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This taut thriller from Jeffery Deaver is well worth a read - although perhaps not quite as gripping as some of his others. If you've read several of his books before, I'd say it's more along the lines of "Praying for Sleep" than "The Bone Collector".
Deputy Brinn MacKenzie, from a rural police force, is sent to an isolated house in the woods miles from anywhere, following up on a 911 call which was hung up after the caller said just one word. Of course once she arrives the situation get progressively more confused and frightening.
In the ensuing hunt through the forest the prey stays just steps ahead of the predators, with false trails a-plenty. Other people get involved - but are they really innocent bystanders, or not? The atmosphere is tense throughout the lethal game of hide-and-seek, although for me the chase went on just a little bit too long.
In the final section of the book, the plot wends its way through typical Deaver false trails, dead ends and other confusions. Here I felt just a bit of anticlimax - it was still gripping me, but not as tight as the earlier sections.
The novel has just as many twists and turns as I've come to expect from his books - but more of these than usual are personal rather than plot related. There are also a few bits at the end which are left unexplained - not in an exciting way, just seemingly forgotten, which was a bit of a disappointment for me. It's a good book, but it won't haunt me like some of Deaver's books have!
Just THIS? Yes just this that is all that was said on the 911 call from the house out on deserted Lake Montac, just before the call is disconnected. A hoax? or something more sinister?
Deputy policewoman Brynn McKenzie is sent up to check out the lake house just to make sure everything is ok, but shockingly for her she stumbles upon not a domestic situation like the police thought but the horrific scene of a murder. She also discovers that there are three other people with her up there in the National park, two killers and a woman who was friends with the murdered couple. But where are they hiding?
The game that ensues is a thoroughly creepy one of cat and mouse, with the killers chasing and the deputy and the young female survivor of the attack running, trying to outwit them at every twist and turn.
I picked up this book from a local charity shop after enjoying some thrillers recently and I am happy that this one caught my eye. The bodies left behind was so gripping a story I actually managed to devour all 498 pages in one night.
The writing was very descriptive which really helped to bring the story of the chase to life, you could see the paths they were trying to run and the risks of the cliffs they could have slipped from. It kept you gripped for the whole book.
I also found that the ending was definately not what I saw coming, a fantastic twist to the end of the novel which really brought all the ends together, but in a way you really wouldn't have guessed, which is the best part of a good thriller.
The characterisation was also a plus to this novel as you really empathise with certain characters in the book, Brynn's husband and his frustration with her job meaning more to her than him was quite a touching character, especially the way that he cared about her son Joey.
The book is priced at £7.99 but can purchased from amazon new for £3.99 which is a bargain for this cat and mouse chase thriller.
I found this book in my local bookshop and thought it looked well worth the read, I have to say I wasn't dissapointed!
The book in itself was written very very well, and although I have never read a Jeffery Deaver book before, I found his writing flowed well and was easy to pick up. The start and the end were absolutely brilliant. The middle however, was the dissapointing bit. It seemed to go on and on and at times was just repeating itself. I found Deaver to be a particularly descriptive writer and with a large amount of the story being set running around the woods, a bulk of the book was spent being very descriptive, something which I could have done without!
The plot which Deaver had, was obviously clearly thought out and wasn't a spur of the moment 'I'll write about that' sort of book which you sometimes come across. The characters were likeable (the ones you were supposed to like anyway!), and the ending of the book was absolutely the total opposite of what I was expecting to happen - which you oculd say is writing at its best.
I liked the feel of the story, which as I said was clearly thought out, and it had been well researched too, with the forensic and police knowledge thorough.
A large house near a national reserve in Wisconsin, is the holiday home of a well respected and successful couple. One is a lawyer, the other a social worker. After returning to their holiday home for a short weekend break, they find themselves the target of masked intruders who are also heavily armed. Unfortunately for the couple they are both murdered (this happens in the first 1 or 2 pages so I haven't given anything away!), but not before they place a call to 911 which is cut off as soon as they are connected. Unsure if the call was an emergency or simply a fault with phone lines, the Sheriff sends off duty State Trooper Brynn to the house. What she finds is a murder scene, but before she can call for back up, she is seen by the masked men. Away from her car, with a phone with no signal, she is forced to turn to the national park for safety, and along the way she finds a survivor of the murder.
What follows next is a classic cat and mouse chase, with lots of twists and turns along the way. A brilliant story, although perhaps a little long and dragged out in places.
Well worth a read!
Available on Amazon for £7.90 which includes delivery
Hardcover 368 Pages
Published 2008 by Simon & Schuster
Jeffery Deaver generally writes brilliantly about serial killers and the solving of crime using 'state of the art' forensic technology. He is obviously well versed in latest crime solving technology and parlance. His research is meticulous.
Deaver is a massively intelligent writer, the only slight problem I have with him is the sinister photo of him on his book covers! I always wonder why he chose that photo?
He is the author of 25 extremely successful novels, many of which include Detective Kathryn Dance and/or Lincoln Rhyme a quadraplegic forensic genius. In this, his latest book, we have a departure from the norm in that it is low tech and include neither of his most famous fictional crime solvers. It is no less gripping for that though! I think it is his best novel so far.
***This review contains no spoilers.***
~~~Brief plot outline~~~
The story starts with a couple in their holiday home, a lake shore house in the wilds of Wisconsin. Masked men burst in and despite their begging they are brutally murdered. Their interupted call for help is reported to a local State Trooper, Brynn, who leaves her dinner to drive to the area to see if help is needed.
Within minutes of arriving at the scene Brynn finds herself hunted through the forest with a survivor of the carnage tagging along, who at times is far more hindrance than help. Without her phone or gun and without transport she has to get the two of them to safety as the killers desperately hunt them down. We see Brynn using her survival skills to survive, misdirect, flee and fight back, in turn.
On the face of it it's a simple enough story. However, the twists and turns of the plot are so finely woven together that I defy anyone to predict what is going to happen in the next chapter, never mind the ending!
To add depth, threaded through the narrative is the subplot of the tenuous relationships between Brynn, her Mother, her partner and her son and a question posed about whether Brynn's brutal first husband was shot accidentally or not? By Brynn or her five year old child? The subplot is written well enough to be told as a seperate story but acts as a counterpoint to the very tightly written main action in the forest.
Throw into the pot a handful of State Troopers trying to find Brynn, the extra assasin trying to hunt down the two who bungled the kill, some happy campers and you have a tale that will keep you riveted throughout.
Who will be "The bodies left behind"?
The reader is kept guessing and guessing and guessing. (Mostly wrongly in my case and I predict that you will be caught out too.)
The main characters in the book are developed well. The hired assasin and his slightly less professional ally are forced into positions of trust with one another, their mutual distrust turns to grudging admiration and then something else. Brynn and her 'wannabee' actress partner in this desperate situation, learn a lot about each others strengths and almost fatal weaknesses. You end up really caring about Brynn even though she is exasperating at times, wanting to shake the young woman and praying that someone or something will get in the way of the hired killers.
Each character is developed well but unobtrusively. The fine descriptions of what motivates each individual adds to the plot rather than intrudes upon the action. Seemingly small points become salient as the story builds momentum.
The descriptions of the woodlands and lakes at night are very evocative and leave the reader in no doubt about what sort of unforgiving terrain the story is set in. In some ways it mirrors the interior life of the main protagonists.
I was very intrigued by the reluctantly developing admiration between the main assasin and Brynn as they needed to get into each other's mindset to outmanouvre one another. The way their relationship was described and developed by Jeffery Deaver added even greater depth to the multiple layers of story.
I don't think I have read a book of this genre before that has kept me so gripped and suprised as the tale unfolded. It is a masterpiece of story telling. The action and suspense is maintained until the very last page.
Just as you think you have got it all sorted in your mind another twist is introduced and the probability dice are shaken up again!
As I finished reading I felt very satisfied. All the many elements of the narrative had been used. There were no irritating loose ends or red herrings. I feel as though I had been drawn in to a very intricate tapestry of human behaviour and relationship and have emerged slightly battered, wiser, excited and much less sanguine about my ability to predict outcomes!
Genre: Crime / Thriller
Author: Jeffery Deaver
Hardcover 368 Pages
Published 2008 by Simon & Schuster