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Speaking in Tongues - Jeffrey Deaver

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3 Reviews

Author: Jeffery Deaver / Genre: Crime / Thriller

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    3 Reviews
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      17.11.2008 13:10
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      Doesn't quite live up to the expectation somewhere along the line. Okay to read but not the greatest

      Speaking in Tongues - Jeffrey Deaver

      ~ About the Author ~

      Jeffrey Deaver is American and has a number of accomplishments under his belt. He was also a journalist and Attorney, he has also been a folk singer, and is now a number one best selling writer, best known for his crime and thriller style. He is also the winner of various awards in the industry.
      Perhaps his best known work is The Bone Collector which was made into a movie, starring Denzel Washington and Angelina Jolie. The Bone Collector is also the first book to feature Lincoln Rhyme who then features in further books to complete a series.

      Speaking in Tongues is a standalone novel published in 2000.

      ~ The Book Synopsis ~

      Meg McCall has an appointment with her psychologist, where she is seen not by her usual doctor, but Dr. Bill Peters. Once the session begins, Meg finds she is getting more from this one session than she has achieved in all the ones prior to it, and so she is asked to write down how she feels about her dysfunctional family.
      Normally Meg wouldn't have managed to write anything, but Dr. Peters is so persuasive she finds the words pour out on to the page, and all the anger she has been holding back is brought to the fore.

      Meanwhile, Tate Collier is working at his home, the aged but family plot in Virginia. Once not only one of the county's and state's finest lawyers, but one of the countries best - he now finds it hard to reconcile the mistakes he made while working at the top of his game.
      Nowadays he prefers to be community advocate in rural Virginia, fighting for injustice, and trying to rebuild his life.

      This means also trying to be a father (of sorts) to his teenage daughter, Meg, as well as be civil to Bett, his ex-wife.

      But their lives are about to implode when Meg seems to run away - but soon Tate and Bett discover that Tate's life has come back to haunt him.
      To save Meg, Bett and Tate must avoid recrimination, and work together to help their daughter.

      ~ Thoughts on the Book ~

      Whilst Jeffrey Deaver has been around for some time, I admit this is the first time I have delved into on of his novels, and overall I wasn't too disappointed.

      I admit it isn't a novel that has the same intensity levels that some books have, and until I read some more of Deaver's work, I can't say at this stage if the same goes compared to his other work.
      However, it doesn't mean it this loses out because of it, and while it isn't at the highest of tempos it is still a good overall psychological thriller.

      The main premise is between the relationships of the characters, and somewhat predictably, there is the broken down marriage, and rebellious teenage daughter. This allows Deaver to introduce his main villain of the piece, the mysterious Bill Peters - who we begin to realize is using an alias and has killed in order to maintain his charade and he is out for revenge against Tate.

      We are also quickly shown that his anger is directed at Tate, and it also ties in a little too conveniently as to why Tate left practicing as a highflying prosecutor to become an advocate of rights in his hometown.

      As I've mentioned, it's a good book, but honestly nothing more than that. While the plot is enough to hold your attention, I also felt as if I've read this somewhere before - it just wasn't quite unique or strong enough to make it stand out from the crowd.
      The characters again feel mixed and I felt while there was some dimension and belief about them, again at times I felt they were rather staid and they could be characters plucked from other books and just re-jigged to use here.

      Megan is possibly for me the strongest character of the book, and while some of the dialogue didn't feel all that great, overall I just felt everything worked well when it was focusing on her, and the dilemma she was in.
      Tate and Bett are the two weakest characters and this is primarily because we get numerous accounts exploring their relationship, past and present - and it just felt like Deaver was attempting to fill pages with text, rather than it bringing something worthwhile to the overall story.

      Its fine that we get background, and it works well for this, but once the story really begins to take off, it just doesn't seem necessary a lot of the time. The crux of the story doesn't revolve around their relationship, and in some ways I wished he had focused more on one of the other main characters to flesh them out a little. But, that's personal preference.

      I found it a little disconcerting we get given the reasons behind the kidnap of Megan pretty early on as well - I feel it could have easily have been fleshed out and kept a secret for much longer, and therefore improving the overall story. It takes excellent story telling to maintain the interest once we know the "why" this is happening, and fortunately, this story while not excellent - did just enough to keep me reading.

      ~ Final thoughts ~

      Overall, Jeffrey Deaver works a good strong story, and the intrigue and suspense we are given with the exception of Tate and Bett's background is good.

      But as I've mentioned there are areas of weakness that are a shame to see, because it is a good idea and story, but it is let down because of some implausible ideas and characterization and elaborate attempts to give us the reasons "why" when I feel it would have been best left for later, adding to the suspense of it all.

      So in general I just feel this isn't as involving as it could have been, but its an okay read. It's the sort of book I would suggest someone picks up if they are looking to read something that still has reasonable strength, but isn't a book you need to concentrate on too hard, with characters you can quickly establish in your mind and understand.

      If however you are looking to read a deeply disturbing psychological thriller that is full of pace, and full of complex characters and depth this isn't the book to read.
      Deaver fans might feel otherwise, but until I've read other books of his I can't compare it.

      A thriller that doesn't quite match up to the idea. Overall I give this book 3 out of 5 stars. Not great, but not the worst out there.

      ~ Availability ~

      I had this from a local charity shop for £1-00, but it does seem widely available and I've seen it on Amazon.co.uk for £5-49 (exc. Postage)

      · ISBN-10: 0340640235
      · ISBN-13: 978-0340640234

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      • More +
        01.04.2008 18:14
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        A great novel from a master story-teller

        Having just read one of Jeffery Deavers other books (the great 'The Cold Moon') I was compelled to pick up the only other Deaver book I had lying around the house and plough straight in. Unfortunately, when I did so I didn't intend to be staying up most of the night trying to find a suitable place to close the damn thing before my eyes finally gave up on their own accord.

        Written over ten years ago the all-new current paperback version is a new and revised edition which sadly comes without a preface by the author explaining his amendments and/or ommisions.

        'Speaking in Tongues' tells the tale of Megan Collier and of how, upon meeting her new therapist, Aaron Matthews, in an attempt to curb her dysfunctional attitude, she ends up being kidnapped by the brilliant psychologist and transpoerted to his secret hideaway in an act of retribution that has more blanks to be filled yet.

        Megans parents, Tate Collier, an excellent orator, former District Attorney and poor father, and his ex-wife Bett McCall, an interior designer whose attention seems more drawn to her new fiance rather than her daughter, suddenly find themselves drawn into every parents worst nightmare when they can't find their one bond and must join forces for the first time in many years in order to track her down.

        What follows is a brilliant story about two men renouned for their professional skills at manipulating their audience and at reading their every move or look. It offers twists and turns right up to the final chapter and is classic Deaver.

        When I began the novel I got the impression that the teenage daughter would be just some depressed youth with a hang-up regarding her parents. At first this is entirely how she appears but during the course of events you begin to realise she has a touch more character than just miserable teen angst. Even the parents who can sometimes become superhuman in their search for answers in such stories come across as natural and vulnerable without any real skills other than those they began with.

        The story really did have me fighting to keep my eyes open and the book closed as it was written in a fairly quick pace but with enough detail to form the whole picture in your mind and at the same time leaving you desperate to turn another page. The characters all appear whole with enough foibles to make them seem human but sometimes, as with all the Jeffery Deaver books I have read, they can contain a trait that takes them above the norm and capable of some super-human feats of mental skill. Still this is only a minor crtiticism of what is a really great novel.

        'Speaking in Tongues' is one of Jeffery Deavers 'stand-alone' books. As it does not belong to part of a set the characters are given depth and personality within the book rather than having to relying on previous stories to fill in the gaps.

        The book is available in paperback form from Amazon for the price of £5.49 new and for as little as £0.01p used. And thats for the hardback.

        Also posted on Ciao.

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        • More +
          08.08.2001 19:34

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          The title is somewhat misleading, but that's a small price to pay for this enjoyable book. I had read the Bone Collector some time ago, and was looking forward to reading another Deaver book. The plot centres around 2 main characters Tate Collier, a successful attorney and Aaron Matthews, a hugely intelligent pyschopath. Aaron kidnaps Tate's daughter and in doing so brings together Tate and his estranged wife as they desperately try and find her. There are plenty of good turns and twists, and at times it is a verifiable page turner, however some of the plot points can tend to rely on the readers suspension of disbelief a little too heavily. So whilst it won't stand up to close scrutiny, if you enjoy a good thriller, pick this up, it is an excellent example of it's genre, and well worth the read. If given the right treatment this could become a huge film!

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      • Product Details

        The prolific Deaver is back in this story about how secrets can break a family apart. When Megan McCall, teenage daughter of divorced couple Tate (workaholic husband) and Bett (promiscuous wife) disappears, everyone assumes she ran away. After all, she had been seeing a psychiatrist ever since her alleged suicide attempt, and it was clear she was unhappy at home. We learn early on, however, that a madman impersonating a psychiatrist has abducted her, but we do not know why.