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Speaking in Tongues : A Novel Hardcover – December 5, 2000

98 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Tate Collier, the flawed hero of best-selling author Jeffery Deaver's exciting new thriller, is a divorced prosecutor whose tangled feelings about his ex-wife and their teenage daughter come to the forefront when the girl is kidnapped by a murderous psychiatrist bent on settling a personal score with Collier. It soon becomes clear that Tate really doesn't have a clue about Megan's life or her emotional reality, but the reader gets a fuller explanation from the girl's own perspective, and it's Megan, rather than her father, who turns out to be the real hero of this story.

Deaver draws the reader into the angry, rebellious Megan's desperate fight to save her own life in the creepy surroundings of a decrepit insane asylum in the Virginia mountains. (Deaver practically writes blueprints for the inevitable Hollywood set designer who will have a field day bringing the shuttered, rat-infested scene of Megan's captivity to the screen.) The motivation for Dr. Aaron Matthews's vendetta against the Colliers isn't revealed until most of the way through this crisply paced novel, but he's convincingly insane enough for it not to matter. Deaver throws a few implausible scenarios the reader's way, but they won't matter either; the chase is the thing. The narrative steams along without letting up, and the result is a nail biter that will keep the pages turning. --Jane Adams

From Publishers Weekly

Before he launched his praised and popular series about quadriplegic criminologist Lincoln Rhyme (The Empty Chair, etc.), Deaver made his reputation with tricky, stylish thrillers such as Praying for Sleep and Manhattan Is My Beat. This slick novel is a throwback to those books and Deaver's first wholly outside the Rhyme universe since A Maiden's Grave. The basic plot is simple. An insane but intensely charismatic psychiatrist, Aaron Matthews, for reasons revealed only near book's end, kidnaps his patient, alienated Megan McCall, the young adult daughter of former Virginia prosecutor Tate Collier, and imprisons her in an abandoned mental institution. Tate and his estranged wife go looking for Megan and enlist the cops in their search. Much violence ensues. Deaver's characters are workable but not deep, though there's some psychological probing along the fault lines dividing Tate, his wife and their daughter. The novel's primary appeal arises from its thrills, which are plentiful. Like James Patterson, Deaver writes dialogue-driven prose, in short, strong sentences and paragraphs that demand little from the reader while seizing attention to the max. Tate and his wife are forgettable heroes, but Deaver tells some of the story from feisty Megan's gripping POV, as she fights back against her captorAone dandy villain who delights in conning others through disguise and misdirection, allowing for plenty of plot curves. This isn't Deaver's most accomplished novel but it's high-energy entertainment. (Dec. 11)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; First Edition edition (December 5, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684871262
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684871264
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (98 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,806,724 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jeffery Deaver was born outside of Chicago in 1950. His father was an advertising copywriter and his mother was a homemaker. He has one younger sister who writes novels for teenagers ' Julie Reece Deaver.

Deaver wrote his first book ' which consisted of two entire chapters ' when he was eleven, and he's been writing ever since. An award-winning poet and journalist, he has also written and performed his own songs around the country. After receiving a Bachelor of Journalism degree from the University of Missouri, Deaver worked as a magazine writer, then, to gain the background needed to become a legal correspondent for The New York Times or Wall Street Journal, he enrolled at Fordham Law School. After graduation he decided to practice law for a time and worked for several years as an attorney for a large Wall Street firm. It was during his long commute to and from the office that he began writing the type of fiction he enjoyed reading: suspense novels. In 1990 he started to write full time.

The author of twenty-two novels, Deaver has been nominated for six Edgar Awards from the Mystery Writers of America, an Anthony award, a Gumshoe Award, and is a three-time recipient of the Ellery Queen Reader's Award for Best Short Story of the Year. In 2001, he won the W.H. Smith Thumping Good Read Award for his Lincoln Rhyme novel The Empty Chair. In 2004, he was awarded the Crime Writers Association of Great Britain's Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award for Garden Of Beasts and the Short Story Dagger for "The Weekender." Translated into 35 languages, his novels have appeared on a number of bestseller lists around the world, including the New York Times, the London Times and the Los Angeles Times. The Bone Collector was a feature release from Universal Pictures, starring Denzel Washington as Lincoln Rhyme. A Maiden's Grave was made into an HBO film retitled Dead Silence, starring James Garner and Marlee Matlin.

