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The Steel Kiss (A Lincoln Rhyme Novel) Mass Market Paperback – November 29, 2016
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"Deaver is a genius when it comes to manipulation and deception. Stellar plot twists are in full abundance in THE STEEL KISS, and the story line veers in several unpredictable directions."―Associated Press
"Deaver doesn't disappoint. With an unmatched ability to create the perfect characters...Deaver takes fans to the edge in this one and dangles them over the cliff...One of the best books of 2016."―Suspense Magazine
"Darkly witty...unsettling."―New York Times Book Review
"Fiendishly inventive...all the usual thrills, which are worth every breathless minute."―Kirkus Reviews
"The plot twists are clever and unexpected, the dialogue is colloquial and natural, and the characters...are vividly realized. Highly recommendable."―Booklist
"Clever...entertaining...Convincing characters and an unexpected closing twist will remind readers why Deaver is one of today's top thriller writers."―Publishers Weekly
"Deaver delivers another heart-stopping thriller in his Lincoln Rhyme series...The action, suspense and horrific crimes continue unabated."―RT Book Reviews
"Deaver at his best and when you are Jeffery Deaver this means the best of the best."―Huffington Post
"Fans will marvel at the creative manner in which Deaver incorporates current technological and societal trends into the plots of his thrillers."―Library Journal
"[THE STEEL KISS is] like a master class in how to perfectly balance plot and character....A terrific novel."―Connecticut News
"If you're looking for a pedal-to-the-floor thriller with reversals and twists, this is the novel for you."―The Big Thrill
"Loaded from first page to (almost) last with suspense of one sort of another....THE STEEL KISS is a terrific novel."―BookReporter
About the Author
Jeffery Deaver is the #1 international bestselling author of over thirty novels and three collections of short stories. His books are sold in 150 countries and translated into 25 languages. His first novel featuring Lincoln Rhyme, The Bone Collector, was made into a major motion picture starring Denzel Washington and Angelina Jolie. He's received or been shortlisted for a number of awards around the world.
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Without the assistance of Lincoln Rhyme, who is teaching forensic science in lieu of employment with NYPD, Amelia Sachs is trying to catch a suspect who killed someone with a ball peen hammer. The villain is, of course, a serial killer. He resorts to hammers only of necessity. His weapon of choice is a controller that operates “smart” products -- ovens, microwaves, and any other product that can be told what to do via an internet connection. His targets appear to be conspicuous consumers, although the reader (like Rhyme) is challenged to identify the rationale that underlies his choice of victims. His manner of killing is inventive, as is his personality, which makes him one of the more imaginative villains Deaver has concocted.
As usual, Sachs plays a central role in the novel, and the return of her ex-con ex-boyfriend, who may or may not be innocent, adds some zest to the story. A young woman in a wheelchair is turning her attention to forensic evidence, giving Rhyme a new friend, but is she in competition with Sachs? Other familiar characters round out the cast, including Lon Sellitto and Mel Cooper.
I appreciate Rhyme’s stand-offish personality, which seems natural for a character with his intellectual gifts. It’s certainly a refreshing change from the self-aggrandizing chatter of other fictional forensic experts, who can’t stop trying to gain the reader’s approval with constant reminders that they care so much more about crime victims than anyone else in the world possibly could. Rhyme cares about evidence and where the evidence leads him, which is exactly how a forensic scientist should be, even if it makes him seem callous. Sympathy impairs objectivity, which is why so many fictional forensic examiners strike the wrong note.
Like most thrillers, some parts of the novel are hard to believe. When Sachs rushes into a burning building to save evidence -- not knowing what the evidence might be or how she will recognize it -- I had my doubts about the story’s credibility. But it’s a good scene, which made it easy to suspend my disbelief.
Some plot twists and surprises await the reader near the end of the novel. One of the surprises is a bit of a cheat -- Rhyme knows facts that Deaver conceals from the reader -- but I’m giving Deaver a pass for that. Other parts of the novel also use misdirection, but the facts concealed from the reader are unknown to the investigators, so that didn’t strike me as cheating. A final surprise at the end isn’t very convincing at all, but I suppose it was necessary to set up the next novel.
The subplot involving Sachs’ ex-boyfriend is a bit forced. A subplot that relates to Rhyme’s decision to resign from NYPD is more interesting. On the whole, The Steel Kiss is a solid entry in the Lincoln Rhyme series and a welcome return to form for Deaver.
It was also curious as some difficult plot twists were "solved" without telling the reader. Too convenient. A good editor could helped the author with this problem.
A problematic book, but worth a read for its innovation.
And so, when I first started to read The Steel Kiss, I got annoyed with what I felt like were Deaver’s usual tropes – the obvious misleads and feints, the half truths – and quit. But I’m glad I went back to The Steel Kiss, because what I got as I read was an engaging, really fun read, and a firmer grip on what Deaver has become over the years: basically, he’s become CSI or NCIS, the very shows I always felt like his books inspired, complete with the rhythms and patterns that come along with such entertainment.
Now, with that being said, there’s no denying the fun that can come out of a Deaver book. The Steel Kiss is simple but effective, following Rhyme as he helps out with a civil case inspired by the horrific death of a man in a malfunctioning escalator. Meanwhile, Sachs is trying to track down an anti-consumerist killer who’s killing people using the devices that make their lives easier. Will these two cases come together? Of course they will. And does it all somehow connect a bit to Pulaski’s extracurricular activities with local drug dealers? More or less.
And yet, even while I recognized all the formulas at play, and many of Deaver’s usual tools and tricks, I enjoyed The Steel Kiss pretty well. Deaver’s made an effort to mix things up a little here and there in the series, and while this doesn’t result in the really fantastic read of The Kill Room, it’s still a lot of fun, delivering some good thrills, at least one genuinely big surprise (even if I rolled my eyes at the explanation afterward), and an engaging antagonist who kept me involved.
I don’t think Deaver is the favorite author for me that he was once, but I think I’ve realized along the way that it’s not that he’s gotten worse, either. It’s just that Deaver has a formula that works, by and large, and he’s pretty happy working in that formula. And while I prefer my books a little more adventurous, a little more original, there’s no denying the pleasure that comes from watching Deaver construct his puzzles and unravel the clues, nor the fun of watching him tie all of his various plot threads together in more elegant ways than you assumed – or the fun of being fooled by him, even when you think you have him figured out. Are these day one purchases for me anymore? No, not really…but will I buy them as the equivalent of beach reads? More than likely.