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I unenjoyed The Skin Collector for its outlandish and improbable convolutions, but this book puts Deaver back in my top 10 crime authors list.
Maybe I missed a few books, but some time has passed for Sachs and Rhyme, and their relationship is rocky. Rhyme has retired from police consulting. And Nick, Sachs' ex, is out of prison, swearing he's innocent and looking to clear his name and win Amelia back.
There are several cases going on here--a bone-cracking, smashing killer, a hacker using smart appliances to kill, Lon Solito getting into heavy pain killers on the street, some references to a case Rhyme misread and which caused him to retire, and Nick researching his case to find something to point to the real perp in the hijacking case that put him away.
As in most of Deaver's books, he finds a new idea, researches it and makes it part of the crime. In a few of these, the technique, or the criminal's flaw was just so bizarre and obscure as to be incredible, but here, he has toned this down just a bit so that things are more reasonable. However, he may be making a social comment on our dependence on the smart capabilities of all our Things to the extent that we are leaving ourselves open to attack by hackers. We are now used to phones being used to set off bombs, old hat that; now your modern fridge can send out internet spam; you might be attacked by a runaway car, a computerized stove, your baby monitor, a power tool with measurement or shape memory capabilities, etc. --anything that has a computer in it. Frankenstein's monster kills his maker. With a side diatribe against bullying.
And also, as is Deaver's style, we travel with the sick-o killer, seeing into his mind and past, his reasoning, his planning of crimes. In this case, it is all believable and interesting. The plot may be formulaic, but it remains engaging, with surprises to the end.
The supporting cast is here, and they seem like old friends-- Solito and Pulaski (the Rookie) mainly, Sach's mother Rose, the caretaker Tom, and a new personality that is delightful and developed.
Here is where Edoardo Ballerini's talent comes in. He makes all these people distinct and enjoyable, makes their humor shine, beautifully contrasts Rhyme's irascibility with Tom's lemony, no-nonsense backtalk, ironically juxtaposing Solito's seeming jock street jive with his own well-read vocabulary and collegiate learning. Ballerini is a pleasure to listen to.
After getting tired of Deaver's plot tropes, here is a book to put him back in your good graces. A great listen!
9 of 9 people found this review helpful
I listen to novels in Jeffrey Deaver's Lincoln Rhyme series, but am not a big fan. The Steel Kiss is pretty standard Lincoln Rhyme fare except Amelia Sachs plays an ever greater action part and there are more plot twists than usual. Also, Rhyme's intellectual role in solving the serial killer case is less than usual. It is likely the best of the Lincoln Rhyme suspense (modern detective) mystery I have read or listened to. I am rating it 4 stars but can easily understand why others would rate it 5 stars.
One of my issues with the Rhyme audio book series is that the first 10 books Deaver changed narrators constantly. He has now settled on narrator Eduardo Ballerini for recent audio books. Ballerini is not the best of the narrators Deaver has used, but he is excellent.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful