Lincoln Rhyme, the quadriplegic detective made famous in The Bone Collector is back in a new thriller from the masterful Jeffery Deaver. When a sadistic killer leaves clocks at his murder scenes, will time run out for the criminologist and his partner Amelia Sachs?
On a freezing December night, with a full moon hovering in the black sky over New York City, two people are brutally murdered—the death scenes marked by eerie, matching calling cards: moon-faced clocks investigators fear ticked away the victims’ last moments on earth. Renowned criminologist Lincoln Rhyme immediately identifies the clock distributor and has the chilling realization that the killer—who has dubbed himself the Watchmaker—has more murders planned in the hours to come.
Rhyme, a quadriplegic long confined to his wheelchair, immediately taps his trusted partner and longtime love, Amelia Sachs, to walk the grid and be his eyes and ears on the street. But Sachs has other commitments now—namely, her first assignment as lead detective on a homicide of her own. As she struggles to balance her pursuit of the infuriatingly elusive Watchmaker with her own case, Sachs unearths shocking revelations about the police force that threaten to undermine her career, her sense of self and her relationship with Rhyme. As the Rhyme-Sachs team shows evidence of fissures, the Watchmaker is methodically stalking his victims and planning a diabolical criminal masterwork...Indeed, the Watchmaker may be the most cunning and mesmerizing villain Rhyme and Sachs have ever encountered.
Bestseller Deaver's twisty seventh Lincoln Rhyme novel (after 2005's The Twelfth Card) pits Rhyme, the quadriplegic NYPD detective, against a brilliant criminal mastermind called the Watchmaker. Assisted by his longtime partner, Det. Amelia Sachs, an expert at forensic analysis, Rhyme probes two bizarre murders linked by the killer's calling card-a clock left at the scene. The Watchmaker, as an ominous poem also left at the scene suggests, is bent on executing eight more people in a variety of ways intended to prolong their suffering. Deaver cleverly alternates between the Rhyme/Sachs team and the Watchmaker and his assistant, heightening tension by introducing the next targets and humanizing them. Sachs loses some focus when she also has to probe a suicide that she suspects is connected with some corrupt brother officers. Deaver fans won't be surprised that the investigations overlap, or that the several apparent climaxes are building to something more, but even they will be hard-pressed to peel back all the layers of the cunning plot at work beneath the surface. (June) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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Simon & Schuster
May 30, 2006
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Excerpt from The Cold Moon by Jeffery Deaver
"How long did it take them to die?"
The man this question was posed to didn't seem to hear it. He looked in the rearview mirror again and concentrated on his driving. The hour was just past midnight and the streets in lower Manhattan were icy. A cold front had swept the sky clear and turned an earlier snow to slick glaze on the asphalt and concrete. The two men were in the rattling Band-Aid-mobile, as Clever Vincent had dubbed the tan SUV. It was a few years old; the brakes needed servicing and the tires replacing. But taking a stolen vehicle in for work would not be a wise idea, especially since two of its recent passengers were now murder victims.
The driver -- a lean man in his fifties, with trim black hair -- made a careful turn down a side street and continued his journey, never speeding, making precise turns, perfectly centered in his lane. He'd drive the same whether the streets were slippery or dry, whether the vehicle had just been involved in murder or not.
How long did it take?
Big Vincent -- Vincent with long, sausage fingers, always damp, and a taut brown belt stretching the first hole -- shivered hard. He'd been waiting on the street corner after his night shift as a word-processing temp. It was bitterly cold but Vincent didn't like the lobby of his building. The light was greenish and the walls were covered with big mirrors in which he could see his oval body from all angles. So he'd stepped into the clear, cold December air and paced and ate a candy bar. Okay, two.
As Vincent was glancing up at the full moon, a shockingly white disk visible for a moment through a canyon of buildings, the Watchmaker reflected aloud, "How long did it take them to die? Interesting."
Vincent had known the Watchmaker -- whose real name was Gerald Duncan -- for only a short time but he'd learned that you asked the man questions at your own risk. Even a simple query could open the door to a monologue. Man, could he talk. And his answers were always organized, like a college professor's. Vincent knew that the silence for the last few minutes was because Duncan was considering his answer.
Vincent opened a can of Pepsi. He was cold but he needed something sweet. He chugged it and put the empty can in his pocket. He ate a packet of peanut butter crackers. Duncan looked over to make sure Vincent was wearing gloves. They always wore gloves in the Band-Aid-Mobile.