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Book Review: The Cold Moon by Jeffery Deaver

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In The Cold Moon, eighth Jeffery Deaver's  series of Lincoln Rhyme novels, a man apparently has taken his own life when forensic expert Amelia Sachs first investigates the death of Ben Creely. Or at least that’s the official verdict. However, his wife is convinced otherwise. The brilliant criminologist quadriplegic police consultant Lincoln Rhyme has decided it’s time to give Amelia some responsibility to work on her own – take it to the end by herself and see how she does.

So when Amelia is speaking with Ben Creely’s wife, it is disclosed that Ben couldn’t possibly have hung himself because he could never have knotted the rope. His thumb was broken and he was wearing a cast.

This is Sachs' first chance to work on her own while still assigned to Lincoln Rhyme. She is confident she will get all the answers she’s after, and as she pokes around, it doesn’t take her long to find other incriminating things at the scene – burnt papers in a gas fireplace. From jottings on those scraps of paper she is led to a bar in the city as well as the city's 118th precinct, where there are rumors that certain cops are corrupt and are using their badge to make money illegally.

It also leads her to discover a dark secret about her father, also a police officer, forcing her to question her career and her relationship with Rhyme. There is a lot of introspection of the part of Amelia as she gives thought to what she should do about her career, and Rhyme hopes she stays on the force not only for her own sake, but for the force and him as well.

The Cold Moon is a breath of fresh air as, though it is a Lincoln Rhyme novel, it’s a story that doesn’t revolve around him as much this time, but instead we get a chance to follow Amelia and the established characters Detectives Lon Selitto and officer Ron Pulaski. Pulaski is shedding his rookie status and finally becoming an impressive and ‘think on his feet’ kind of cop.

We are introduced to a new character as well, a kinesics expert Kathryn Dance visiting from California. This is a character I hope stays. She is a different talent to immerse yourself in. While we do that though, we are still treated to the twists and turns that Jeffery Deaver is known for. He will never give away the end of his story midway because I wonder sometimes if even he himself knows how he’s going to finish it. Readers of his books have been critical of his writing style in the past, but I tend to enjoy it. I feel that Deaver is one of the best police procedural writers today.

Faithful to his style, Deaver has Amelia’s case become totally enmeshed with Rhymes case – a gruesome serial killer called The Watchmaker. This sadistic and meticulous killer has a definite flair for the dramatic and likes to leave clocks ticking at the scene of his crimes so his victims can die slowly watching and listening to their lives tick away. One of his first victims, it appears, is forced to hold up a heavy iron beam with his hands until he gets too tired and the beam falls on his throat, crushing it.

And yet another plot twist to all this, the Watchmaker has an assistant, Vincent Reynolds, a distasteful sicko with a history of abuse of women and a taste for Twinkies and necrophilia which he refers to as ‘heart to hearts’. But don’t ever assume you’ve got it figured. I assure you, you do not.

The Cold Moon will not disappoint Jeffery Deaver fans. It is full of even more surprising twists, turns and red herrings than any of its predecessors and readers once more aren’t sure just what is truth and what is misinformation.

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