The Broken Window
Jeffery Deaver is by far my favorite suspense novelist and the team of Lincoln Rhyme and Amelia Sachs are my favorite Jeffery Deaver characters. Thus, I was ecstatic when I received The Broken Window, the eight novel in the Lincoln Rhyme series, as a gift and I couldn’t wait to read it.
In The Broken Window, Lincoln Rhyme’s attempt to capture the elusive killer from The Cold Moon is interrupted when his estranged cousin, Arthur Rhyme, is arrested for murder. Despite the differences between the cousins, Lincoln can hardly ignore Arthur’s wife’s insistence of his innocence and her pleas for help. As Lincoln, Amelia and their team of criminalists work through the evidence against Arthur, they soon discover that the man was set up. In fact, Arthur is not the only victim of such an elaborate set-up - numerous people have been sent to prison thanks to very convincing albeit fabricated evidence.
As Lincoln and team delve further into the case, they discover that the actual killer is able to enact his crimes and set up innocent victims thanks to technological research into the victim’s lives. The killer is all knowledgeable thanks to the incredible amounts of information he has managed to gather on his prey. Where is he getting all of this information? Lincoln seems to believe that an information service company known as SSD is responsible and that the killer may in fact be an employee there. But can Lincoln stop the all-knowing serial killer or will the killer turn the tables once and for all on Lincoln and his team?
This is, by far, the most frightening of Jeffery Deaver’s novels. Why? Because much of what is discussed in The Broken Window is true. Data mining - collecting data about individuals and storing them in data bases that can be used for marketing, law enforcement, and more - is something that already takes place in our society. Buy something on a credit card and a company may be tipped off to the purchase. That company may send you an offer to purchase a similar item from their store. Purchase something using a store discount card and suddenly you are receiving information about similar products and discount coupons for the product you purchased. Go through a toll booth using an EZ Pass device and the police can track your every move via the signal sent out through the device…and perhaps the cellular phone you happen to have in your car.
Nothing can be scarier than the current issues surrounding identity theft and Jeffery Deaver uses this to his advantage, creating a character who uses data mining and identity theft to commit his crimes and then sets up other people to take the fall via the same methods. Ingenious! Even scarier is that Deaver gives us glimpses into the mind of the killer by providing us with a first person point of view of the killer himself.
The Broken Window is perhaps the best novel in the Lincoln Rhyme series. It contains all of the suspenseful twists and turns of the earlier novels. It delves a little more into the past of the original characters revealing quite a bit about Lincoln Rhyme in particular. But more importantly, this book uses our own paranoia about the very real possibility of identity theft and the Big Brother theory against us. The killer seems very real to us because his modus operandi is thoroughly feasible.
Kudos to Jeffery Deaver for a job well done. He certainly hasn’t lost his touch. The Broken Window is a novel worthy of the Lincoln Rhyme series and definitely worth the read.