With Cold Moon, Jeffery Deaver proves once again that he is truly a "master of twists". His last few books, whether part of the Lincoln Rhyme series(The Twelfth Card) or otherwise (Garden of Beasts), were a little weak on his trademark twists. But he makes up for them in Cold Moon, which, after the halfway point, bombards us with one big twist after another. As someone who relishes surprising twists, I thoroughly enjoyed the book.
In Cold Moon, Lincoln Rhyme, the quadriplegic NYPD detective, is pitted against the Watchmaker, a serial killer who has already killed two victims. Rhyme's investigation becomes more urgent when he learns that the Watchmaker plans to kill atleast 8 more people, all in ways where they die slowly and painfully. Meanwhile his assitant Amelia Sach's attention is divided when she becomes lead detective on a case involving corrupt cops.
The novel starts off in regular fashion with a cold-blooded serial killer being chased by Rhyme. With a killer like the Watchmaker and a cop like Rhyme, things never get boring but there's nothing special either. Deaver leads his investigation in his usual, painstaking way, confined to his bed while we get a glimpse of the cold-heartedness and meticulousness of the Watchmaker. Deaver has always been able to create likeable characters and he continues that here. Ron Pulaski gets an expanded role and his sincerity is easy to like while Katheryn Dance, who studies the body language of witnesses and suspects, is an interesting addition.
But after the midway point, Deaver completely turns the tables on us with a series of twists. And these are not your regular, James Patterson-kinda twists simply about the identity of the killer either. Deaver dazzles us with narrative turns that catch us completely by surprise. As he reveals each new layer of the complicated story, it gives a new dimension to everything we read about before. The twists keep coming right until the end and the different threads of the story are tied together very satisfyingly.
The turns the story takes definitely require suspension of disbelief. In hindsight, they make the the plans the people involved hatch so complicated that we feel that its impossible for anyone to plan, let alone execute, such things. But there are no obvious loose ends and the element of surprise keeps us turning the pages.