,
something he thrives upon. His first attempt at turning people's
fears and greed into a weapon was at a small concert venue
on the Monterey Peninsula in California. Cries of fire caused
people to panic and run for the doors, only to find them blocked.
Investigators led by Kathryn Dance discover there was no fire
and the six who died were stampeded. The rest of the book
finds Kathryn and her team racing the clock to find the perpetrator
before he strikes again.
Deaver had this idea for a story line, "for many years.
In the book I refer to the 25th Anniversary of the Hillsborough
disaster, where in 1989 at a FA Cup semi-final 96 people were
crushed to death. I came up with this quote from the book
from a personal experience, "when the crowd takes over.
You become a helpless cell in a creature whose sole goal is
to survive, yet in attempting to do that it will sacrifice
some of itself
" I remember feeling like that during
an incident in Greenwich Village. There was this parade and
the streets were completely packed. A scuffle ensued and the
crowd started to move. I lost control and the crowd was moving
me. I thought if someone or I fall we would be completely
Kathryn Dance, a California Bureau Investigator, uses kinesics
to question suspects and witnesses. As a body language expert
she is able to tell if someone might be lying if they begin
"to speak more slowly, since your mind is trying to craft
the lie and make sure it'll be consistent with everything
you've said before. The second is a slight increase in pitch."
Readers will like Kathryn, finding her caring, intelligent,
and perceptive. Deaver came up with the idea of having Dance
as a body language expert, "after watching this special
where a jury consultant used it to analyze jurors. I used
it as a springboard for Kathryn's profession. I wanted her
to go one-on-one psychologically with the villains."
Through her family interaction, including her two dogs, Dylan
and Patsy, named after Bob Dylan and Patsy Cline, Deaver is
able to show Kathryn's personal side. This makes her more
of a realistic character, and in this novel the love triangle
that was happening between Kathryn and her two beaus will
be settled. Because he was a folk singer and a failed musician,
Deaver decided to have Kathryn mimic him, including loving
the era of Dylan and Cline.
Solitude Creek, as with all Deaver books, keeps readers
on their toes. He does not have just one main twist and turn,
but numerous ones. This novel is literally a page-turner since
on one page the author sets up an expectation and on the next
page twists it around.
Lincoln Rhyme series
Cutting Edge #14 (includes Kathryn Dance)