Mystery / Suspense
Written by: Jeffery Deaver
Published By: Simon & Schuster, Inc.
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
I am a huge Jeffery Deaver fan and have amassed quite a collection of his suspense novels over the years. Deaverís writing style is such that you are totally captivated by what happens in his novels, forsaking all else that goes on around you until you get past all of the amazing plot twists to arrive at the end of the story. His tales are simply mesmerizing and with all of the twists and turns the stories take, you can never truly predict what the ending will be. But often times, an amazing novelist is not such an amazing short story writer. So, when I saw Twisted, a compilation of short stories by Jeffery Deaver, at my local Barnes & Noble, I was a bit skeptical. In Deaverís past novels, he has given himself a great deal of time to build up suspense and plot changes and the like. With short stories, he wouldnít have the luxury of time. And yet, Deaver pulled it off, leaving me in awe of the writerís tremendous skills. So much so, that when I saw More Twisted, a second compilation of short stories for Jeffery Deaver, I simply had to have it.
More Twisted: Collected Stories, Vol. II begins with a Preface from the author in which Deaver explains exactly what I had feared when purchasing the original compilation of short stories Ė that not all great novelists can have the same effect when writing short stories. He also goes on to discuss how he comes up with such great plot twists and promises us more of an explanation when we reach the Afterward of the book.
More Twisted contains sixteen short stories, each one more suspenseful than the last. In Chapter and Verse, a detective in charge of the safety of a witness for the prosecution races against time to discover the date, time and individual who has been hired to take out the witness. In The Commuter, we learn that being that loud, obnoxious cell phone guy on the train could actually lead to some very unhealthy consequences. The Westphalian Ring is a somewhat different turn for Deaver as he takes the most infamous mystery novel detective that ever lived in fiction Ė Sherlock Holmes. In Surveillance, a computer-savy detective learns that computers will not always be the best partners in an investigation. And the list goes on from there. As with Deaverís novels, just when you think you know whatís coming at the end, Deaver throws a monkey wrench in the middle of things and you discover that not everything is as it seems.
Of course, I was very happy to discover that Deaver included a short story featuring my favorite Deaver characters Lincoln Rhyme and Amelia Sachs called Locardís Principle. Any Lincoln Rhyme fan would have picked out that tale right away just from the title, a principle of evidence transference that the forensic detective relies on every day for clues toward solving murder mysteries. This time out, a rich philanthropist is murdered and itís up to Rhyme and Sachs to find out who the hitman is before they strike again.
To say that I had a favorite story would be inaccurate Ė I truly loved them all with one exception. Although I thought A Nice Place to Visit was not a bad piece of writing, I found it to be not as enjoyable as the first fifteen tales. Everyone wants to see an evil character get their due, but for some reason, I was annoyed at the style in which the story was written. I canít really explain it, but I didnít really enjoy this one as much as the others.
In the Afterward, Jeffery Deaver dissects the short story Afraid in an effort to show his readers how he uses different styles to insert a little horror, a little terror into his stories. Piece by piece, Deaver reveals his strategy in creating a story that shocks the hell out of his readers without being too over the top. He shows how he reels us in without putting us off. Would-be suspense story writers can learn a lot from this section of More Twisted.
Once again, Mr. Deaver, you have taken your readers on a rollercoaster ride of mystery and suspense with More Twisted. I canít wait to see what twists and turns you have in store for us in the future. Could there be a third compilation in the works? Perhaps I can suggest a title Ė Even More Twisted.
For more from Jeffery Deaver, check out these links: