Saturday, August 09, 2008

The Broken Window

The Broken Window is the latest novel in Jeffery Deaver's long-running Lincoln Rhyme series. Its protagonists and its villain are interesting and well-matched and its theme makes it a topical, interesting read but it lacks the twists and thrills that mark Deaver's best novels.

Lincoln Rhyme is in the middle of helping the London Police apprehend an assassin when he learns that his cousin Arthur Rhyme has been arrested for murdering a woman. After digging into the case a little, Rhyme deduces that Arthur has been set up rather cleverly and he soon hits upon similar cases that he thinks could be the work of the same man. The case leads him to SSD, a datawarehousing company that stores and analyzes data on people.

Identity theft is a growing concern today but the crimes have been mostly financial in nature as the criminals use an unsuspecting victim's identity to make purchases. The book creates a much scarier scenario as the villain uses information about people to commit crimes and incriminate innocent victims. His MO - learning about the victims to get close to them and learning about the people who are going to take the fall to set them up - seems plausible in this digital era and the repercussions are real scary. This combination makes the actual crimes an engrossing read.

But Rhyme's chase of the bad guy is unfortunately not that engrossing. His lack of mobility and his meticulous, detailed style of investigation are interesting as always and Amelia Sachs, who serves as his eyes and ears at crime scenes, makes a good partner. But it feels like there are a few too many lucky breaks(their first and biggest break comes from a post-it note stuck to some evidence that the villain throws away) . The obstacles that the villain places in the paths of the people behind him add something new but they get repetitive and predictable after a while.

Deaver is the master of the surprise twist and novels like The Cold Moon and The Coffin Dancer had twists that blew me away. Considering that, The Broken Window fails to surprise us. The bad guy's identity is not that big a surprise and many minor twists along the way are easy to guess for regular readers of Deaver since his writing style doesn't change much.


At 8:58 AM, Blogger Ramki said...

Not sure how you manage so much time to read these pillows !


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