Mystery / Suspense

The Burial Hour

Written by: Jeffery Deaver

Published By: Grand Central Publishing

Reviewed by Melissa Minners

                I am seriously behind on my Lincoln Rhyme reading!  I had thought that maybe Jeffery Deaver was done with the Lincoln Rhyme/Amelia Sachs series of books, but he surprised me with The Burial Hour.  The book came out in April 2017 and I bought it as soon as it hit stores, but I just got around to reading it.  Was it worth the wait?

                In this continuation of the series, NYPD Detective Amelia Sachs is busy planning her wedding to criminologist Lincoln Rhyme while he contemplates where they should go for their honeymoon.  All about the forensics of things, Lincoln is looking at Greenland and the new forensic technology they have come up with, but his aide, Thom, thinks Amelia would appreciate a more romantic getaway.  Their wedding plans are put on hold when they are asked to help capture a new criminal.

                Their latest unsub is named The Composer.  Leaving a miniature noose made of musical instrument strings where he kidnaps his victims, The Composer constructs elaborate ways to hang his victims, posting his creations set to a human/instrumental score on social media.  Amelia, Lincoln and their team stop his first effort to kill using a cello string noose, but The Composer escaped capture.  Finding evidence that he may be planning to leave the country, they try to warn other law enforcement around the world.

                A Forestry Policeman in Italy stumbles upon The Composer’s latest kidnapping after the fact and this takes Lincoln, Amelia and Thom to Naples.  But working with Italian law enforcement can prove to be a challenge for Lincoln and Amelia – the laws are different, they are not the lead investigators on the case…in fact, they are simply guests here and can be excluded from the investigation at any time.  Amelia and Lincoln must find a way to make themselves invaluable to Italian law enforcement and the Prosecutor assigned to the case or they will be sent back to America before they can stop The Composer. 

                As they work on The Composer case, the two soon realize that there is much more to this case than meets the eye, especially when they start putting together the pattern regarding the kidnappings.  Could it be that The Composer is targeting refugees in Italy because he believes law enforcement will be less inclined to investigate or could he have a more nefarious reason behind his targeting?

                I was wondering if Jeffery Deaver had anything left in the can for the Lincoln Rhyme series.  I worried that, like so many other authors out there, his Rhyme series might become stale or repetitive.  I need not have worried.  The first difference noted in The Burial Hour is the first book in which Rhyme and his people are called to consult BEFORE a murder has taken place.  Lon Sellitto usually approaches Lincoln for help after an unusual homicide or multiple homicides have taken place.  This time, it’s a kidnapping, albeit a rather unusual one. 

The second difference is the locale.  This time around, much of the action takes place in Italy and Lincoln and Amelia find themselves at the mercy of the local law enforcement and have to rely on people they don’t know to do the crime scene analysis.  Of course, this aids in bringing new characters into the fray.  This aids in keeping things fresh and preventing the series from becoming stale – new locales, new characters, and of course, a new type of criminal.  I loved each and every new character added in The Burial Hour.  I was particularly taken with Ercole Benelli, the Forestry Officer.  A sweet, yet shy and oft-bumbling individual who wants to be so much more than just a Forestry Officer, though he takes that job very seriously.  I found myself rooting for Ercole to do well on this case, especially after the way Prosecutor Spiro was treating him from the very beginning. 

As always, Mr. Deaver has a few surprises in store – nothing is ever what it seems in a Jeffery Deaver novel.  The suspense is killer in this novel and I found myself on the edge of my seat, holding my breath numerous times.  Add to the suspense all of the crazy twists and turns, the great characters (new and old) and the relevance to current events, The Burial Hour is a terrific addition to the ever-expanding Lincoln Rhyme book collection I keep in my overflowing bookcase!  I can’t wait for the recently announced next book in the series, The Cutting Edge.


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