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The Bodies Left Behind: A Novel Hardcover – November 11, 2008

3.5 out of 5 stars 150 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Amazon Best of the Month, November 2008: Nothing is as it seems in The Bodies Left Behind, Jeffrey Deaver's quintessential can't-put-it-down thriller about an off-duty cop who investigates an aborted 911 call from a secluded vacation home and ends up on the run. From the opening scene (that'll keep even the bravest of you at home with the doors locked and the shades drawn), Deaver delivers a clever page-turner that reads like one of his tightly plotted and fast-paced short stories (fans should check out Twisted). Endlessly surprising (there is more than one jaw-dropping plot twist) and supremely gripping (two hours after cracking this stand-alone thriller, I came up for air and took a moment to shake the cramp out of my fingers), The Bodies Left Behind is one of the most entertaining thrillers of the year. --Daphne Durham

From Publishers Weekly

Usually a strong plotter, bestseller Deaver (The Bone Collector) fails to deliver on the promise of this stand-alone thriller's nicely creepy opening. When two masked men break into the isolated lakeside weekend house of Steven Feldman, who works for the Milwaukee Department of Social Services, and his wife, Emma, an attorney who may have stumbled on union corruption in the course of some corporate research, Steven has just enough time to phone 911 before the intruders shoot him and Emma dead. That interrupted plea for help brings Deputy Brynn McKenzie, who possesses a set of predictable emotional baggage (an abusive ex-wife, a troubled teenage son), to the scene. A protracted and less than suspenseful game of cat-and-mouse between McKenzie and the hired guns responsible for the murders ensues. A few twists will catch some readers by surprise, but the pacing and characterizations aren't up to Deaver's best. (Nov.)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (November 11, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416595619
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416595618
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (150 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,018,697 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

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
What starts out as another of Jeffrey Deaver's signature murder thrillers quickly transforms into something else entirely, and unfortunately, not very successfully. It appears that Deaver was attempting to perform a riff on the 1924 Richard Connell story "The Most Dangerous Game" or Household's classic "Rogue Male". Think David Morrell's "First Blood" (later transformed into the first "Rambo" movie, Morrell credited "Rogue Male" as his inspiration): one resourceful individual being hunted in the wild by a tenacious and implacable foe.

Problems abound. First and foremost, the setup was for a terrific murder mystery/thriller, and that fell completely by the wayside, almost incidental to what turned out to be the main point of the book: the hunt in the woods.

Unfortunately, that hunt was simply incredible beyond words, to the point that it became almost cartoonish. The heroin tries to trick the villains; the villains figure out it's a trick, and counter her trick with ANOTHER trick; but she anticipates this counter-trick, and counter-counter-tricks, and...... SHEESH!

This was like a Roadrunner cartoon. All that was missing was the "meep meep!" soundtrack.

These people are all tromping around in a wilderness forest in the depths of darkness, no artificial lighting anywhere, only some moonlight; and yet they can see details such as footprints, small lost articles, and even each other at distances of two to three hundred yards... including what types of weapons they're each carrying!

Let me tell you something. When I was in the Army, I participated in night combat operations in the jungle, and you can't see diddley-squat without some kind of night-vision equipment.
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Format: Hardcover
As an avid Jeffery Deaver fan (not just his Rhyme series), I was supremely disappointed in his latest effort. Yes, it was kind of a fast read, but there are too many "are you kidding me?" scenarios - I have to agree with Barry's review on this page. It did start out pretty well - he always has an engaging first chapter. But the majority of the story takes place in the forest of a state park and Deaver writes in the book that there are tens of thousands of acres of dense forest and yet the killers and their prey (three of whom have never even been in this particular state park) know exactly where to go and what traps to set and then one of them knows it's just a set-up (each and every time - no joke). This goes on and on and on ad nauseum. After this played out the fourth or fifth time, I was like "Come on!". Oh, and did I mention that it's the middle of the night without a full moon? Hart and Comp could tell from TWO TO THREE HUNDRED YARDS away in almost total darkness that Michelle was using a pool cue as a crutch?! Totally unbelievable! Anyone familiar with Deaver's previous books knows he has a tendency to set up a scene one way where you think you know what's happened and then a couple of pages later he neatly explains how it actually occurred. I'm okay with that, but in this particular book, it's just too over the top, too far-fetched. The dialogue is wooden and stilted and his usual keen sense of description is seriously lacking. If I didn't see Jeffery Deaver's name on the cover of this book, I don't know if I would have even believed that he wrote it because it doesn't quite sound like his "voice". Pressure from his publishing house to crank out material = subpar work? This book was not scary, suspenseful, or thrilling.Read more ›
9 Comments 85 of 96 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Kindle Edition
I picked this up because it has won the 2009 Thriller Award for Best Novel. Are you kidding me? People keep using the word clever to describe the characters in this book, but I've never encountered a stupider group of good guys and bad guys. Hit woman who hires another hit man who hires ANOTHER hit man, so each can in turn kill the one they hire to cover their tracks. A deputy being persued by aforementioned hit persons, chooses to travel miles through a densely forested state park in the middle of the night to reach a ranger station that may or may not be occupied or have a phone. How about hiding behind a tree until help arrives. The hit persons who persue the deputy through the same dense forest, because she MIGHT have heard their last names. How about splitting post haste before you mess up further? And then when hit man does get away, surprise! knowing his last name is of no help apprehending him. Law enforcement officers letting witnesses and evidence leave the scene of the crime with no more than a fare-thee-well. The reader is expected to buy the incredible sequences of plot twists and coincidences hook, line and sinker. I suspect Deaver was going for a Tarantino-esque "Pulp Fiction" story, but it never rises above dime store pulp fiction.
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Format: Hardcover
I thought that Hart was killed by Keith, Brynn's ex-husband. If you remember at the beginning, it was mentioned that the state police sometimes removed a gun from a scene to use it later. When the sheriff mentioned the link to the shooting at the Exxon, he mentioned that the state police handled the investigation and I assumed that Brynn asked her ex to handle the situation, so to speak. Just speculation.
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