The Burial Hour by
Jeffrey Deaver incorporates his usual writing style with misdirection
and plot twists. The subject matter is timely and relevant,
taking into account the many concerns of the Western world.
Although the plot begins in New York the main setting is in
Italy, where the classics play an important role, intertwining
Greek G-ds with legendary musical compositions of "The
Blue Danube," "The Nutcracker," and "Danse
Macabre." The plot begins with the abduction of a business
executive in Manhattan by someone known as "The Composer."
Left behind at the scene is a small hangman's noose. Lincoln
Rhymes, the notable Forensics investigator, and his fiancé
police detective Amelia Sachs get word that a similar kidnapping
occurred in Naples, Italy. They decide to fly there and join
forces with the Italian investigating team led by prosecutor
Dante Spiro and a legal liaison in the State Department. As
the dots get connected it appears all the victims are refugees.
The team must battle their worst enemy, time, trying to find
"The Composer" before he succeeds in killing one
of the people snatched, apparently for no better reason than
to record the sounds they make as they are choked to death.
“The bad guy, Stefan, is obsessed with sound. I enjoy
writing an eerie depth to my villains so they have substance.
Stefan ponders how music speaks to someone including what
history would have sounded like, the words of Judas or Abraham
Lincoln. I think as a society we are not as attuned to sound
as we used to be because of the overload. Robert Frost once
said that ‘you can induce meaning from sound, independent
of words.’ I wanted to show the emotional sides of sound
in this book. Stefan is moved by the combination of notes
and timing. There is something about the ¾ tempo of
a waltz I find pretty engrossing, which is why I used those
This book has Lincoln traveling to Italy. With the new setting
also comes a new direction for his profession. Since he is
a formidable forensics investigator he uses his skills to
get more involved with other types of crimes.
Deaver did not see as a problem having Lincoln, a quadriplegic,
move around the world. "Even in New York, he sits in
a room while Amelia does most of the legwork. I chose Italy
because it cannot escape the classics. Also, this story had
to move more slowly because life in Southern Italy does move
slowly. The story is tied to the Italian law enforcement system
that is more leisurely and takes a holistic approach to justice.
To make the plot move faster I had to extract elements of
Hour has many turns. It is interesting to see how Deaver
took his character out of his safe zone. Incorporating sound
and music is a twist that readers will find interesting.