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TonyTalbot

TonyTalbot

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4/5: The Broken Window

The Broken Window - Jeffery Deaver

A serial killer apparently knows everything about the victims he chooses, enough to plant evidence at other people's homes and set them up to take the blame...how does he do it?

This is part eight of a series, but the first one I picked up. There was enough backstory to keep me in the loop, but some of the secondary characters helping out Rhyme blended into one.

Lincoln Rhyme, the detective investigating the case, is a quadriplegic - confined to a wheelchair and paralysed from the neck down. He comes across as a super-charged Sherlock Holmes of the 21st century (Actually, more like Mycroft Holmes, since Mycroft didn't like moving much). Rhyme uses a small group as his proxies to the world, while he remains behind to contemplate the forensic evidence and make leaps of deduction that move the case forward.

The killer's reveal came from left-field, and it certainly wasn't anyone I was expecting. That was good, the mis-direction skilfully managed. The tension really ratchets up in the third act, when the killer starts taking his virtual revenge on those hunting him.

There are morals here on data mining and privacy rights and the manipulation of data - and how much we come to trust what comes out of a computer as the truth, without questioning it. There's a phrase in computing: GIGO - garbage in, garbage out that's worth remembering.

Some of Deaver's writing grates at points in his use of clumsy adverbs - try saying conspiratorially out loud, you'll see what I mean - and some of his dialogue was bland, which made the characters run together. He seems determined to make his computer geek start every sentence with "Heh", as though he didn't know any other characteristic for him.

A very efficient forensic-based thriller though, well worth reading.