The Kill Room

Author: Jeffery Deaver

Published By: Hachette Book Group

Reviewed by Melissa Minners

             It had been a while since Jeffery Deaver had produced a new novel featuring my favorite Deaver characters Lincoln Rhyme and Amelia Sachs, but news from his website promised a new novel soon.  I whetted my reading whistle with a short story featuring the pair - A Textbook Case - but was quick to pre-order the upcoming novel, The Kill Room, so I can read it as soon as it hit the book stores.  Once I got my hands on the book, I couldn't put it down.

The Kill Room opens with the assassination of Robert Moreno in the Bahamas.  Moreno, an American citizen, had left the country long ago and was very outspoken about the land in which he was born.  For that reason, ambitious New York Assistant District Attorney Nance Laurel has come to Lincoln Rhyme for assistance in investigating Moreno's death.  She believes that the assassination was ordered and carried out by the United States government under false pretenses.  In essence, she believes that Moreno was silenced by the government using intel that was twisted, made to paint the man as a terrorist when he was really just an outspoken activist.

NYPD consultant and crime scene investigation guru Lincoln Rhyme, as always, relishes the idea of a new challenge and quickly accepts the case.  Amelia Sachs, an NYPD detective and Rhyme's partner in more ways than one, is not so sure.  After all, this is a case of political intrigue, the only thing giving the ADA any possible jurisdiction on the case being that the kill order was generated from the National Intelligence and Operations Service office in NYC and enacted upon an American citizen.  Never mind the fact that Sachs finds ADA Laurel abrasive and career absorbed.

Sachs likes the case even less as the investigation moves forward and the team learns that someone is systematically getting rid of any and all witnesses to the shooting.  That someone is not at all keen on the idea of a famous crime scene investigator taking on the case.  Rhyme, Sachs and associates find themselves in the crosshairs of an assassin with a talent in the kitchen...especially when it comes to knives.  Could this be the case that finally does the investigator in?

When I first started reading this book, I felt myself frowning as much as Amelia Sachs.  I agreed with her - this was not the usual case that Rhyme and company took on.  In fact, I had difficulty seeing why the ADA or NYPD would want involvement in something like this.  I felt it a stretch that the NYPD would be involved in an overseas assassination, even if the individual was an American citizen whose political views had placed him on a watch list.  But Jeffery Deaver has never let me down in all the years that I have been reading his novels, starting with The Bone Collector.  I decided to keep reading and see how things played out.

As it turns out, I am happy I stuck with it.  As events in the book moved forward, it became more apparent why NYPD would be involved with the case.  I loved the twists and turns of this novel.  In my opinion, Deaver outdid himself with this novel.  Sure, suspenseful twists and turns are what Deaver specializes in, but I've read quite a few of his books and short stories over the years and I have to admit, I was completely thrown off by this novel.  I pride myself in being able to figure out the killer in thriller novels long before I reach the middle of a novel, but with The Kill Room, I had no idea who the real bad guy was until the last couple of chapters in the book.  I bow down to you Mr. Deaver!

The writing is spot on - sometimes, a series author will decide to make some changes in his characters to spice things up.  In the case of Rhyme and Sachs, Deaver is no different.  By the time of this novel, Lincoln Rhyme has had some cutting edge surgery that allows the former quadriplegic limited use and movement of his right arm, empowering him in ways even Rhyme couldn't imagine.  Meanwhile, although Sachs is happy for him, she is troubled by Rhyme's insistence on more groundbreaking, and possibly quite dangerous, surgery to enhance his condition.  It doesn't help that her own physical health - her problems with debilitating arthritis - are getting worse, putting her career...and quite possibly her risk.

While these changes add a little spice to the characters, it doesn't change who they are essentially, and I applaud Deaver for that.  What made Rhyme and Sachs characters that readers could relate to and root for is still there and we still enjoy solving crimes beside them.  It was nice to see some older characters return to the series like Homicide Detective Lon Sellitto, Rhyme's aide Thom, tech Mel Cooper, FBI undercover operative Fred Dellray and NYPD Officer Ron Pulaski.  I also like the addition of a new character that I think we may see in future novels in the newly assigned Bahamian Homicide Officer Mychal Poitier, a conscientious officer just learning the inner workings of homicide with a quick mind and an admirable sense of moral and ethical obligation.

Deaver also introduces us to some characters with some not-so-understandable senses of values and moral obligations.  These characters can often fool us into thinking they are on the wrong side of things by the way they think and operate and I love Deaver for it.  By adding these characters, he keeps the reader on their toes trying to guess who the real bad guy is in the novel.  Things aren't always what they seem in a Jeffrey Deaver novel and never is this more true with The Kill Room.

I can go on and on gushing about this book that I began reading with some reservations, but you will never know how good it really is until you pick up a copy of The Kill Room for yourself.  As a fan of the Lincoln Rhyme series, you may be taken aback at first, but will ultimately discover that this may be one of Deaver's best in the series.  As a fan of thrillers, political or just plain murder mystery thrillers, The Kill Room is one of those novels that blasts the readers with so many twists and turns, yet no too many that the reader can't keep up or begins to lose interest.  The Kill Room is an awesome novel - one that I can definitely picture on the big screen as a box office smash, full of action and intrigue with characters you will definitely want to see more of in the future.


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