Book Review: The Kill Room by Jeffery Deaver

The Kill RoomThe Kill Room by Jeffery Deaver

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Fishing is a strange sport. You sit around getting drunk for hours on end and hopefully catch some food. But red herrings are highly overrated, especially when they inspire novelists.

Lincoln Rhyme and Amelia Sachs are back with another mystery to solve. This time a sniper has killed Robert Morano, an American citizen who doesn’t like America, whilst he was in a hotel room in the Bahamas. There are suspicions this was a government authorised hit, the local police are more concerned about a missing tourist, and Morano may be the first of many targets. The investigation is lacking in evidence and cooperation, frustrating Rhyme enough that he decides to go swimming.

Deaver is one of the most respected mystery crime writers for a reason. Rhyme and Sachs are an interesting investigative team and there are plenty of other interesting characters throughout the novel. Deaver keeps the mystery intrigue running for the entire novel. But the points that I felt counted against this novel were the overuse of red herrings (in one case a double fake). It is one thing for mysteries to have dead-ends and other points of narrative tension, but it felt like Deaver was trying to fool the reader just a little too often.

To some extent this is probably because of Deaver’s success and the mystery reader fanbase. Readers are going to find plots too obvious or recycled if a writer like Deaver doesn’t mess with them a bit. I felt there were other ways he could have kept the mystery going without such blatant red herrings, but others may not mind them. A solid effort but not quite as good as earlier books in this series.

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Book Review: Hell’s Kitchen by Jeffery Deaver

Hell's KitchenHell’s Kitchen by Jeffery Deaver
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There is something about a mystery novel that can be either entertaining or dreary. Ultimately you want the mystery and suspense; but not too much. If the mystery is too simple, then *yawn*. If it is too complicated then you start to think it is all too hard or that the author had finished the mystery and realised they had another 200 pages to fill.

This is my first outing with Jeffery Deaver and I can see why he is so highly regarded with his mystery writing. He treads that fine line between too much and too little with a cool hand. There was much more to this story of catching a fire-bug for hire, with the climax really pulling me in.

Part of the balance came from Jeff’s use of Hell’s Kitchen as the setting and the local residents as layers of story. For the most part the exposition felt necessary and served the larger mystery.

The version I listened to was read by Paul Birchard who did as many accents as an American can in his reading.

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