The Burning Wire

Author: Jeffery Deaver

Published By:
Simon & Schuster

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


            I canít get enough of Jeffery Deaver and his suspenseful thriller novels.  Ever since I read The Bone Collector Iíve been hooked, especially on his novels featuring the criminalist team of Lincoln Rhyme and Amelia Sachs.  From the moment that The Burning Wire, the latest novel to feature my favorite crime fighting team, was announced, I couldnít wait to get my hands on it.  Once I found it, I simply couldnít put it down.

            When former NYPD criminalist Lincoln Rhyme became a paraplegic during a freak accident at a crime scene, it seemed that the world had come to an end.  Gone were the days he could walk the grid and pick up forensic evidence that would be used to put a criminal behind bars.  Brooding in his Manhattan townhouse, Lincoln had thought his life had no more meaning until he was asked to consult on the Bone Collector case and met NYPD Officer Amelia Sachs.  Using Amelia to walk the grid, Lincoln discovered he could still perform as a criminalist from the comforts of his home. 

            Since then, he has consulted on a number of cases and he and Amelia have become a formidable team both at work and at home.  Every case Rhyme and Sachs have worked on with their forensics team has been efficiently solved and closed, except one.  There was one killer who slipped through the cracks - the Watchmaker - and Rhyme is determined to put this man behind bars.  With the aide of Kathryn Dance and the Mexican government, Rhyme is about to do just that when he is approached with an entirely new case, one that needs to be solved quickly as millions of lives are at stake.

            Someone is using the electric grid in New York City as a new style of weapon, one that is extremely powerful and deadly.  They can strike at any time, from any location and take out any number of people without actually being present to activate the trap.  It will be up to the formidable forensics team Rhyme has assembled, combined with agents from the FBI, to track down this new killer and put a stop to his actions before he enacts his murders on a much larger scale.  But how do you track down a phantom with knowledge of the cityís entire grid and the ability to hack into the largest energy supplierís system with ease?

            The Burning Wire presents quite a difficult obstacle for Rhyme and his forensics team.  Sachs and her grid-walking partner Ron Pulaski find themselves at quite a disadvantage, placed at a very high risk thanks to the ease at which shocking electrical traps can be set by this new perp.  Just walking the grid could get them killed.  Trying to figure out what target will be next is equally difficult thanks to the vastness of the perpís weapon of choice.

            Meanwhile, it would seem that as Lincoln tries to capture this new killer in addition to the one that got away, his own body is fighting against him.  Faced with some very tough choices, Rhyme must put aside his fears and make some decisions that will have a profound effect on the way he lives his life from this moment on.

            As always, Jeffery Deaverís latest novel had me completely captivated.  The novel started a tad slow as I struggled to remember the nuances of electricity and circuits I learned back in the days when I was attempting to get a HAM radio operating license, but once I got past that, the novel took off like Amelia Sachsí Torino Cobra and I was flying through the four hundred plus pages in no time.  How does Deaver come up with this stuff?  What was he doing when he realized that electricity could be used in this manner to murder?  Despite the fact that electricity has thankfully never been used to perform mass murders in the manner described in The Burning Wire before, the reader will definitely see the possibilities presented by Deaverís story.  Itís completely believable, though it may be (hopefully) a tad bit complicated for someone to ever bother trying to achieve.

            The book even has a surprise ending that will forever change the Lincoln Rhyme novels to come in the future.  What will Deaver come up for the next Rhyme case and how will the ending of The Burning Wire effect the criminalityís approach to solving that case?  I canít wait to find out!


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