Jeff has also released two collections of his short stories, called Twisted and More Twisted.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

59 of 64 people found the following review helpful By michael luciano on October 20, 2000
Format: Hardcover
With his series of Licoln Rhyme novels I have quickly become a Jeffery Deaver fan. I also really enjoyed The Devil's Teardrop which did not feature the Rhyme character. Speaking In Tongues falls into this latter category. As far as I can tell it is a reissue of a novel that was actually released a few years ago and is being reisssued to capitalize on Deaver's recent surge in popularity. The premise of the book is interesting, unfortunately some of the plot points require such a suspense of reality that it detracts from the enjoyment of the book. The characters lack the dimension that Deaver usually provides and many times seem too cartoonish. Any fan of the suspense genre will not be surprised by any of the action. In other words we have seen this type of thing before and the writing is not engaging enough to make us forget it. If you are a fan of Deaver's work you will probably get some enjoyment out of this book, however I would suggest waiting for the paperback. I got to read and advance copy, but if I had paid over twenty dollars for the hard cover I know I would feel cheated.
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42 of 47 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 24, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I am a huge fan and could hardly wait for Speaking in Tongues to be released. I work in a bookstore and my jaw nearly hit the floor when I saw an early reading copy sitting on a desk in our stock room, it must have been lying there amid other books for 2 months before I noticed it. Needless to say I devoured the book and enjoyed it so much! The killer this time around is really rather unique (no spoiler, don't worry), he's a psychiatrist gone bad, who does not use guns or knives or anything, but just uses his speaking skills to gain peoples trust and confidence. Imagine if Patterson's Alex Cross or Kellerman's Alex Delaware turned to the darkside, then you might have an idea of what this guy is like.
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30 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on November 15, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Seventeen-year-old Megan McCall is required to see a psychologist after becoming very drunk and climbing the town's water tower. When she arrives at her appointment, her usual shrink is not there. Instead subbing is Dr. Bill Peters. He maneuvers Megan into writing notes to her parents that pour out how she feels about them. He next injects her with a chemical that knocks her out. Bill places the unconscious teen in the trunk of his Mercedes before driving to an abandoned insane asylum. Dr. Bill Peters is actually Dr. Aaron Matthews, a brilliant psychiatrist seeking vengeance from Megan's father for destroying his life.

Megan's parents, Brett and Tate, do not know their daughter well enough to realize that she is not at her father's home. Tate has been indifferent towards his daughter and Brett is interested in her own social life. By the time they conclude that something is wrong, they cannot persuade the police that Megan has been abducted and not a runaway. Matthews discredits anyone who intervenes otherwise. Brett and Tate turn amateur sleuths in a risky effort to rescue their daughter.

Although SPEAKING IN TONGUES lacks the deep intensity of some of Jeffrey Deaver's previous novels, the story line remains an exciting thriller. The plot emphasizes why the antagonist loathes the hero to the point that he will go to extreme lengths to see his enemy suffer. The relationship between Megan's parents seems unreal and staged, but Megan's behavior provides credibility to the cast. Though not quite a Lincoln, fans will enjoy Mr. Deaver's latest work.

Harriet Klausner
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Charlotte Vale-Allen VINE VOICE on December 25, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As demonstrated in The Bone Collector and The Coffin Dancer, when he wants to Deaver can really pull out all the stops, delivering fast-paced, well-researched books. But Speaking In Tongues, while as fast-faced as ever, just doesn't have the cunning twists of plot or the techno-savvy that made the Lincoln Rhyme books so intriguing.
This tale of a nutbar shrink wreaking havoc on Tate Collier's life by the kidnapping of Tate's daughter Megan is merely interesting. We root for Megan to escape the reeking, abandoned mental institution where she's been stashed while Aaron Matthews goes about the business of covering his tracks. But I had a lot of trouble believing that so many otherwise intelligent people would buy into the snake oil Matthews sells in various guises/disguises all over Virginia. By the halfway point, I was fervently hoping one of these people would say, "Are you kidding?" and throw soup in this guy's face.
My minor quibble with this book is that the dialogue of everyone under twenty endlessly incorporates the word "like." It's, like, the way it is. So, having dashed through what is essentially a non-stop chase novel, I was, like, let down. Okay? I mean, like, almost bummed, even. You know? Like, really.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Mark Eremite VINE VOICE on December 21, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Deaver's skill at weaving a crafty and intriguing suspense story is sound. He has the bare bones of the work down to a science, and when it comes to most of his tales, the bones themselves are strong, hearty, and glistening white.

In this case, however, those bones have virtually no muscle.

This tale is about Tate Collier, his ex, Bett, and their kidnapped child, Megan. The villian for this tale, a slick-tongued psychiatrist named Aaron Matthews, is a man of such skill that he can talk virtually anyone into anything, a talent that rivals that of our protagonist, Tate, a lawyer who once wielded the same verbal weapons in the courtroom.

As I said, the story itself has some intriguing twists and turns, as all suspense tales should, and it offers up satisfying obstacles and the usual mysteries, but they fall flat for a number of reasons.

1. When the crux of your tale lies on creating characters of uncanny persuasive abilities, the heart of your novel must lie within the dialogue those characters utilize. In this case, neither Matthews or Collier ever speak convincingly enough, in my opinion, to warrant their being labelled as men who "speak in tongues." And although a lot of interpretation must be allowed for the written medium, it still doesn't seem like Matthews' talent for conniving others is as plausible as the novel would like it to be.

2. The book falls prey to a pretty major pitfall for literature of this type, and that is over-elaborate explanations for key motives and behavoirs. We even get treated to a cliched moment of having the bad guy reveal his whole plot to the good guys before actually going through with the plot.

3. Implausibility.
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