Category: "Lincoln Rhyme"

The Twelfth Card - Jeffery Deaver

September 8th, 2006

The Twelfth Card by Jeffery DeaverUnlocking a cold case with explosive implications for the future of civil rights, forensics expert Lincoln Rhyme and his protegee, Amelia Sachs, must outguess a killer who has targeted a high school girl from Harlem who is digging into the past of one of her ancestors, a former slave. What buried secrets from 140 years ago could have an assassin out for innocent blood? And what chilling message is hidden in his calling card, the hanged man of the tarot deck? Rhyme must anticipate the next strike or become history -- in the bestseller that proves "there is no thriller writer today like Jeffery Deaver" (San Jose Mercury News).

It seems like every Mystery/Suspense author has a serial character, one who appears in nearly all of their books. James Patterson has Alex Cross, Janet Evanovich has Stephanie Plum, Michael Connelly has Harry Bosch...and Jeffery Deaver has Lincoln Rhyme. I dabble in the works of some other Mystery/Suspense writers, but my favorites are the Lincoln Rhyme books. Most Mystery/Suspense novels follow essentially the same outline and only differ in the people and the places. Deaver breaks the mold when writing Lincoln Rhyme, and for that I am grateful.

It had been a long time since I read a book in this series, so it was refreshing to get back to it. It was almost like coming home after a long trip. It's just nice to be back.

The detail into which Deaver goes is noteworthy. The level of his research is evident in his books and he just seems to spend more time learning about the subject matter than another author would. (Sidenote: The one exception to that rule came out in The Twelfth Card where his plot dealt with some young men and women from Harlem. He did not have the best handle on his Ebonics, but I'm sure many of his readers would never know the difference.)

I like the creativity in which Deaver wraps his stories. Instead of starting a new book and just having a different killer, he focuses on a bigger picture and devises elaborate plot lines and intricate motives for his killers. I am sure it is at least somewhat self-serving because without that, he would have no reason to do all of the research for which he is respected.

The Twelfth Card featured a plot that was very involved, including the attempt to get to the bottom of a crime that was 140 years old. For his creative plots, this one was a little far-fetched. I thought he had to scramble a little to make things tie out in the end, but after taking a step back, I did not mind. (Those of you with a mind to pshchoanalyze me will get a kick out of this.) The heart of these books is in the chase. That is what is so great about them. The ending did not take too long, so it was relatively unobtrusive to my overall enjoyment of the book.

If I were asked to recommend to you a Jeffery Deaver, even specifically a Lincoln Rhyme book, I would not pick The Twelfth Card. Of the now 7 Lincoln Rhyme books, this may actually be the worst of the series, but the other books are just that good. I liked it a lot and am glad I read it. My suggestion is to read the entire series; start anywhere you like. You do not need to read them in any order, though I recommend you do.

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