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The Empty Chair Hardcover – May 9, 2000

439 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

It's not easy being NYPD detective Lincoln Rhyme, the world's foremost criminalist. First of all, he's a quadriplegic. Secondly, he's forever being second-guessed and mother-henned by his ex-model-turned-cop protégé, Amelia Sachs, and his personal aide, Thom. And thirdly, it seems that he can't motor his wheelchair around a corner without bumping into one crazed psycho-killer after another.

In The Empty Chair, Jeffery Deaver's third Rhyme outing--after 1997's The Bone Collector and 1998's The Coffin Dancer--Rhyme travels to North Carolina to undergo an experimental surgical procedure and is, a jot too coincidentally, met at the door by a local sheriff, the cousin of an NYPD colleague, bearing one murder, two kidnappings, and a timely plea for help. It seems that 16-year-old Garrett Hanlon, a bug-obsessed orphan known locally as the Insect Boy, has kidnapped and probably raped two women, and bludgeoned to death a would-be hero who tried to stop one of the abductions.

Rhyme sets up shop, Amelia leads the local constabulary (easily recognized by their out-of-joint noses) into the field, and, after some Holmesian brain work and a good deal of exciting cat-and-mousing, the duo leads the cops to their prey. And just as you're idly wondering why the case is coming to an end in the middle of the book, Amelia breaks the boy out of jail and goes on the lam. Equally convinced of the boy's guilt and the danger he poses to Amelia, Rhyme has no choice but to aid the police in apprehending the woman he loves--no easy task, as she's the one human being who truly knows the methods of Lincoln Rhyme.

Rhyme's specialty combines the minute scientific analysis of physical evidence gathered from crime scenes and his arcane knowledge of, it would seem, every organic and inorganic substance on earth. Deaver combines engaging narration, believable characters, and his trademark ability to repeatedly pull the rug out from under the reader's feet. Lincoln Rhyme's back all right, and the smart money's betting that his run has just begun. --Michael Hudson

From Publishers Weekly

Lincoln Rhyme, the gruff quadriplegic detective and forensic expert of Bone Collector fame, strays far from his Manhattan base to a spooky North Carolina backwater in this engrossing and outlandish tale about the hunt for evil. The hick town is called Tanner's Corner, where Rhyme--in North Carolina for experimental surgery--has been called by the local sheriff to oversee the search for a kidnapper and his victims. The kidnapper is 16-year-old Garrett Hanlon, a local youth of ill repute whose obsession with bugs has earned him the nickname "The Insect Boy." His captives are Mary Beth McConnell, who Hanlon has stalked for months, and local nurse Lydia Johansson, who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. A marathon chase ensues across North Carolina's perilous swampland by sheriff deputies and Rhyme's assistant and lover, Amelia Sachs. Rhyme, a former New York City cop whose on-the-job injury several years earlier left him with movement in only one finger, directs the search from his wheelchair at sheriff headquarters. As he examines forensic evidence from the crime scenes and points along the search route, Rhyme grows increasingly suspicious about which players are the good guys and which are masking their evil intentions. The story grows heavy in the middle, but eventually takes several of Deaver's trademark twists, cleverly camouflaged for maximum effect. The characters surrounding Rhyme in his third adventure are colorful, back-country cutouts who serve their purpose well. In the end, it's all a bit hard to swallow--particularly the ultimate revelations about Tanner's Corner and its strange inhabitants--but for thrills and surprises, Deaver is still aces. Agent, Deborah Schneider. Major ad/promo; Literary Guild and Mystery Guild main selections; Doubleday Book Club super release; Reader's Digest Condensed Books selection. (May)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Series: Lincoln Rhyme Novels
  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; First Edition edition (May 9, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684855631
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684855639
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.4 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (439 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #166,903 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

71 of 72 people found the following review helpful By mellion108 VINE VOICE on May 29, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Deaver has managed to do something remarkable in modern literature: create a unique "crime-solving" team with interesting, complex characters and detailed forensic information. Whenever you read a Deaver novel be prepared for intense scene and character descriptions; Deaver definitely does his research and it shows throughout all his novels.

