In broad daylight, a man is snatched from the New York streets, with the only witness being a nine-year-old girl. All that is left behind is some cello string, formed into the shape of a noose. This is followed by a video uploaded to the internet, threatening that the victim will be hanged. The video is signed “The Composer”. Forensic investigators Lincoln Rhyme and Amelia Sachs are immediately called in but soon the Composer is out of their reach.
Pursuing the kidnapper to Italy, Rhyme and Sachs need to join forces with an antagonistic local police force as another man – a refugee from Libya – is taken from the street. But as Rhyme’s attention becomes divided by a different crime, and the Composer strikes again seemingly at random, is there something darker going on behind the scenes? When events take a startling turn, Rhyme and Sachs find themselves in a desperate race against time to prevent a disaster.
I’ve enjoyed Jeffrey Deaver for a long time. I picked up The Bone Collector once upon a time in an airport – I know that because it’s the US edition – and with that, and in particular, the second Lincoln Rhyme book, The Coffin Dancer, I was hooked. He’s written over thirty five novels, all of them twisty-turny thrillers, as well as a large collection of top notch short stories. So it’s a real privilege to be asked to kick off the UK leg of the Blog Tour for The Burial Hour.
There are so many things that are impressive about the Lincoln Rhyme books. First off, the compelling central characters, Rhyme and Sachs. After Deaver played a very nasty trick in the last book, The Steel Kiss, things are changing for our heroes, and while we get a few of the usual “fish out of water” tropes as we head to Italy, the author never forgets that these are two ultra-competent investigators. While it’s a bit of a disappointment that a number of the usual support characters (apart from Rhyme’s carer, Thom) are mostly missing, the Italian police, especially Ercole Benelli, the Forestry Police Officer thrust into the hunt for the Composer, are excellent substitutes. The end of Benelli’s tale is particularly effective.
One of the other charms of the series is the range of antagonists never seems to repeat itself. Each new antagonist introduces a new spin on the serial killer thriller, both in motivation and in investigation styles. Needless to say, it would spoil things to explain how things are different this time, as the plot takes a few ninety degree turns in the final third, but here Rhyme finds himself up against something he hasn’t encountered before, and at the end of the day, there is a hint at something of a new direction for the series which certainly has me waiting for the next book – although, to be honest, I’m always waiting for the next one.
Anyway, needless to say, this is another winner from Deaver – fans of the series are going to need to check it out. Highly Recommended.
Many thanks to Hodder & Stoughton for the review copy and asking me to start the blog tour – do check out in the coming days what my fellow bloggers thought of it. The Burial Hour was released in the UK on 2nd May.