As I recall, John Ryan is, or rather was, the only serialized fiction character whose exploits, both in novels and the celluloid screen, that I have followed. I’m referring to the part-time historian/part-time CIA Deputy Director made famous by the guru of techno-thrillers, Tom Clancy.
Then things changed a bit. It all started with my younger D’s fetish for buying used books from the public library, a pastime that she picked up not too long ago, apparently vying with her elder sister for literary supremacy, or acquisition to be exact. So in two outings, she has amassed several books by Jeffrey Deaver, of the Lincoln Rhyme’s pedigree.
Perhaps like me, a Denzel Washington’s fan, you would have heard, or may even have watched, the movie The Bone Collector starring DW in the role of the quadriplegic detective, Lincoln Rhyme. So therein lies the connection with Jeffrey Deaver.
I started with The Stone Monkey, which is about human trafficking involving Chinese piglets, a literal translation from its Chinese counterpart meaning people who are smuggled into a country. The story plot was fascinatingly bizarre, driving me to finish the book within a couple of days, which is a record of sort these days.
Since the cast comprises Chinese people, Deaver has sprinkled several Chinese terms throughout the book. However, his choice of Chinese words as appellations of some of the characters did unsettle me a bit. Let’s just say they are not only less than complimentary, but rather crude. But I was soon lost in the intricate plot, being thrown off several times by his misdirections when I thought I have the bad guy nailed.
Next up was The Coffin Dancer that dealt with the sinister world of hired assassins. My mistake was thinking that all assassins work alone. So there Deaver had me again, until he decided to reveal the identity by a process of elimination. I would not go further here, as I have learned the hard way from the reaction of my younger daughter when I tried to spill some beans, so to speak. Also, my elder daughter has taught me the meaning of being spoilers when I blogged about the latest JK Rowling's offering, unwittingly revealing beyond the normal bounds of "decency".
Now I’m one third way through The Vanished Man, but this time Deaver has decided to reveal the villain early. So the plot takes on a different tack, the readers getting worried for the hero and the heroine whenever the villain gets near. Yes, there is actually a serialized couple, the fairer one by the name of Amelia Sachs, an understudy criminologist. This twist is unlike the previous two where several candidates for villainy compete for my attention.
This particular foe poses tremendous challenge for Rhyme/Sachs and company, for he is an illusionist by profession. I don’t feel bad about revealing the guy here because it’s there in the first few pages of the book. My interest has also been piqued considerably by the fact that I recently watched the Illusionist starring Edward Norton and The Prestige starring Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale, which is about two illusionists trying to outperform each other. So I am familiar with an illusionist’s paraphernalia as explained in the book. The difference is I have to use a lot more imagination in reading Deaver’s convoluted plot.
OK, on to more Deaver/Rhyme/Sachs. To you know who in Oregon, it's time to switch from the Horvath guy to Rhyme.
Oh yes, I just realize that before Rhyme, there is Horvath for me too, the ex-SEAL/secret agent popularized by Brad Thor.