26 August 2011

The Burning Wire by Jeffery Deaver

The Burning Wire by Jeffery Deaver

As Earth Day approaches, someone breaks into the power company and starts manipulating the electric grid in New York City to create "arc flashes," 5000-degree sparks that leap from electrical outlets and kill anybody nearby. It can happen at anytime, anywhere . . . . Is it eco-terrorists, or a disgruntled employee of the utility, or some psychotic individual? Lincoln Rhyme, Amelia Sachs and the crew from the prior Rhyme books have to race against time to find and stop the killer before more people die. Meanwhile, Rhyme is working with Kathryn Dance and a police official in Mexico to find and trap his nemesis, the Watchmaker, who is in Mexico City to assassinate a businessman. And Rhyme is finally confronting the question of dangerous surgery to improve his condition.

The Burning Wire is the 9th book in this series about the quadriplegic crime scene investigator, Lincoln Rhyme. Despite the difficulties that Rhyme faces, he still has his sharpest tool, his brain, at hand to solve all the crimes presented to him. Jeffery Deaver is one of my favourite authors, I find his attention to details and vivid description of the criminal investigation process fascinating, and his Lincoln Rhyme series is a must read to me.

The murder weapon of choice in this book is electricity and the killer has some creative ways of using it to cause chaos and to kill a lot of people. Deaver clearly has done much research into electricity and keeps dropping notes on how little current it takes to kill someone. At first these notes were interesting tidbits but after a while it got a little too much and I just wished that the story would get on with it already.

On the whole this is a pretty fast moving and an entertaining read. All the expected twists and turns are in this book and you wouldn't be disappointed if you're a long time fan of Deaver's writing. It's just that everything feels a little bit too familiar, with our characters finding themselves at yet another case with yet another mastermind behind the killings. Not a great deal was done to move character development forward. Rhyme and Sach are still going strong without any changes in their relationship. Fred Dellray and the rookie Ron Pulaski faced some issues in the book but both are resolved without any real lasting effect.

To spice things up a bit Deaver did add in a different case in Mexico which I didn't feel added to much to the story but rather it served as a distraction to keep you from figuring out who the killer is in this book. Throughout the story I knew that the killer isn't who it's meant to be so when the revelation came at the end I felt relieved that I was correct. However at the same time I felt cheated because besides a very minor hint, there was no other way to tell who the killer was beforehand and it seemed like Deaver just made a person as the killer because he said so.

This isn't the best story of the series but has enough substance to satisfy my appetite for now. I hope there will be more character development in the coming books now that Rhyme has agreed to carry out further treatments for his condition.