Mystery / Suspense
Trouble in Mind
Written by: Jeffery Deaver
Published By: Grand Central Publishing
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
I’m a huge Jeffery Deaver fan, especially of his Lincoln Rhyme novels, and have been reading his works for years. My shelves are stocked with his books and most of those that I don’t have in hardcover or paperback, I’ve downloaded digitally. So, when I saw a Jeffery Deaver book I hadn’t read on the bargain table at Barnes & Noble, it was a no-brainer: I had to purchase a copy of Trouble in Mind.
The third in a series of short story anthologies, Trouble in Mind contains twelve suspenseful tales, including not one, but two Lincoln Rhyme stories. It all starts off with a Kathryn Dance tale called Fast, in which the investigator with a specialty in kinesics tries to uncover the location of a bomb before it can go off and hurt, possibly kill hundreds. Her adversary is clever and seemingly unsusceptible to Kathryn’s interrogator ploys, but Kathryn Dance still has some tricks up her sleeve. Next up is Game, a murder mystery with a terrific surprise ending that you will never expect.
Bump features an ex-Hollywood star looking to get back into the game with his own brand of television series. He’s been turned down by everyone, until one producer offers him the opportunity to do a reality series that may give him the bump he needs to get his own series on the air. All O’Connor has to do is put up a quarter of a million dollars and play poker to win. If he’s the last at the table, he gets a million dollars and the bump he needs. Sure, he stands to lose quite a bit of money, but O’Connor thinks he knows what he’s getting into…thinks being the operative word here.
The next tale is a Lincoln Rhyme story I read once before called A Textbook Case. I downloaded and reviewed it quite some time ago and I will direct you there for the summary: http://www.g-pop.net/atextbookcase.htm. That brings us to Paradice and a film location scout who stumbles on a murder mystery in a small town that threatens to sweep him up in its grasp and make him one of the victims.
The Competitors takes place in China during the Olympics and features a terrorist plot planned to take place during one of the events. Security officials have a tip about the event, but who is the terrorist and which team does the terrorist plan on taking out. Next up is The Plot, a story I read quite some time ago in an anthology called The Interrogator, in which a police detective becomes suspicious about his favorite author’s death. This is followed by a shocker of a tale called The Therapist, which starts off with a man who seems to want to help out a troubled woman…but this man’s brand of help is totally unexpected.
The Weapon features members of a government-hired mercenary group struggling to discover what new weapon is planned for use against the United States. Unfortunately, their captive is uncooperative, despite every interrogation tactic used. Could it be that the very weapon they are seeking is already being used against them? Next is Reconciliation in which we meet Ransom, a man struggling to understand his long dead father now that he has returned to his hometown on business. What he uncovers is shocking. What we learn about Ransom…even more so. The Obit is another Lincoln Rhyme tale in which Lincoln’s obituary is released in an attempt to flush out a murderer.
This brings us to the final story, Forever, which is, in fact, the longest story in the book. This tale features a statistician in a police department who finds himself knee deep in a murder investigation. Statistically impossible? You would think so, but our statistician has found a statistical improbability – two wealthy couples committing suicide within weeks of one another in their small town. Something just doesn’t add up and our statistician vows to get to the bottom of it, despite the fact that the Captain and the folks from Homicide think he’s crazy.
I had fun reading these stories. Each one had twists and turns that would throw one off and create some unexpected endings, but there were some that actually made me holler, “Whoa!” out loud. One such tale was The Therapist – no way was I expecting the brand of therapy our protagonist was doling out, nor was I expecting the twist of an ending. The story was so unlike anything I had ever read from Deaver before and I found it to be quite refreshing. Reconciliation was another of those tales. Though I figured it out toward the very end, there were some very clever twists in there, making for a decent surprise or two. Of course, I always love Lincoln Rhyme tales and even reread A Textbook Case despite the fact that I hadn’t read it all that long ago.
While I enjoyed trying to figure out the whodunit in Forever, I found it to be overly long. The story just seemed to drag on longer than I would expect a short story to last. And yet, despite its length, I found myself rooting for the statistician to catch his killer…and maybe get the girl…that four-percenter. Yup, I was invested in the main character alright.
All-in-all, Trouble in Mind did provide that rollercoaster ride I’ve come to expect from Jeffery Deaver while also providing some new and refreshing styles of stories that I haven’t seen from him before. A well-rounded short story collection that was rather entertaining.
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