Sunday, April 10, 2016

The Empty Chair by Jeffrey Deaver

Lincoln Rhyme, renowned forensic criminalist and a quadriplegic, has come from New York City where he knows the environment to North Carolina, a massive culture and environmental shift.  He has come to a notable medical center where promising surgery has been done on others in his condition with some improvements in their quality of life.  Of course, with his condition, he never travels alone.  He is accompanied by his partner and lover, Amelia Sachs and his constant medical assistant, Thomas.

While he is waiting through the pre-surgical tests and scheduling, the local sheriff turns up.  He has heard that the famous Lincoln Rhyme is in town and he needs help.  Two women have been kidnapped and a man has been killed.  The whole town is sure they know who the culprit is.  Garrett Hanlon is a sixteen year old boy, known as Insect Boy, for his fascination with insects.  He is an orphan, his family having been killed in a car accident.  His time in foster care has not been pleasant and he is suspected of many crimes in the area.  Now he has disappeared with both a young college student who was on a historical dig and a nurse who was also in the area.  Local law enforcement feels they need more expertise to solve a crime this complicated and they prevail on Lincoln.  Restless as he waits for treatment, he agrees to give the local police force his assistance.

Rhyme is at a disadvantage.  He has left behind his lab, where he has every forensic instrument he could ever need.  His expertise in in items found in a city, not a rural North Carolina town with bogs and swamps and flora and fauna he has never encountered.  Amelia heads up a search team and as she and the deputies go in pursuit, things get more complicated than either Rhyme or Sachs could ever have imagined.

This is the third novel in the Lincoln Rhyme series.  Rhyme is one of the most fascinating detectives currently being written about and the reader is easily drawn back into the world of forensic science and its role in solving impossible cases.  There are plenty of the twists and turns Deaver fans have come to expect and a surprising ending.  This book is recommended for mystery readers.

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