In EMPTY CHAIR, Lincoln Rhyme and Amelia Sachs are back, and they get pulled into a North Carolina murder/kidnapping investigation. Out of their element in this strange land, Rhyme and Sachs nevertheless persevere to help local authorities track the Insect Boy who is thought responsible for some creative and vicious murders as well as the recent kidnappings of two young women. Will they track down the Insect Boy in time to save his victims? What is great about this novel is that the plot is multi-layered; don't settle in thinking this mystery is going to be neatly wrapped up in 100 pages! There are several twists and turns, and you'll be as surprised as Rhyme when Sachs suddenly seems to turn to the wrong side of the law. This novel is pure Deaver. The forensics are fascinating, and the characters are well-developed. The "empty chair" symbol takes on various meanings throughout the novel. We've waited a while to see Rhyme and Sachs back in action, and this one is worth the wait.
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48 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Vivek Radhakrishna on June 7, 2000
Format: Hardcover
If you are picking up a Lincoln Rhyme novel for the first time; rest assured you are in very good hands. Jeffrey deaver has developed his character extrememly well over the three books and though some people crib about the ploy of using a quadraplegic detective; trust me, it works and how ! . In the Empty Chair; Rhyme is not only a fish out of water(out of his familar NY surroundings) but he also has to grapple with trying to convince Amelia sachs that he has to undergo a complicated operation which could leave him worse off but which could also give him some additional mobility if things go well but before that he has the local Police department asking for his help in locating 2 kidnapped girls and from here on, you are in classic Deaver territory; he piles on the chills and the thrills without ever sacrificing the characters in favour of the plot, the ending is a virtuouso tour de force and it was virtually impossible to second guess the outcome of the book. Garnett's obsession with Insects was a great touch and though like one reviewer mentioned ; it is a little reminescent of Silence of the Lambs; Deaver has managed to make that detail fit perfectly into place in the context of the book. I am not going to divulge the further twists and turns but believe me; if you start reading this book in the evening; you can be sure that you are going to have a late night trying to finish it. I would have given this book a perfect rating except for the fact that towards the end; great though it undeniably was, I could not help overcome the feeling that it was written to be made into a movie, it read too much like a screenplay. Don't let that stop you though, read it, it is one terrific ride and you are going to have a good time, Guranteed !
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38 of 39 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 9, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Lincoln goes to North Carolina for experimental surgery to hopefully give him more mobility. In a way he is a fish out of water in this new area not his familiar NYC but he soon learns his way around. As he did in The Bone Collector, Deaver picks a character's quirk, and in this one it is Bugs Boy fasination with insects, and makes it a intregal part of the story. As his usual, Deaver grabs your interest in the first chapter and doesn't leave you go till the end. Has Deaver's usual plot twists and turns. Enjoyed the developement of Lincoln's and Amelia's relationship even though most of the story they were apart. The action at the beginning isn't fast but the next 2/3 of the book makes up for it. Read it in 24hrs. and will reread as soon as all my friends get a chance to read it.
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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on June 2, 2000
Format: Hardcover
It was just a week ago when I read my first Deaver novel, The Coffin Dancer, and now six days later I have finished The Empty Chair and have three more on my night table, and I can't wait to get home to get started on the next one.
I have always been proud of the fact that I can predict what will happen in almost every book or movie, until I found Jeffery Deaver. Its unbelievable even with just 10 or 15 pages left he finds a way to turn the plot around and I just gaze mesmerized at the pages. The Empty Chair has more plot twists than a slinky.
This book is a great combination of thrills and chills but at the same time you get to see a personal side to Lincoln Rhyme and Sachs that keeps you feeling the anxiety of Sachs and the helplessness of Rhyme all throughout the well played out scenario. Its great to see Rhyme pitted against the only human being able to match his wits, his partner Sachs.
All I can say is please Jeffery hurry up with the next one, I don't know what I'll do when I finish the three that are waiting for me at home. I'm hooked.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Schtinky VINE VOICE on May 17, 2000
Format: Hardcover
What a page turner! As the book starts out you get a funny feeling about some of the characters. Well, you are right, but keep reading. The characters unfold and the plot twists and then twists again, and you are left wondering just what is the truth and who can you believe. I love stories that keep up the action while throwing curves at you to keep you guessing until the very end. This is the third book in the Lincoln Rhyme series, and in my opinion, is the best to date.
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