Bestselling master of suspense Jeffery Deaver is back with a brand-new Lincoln Rhyme thriller. To save the life of a young girl who's being stalked by a ruthless hit man, Lincoln and his protégé, Amelia Sachs, are called upon to do the impossible: solve a truly "cold case" -- one that's 140 years old.
The Twelfth Card is a two-day cat-and-mouse chase through the streets of uptown Manhattan as quadriplegic detective Lincoln Rhyme and Amelia Sachs try to outguess Thompson Boyd -- by all appearances a nondescript, innocuous man, but one whose past has turned him into a killing machine as unfeeling and cunning as a wolf. Boyd is after Geneva Settle, a high school girl from Harlem, and it's up to Lincoln and Amelia to figure out why.
The motive may have to do with a term paper that Geneva is writing about her ancestor, Charles Singleton, a former slave. A teacher and farmer in New York State, Charles was active in the early civil rights movement but was arrested for theft and disgraced. Assisted by their team, Fred Dellray, Mel Cooper and Lon Sellitto (suffering badly from a case of nerves due to a near miss by the killer), Lincoln and Amelia work frantically to figure out where the hired gun will strike next and stop him, all the while trying to determine what actually happened on that hot July night in 1868 when Charles was arrested. What went on at the mysterious meetings he attended in Gallows Heights, a neighborhood on the Upper West Side of Manhattan that was a tense mix of wealthy financiers, political crooks like Boss Tweed and working-class laborers and thugs? And, most important for Geneva Settle's fate, what was the "secret" that tormented Charles's every waking hour?
Deaver's inimitable plotting keeps all these stories -- the past and the present -- racing at a lightning-fast clip as we learn stunning revelations that strike at the very heart of the U.S. Constitution and that could have disastrous consequences for today's human and civil rights in America. With breathtaking twists and multiple surprises that will keep readers on tenterhooks until the last page, this is Deaver's most compelling Lincoln Rhyme book to date.
From Publishers Weekly
Lincoln Rhyme, Deaver's popular paraplegic detective, returns (after The Vanished Man) in a robust thriller that demonstrates Deaver's unflagging ability to entertain. But even great entertainers have high and lows, and this novel, while steadily absorbing, doesn't match the author's best. Geneva Settle, who's 16 and black, is attacked in a Manhattan library while researching an ancestor, a former slave who harbored a serious secret (not revealed until book's end). Amelia Sachs, Rhyme's lover/assistant, and then Rhyme are pulled into the case, which quickly turns bloody. After Geneva are a lethally cool white hit man and a black ex-con—but even when they're identified, their motive remains unclear: why does someone want this feisty, hardworking Harlem schoolgirl dead? To find out, Rhyme primarily relies, as usual, on his and Sachs's strength, forensic analysis; the book's tour de force opening sequence consists mostly of a lengthy depiction of their painstaking dissection of evidence left during the initial attack on Geneva, and every few chapters there's an extensive recap of all evidence collected in the case. Deaver offers more plot twists than seem possible, each fully justified, but this and the emphasis on forensics give the novel more brain than heart. Geneva, a wonderful character, adds feeling to the story, and there are minor personal crises faced by other characters, but as the novel's focus veers from police procedure to odd byways of American history, execution techniques and one more plot twist, the narrative loses grace and form. Even so, this is one of the more lively thrillers of the year and will be a significant bestseller.
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A new Lincoln Rhyme novel is cause for excitement among fans of twisty-turny thrillers. This time out, Rhyme, the quadriplegic forensic investigator, is trying to find out why a man was stalking a high-school student. Turns out it might have something to do with the death of one of the student's ancestors nearly 140 years ago. Deaver, who must have been born with a special plot-twist gene, somehow manages, in every book, to pull two or three big surprises out of his hat. He also has a knack for drawing us immediately into the story. For some readers, it's his detailed description of investigative techniques; for others, it's Rhyme himself, the crusty, bad-tempered (but secretly lovable) detective who, with the help of his protege (and lover), the beautiful Amelia Sachs, solves crimes that most other investigators couldn't begin to crack. The Rhyme novels are among the cleverest of contemporary detective fiction. It is disappointing, however, to report that this one has a rather noticeable flaw. He attempts to render the dialogue of an African American character, in a kind of written Ebonics ("'S'up, girl?") that is very distracting to read and pulls us right out of the story. One of Deaver's strong points has always been his ability to write flowing dialogue; the awkward effort here to translate oral idiom into written language is an unfortunate slipup. Aside from that, though, it's a typically well-written, suspenseful story. David Pitt
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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