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
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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)
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