When Special Agent Kathryn Dance -- a brilliant interrogator and kinesics expert with the California Bureau of Investigation -- is sent to question the convicted killer Daniel Son of Manson Pell as a suspect in a newly unearthed crime, she feels both trepidation and electrifying intrigue. Pell is serving a life sentence for the brutal murders of the wealthy Croyton family in Carmel years earlier -- a crime mirroring those perpetrated by Charles Manson in the 1960s. But Pell and his cult members were sloppy: Not only were they apprehended, they even left behind a survivor -- the youngest of the Croyton daughters, who, because she was in bed hidden by her toys that terrible night, was dubbed the Sleeping Doll. But the girl never spoke about that night, nor did the crimes mastermind. Indeed, Pell has long been both reticent and unrepentant about the crime. And so with the murderer transported from the Capitola superprison to an interrogation room in the Monterey County Courthouse, Dance sees an opportunity to pry a confession from him for the recent murder -- and to learn more about the depraved mind of this career criminal who considers himself a master of control, a dark Svengali, forcing people to do what they otherwise would never conceive of doing. In an electrifying psychological jousting match, Dance calls up all her skills as an interrogator and kinesics -- body language -- expert to get to the truth behind Daniel Pell. But when Dances plan goes terribly wrong and Pell escapes, leaving behind a trail of dead and injured, she finds herself in charge of her first-ever manhunt. But far from simply fleeing, Pell turns on his pursuers -- and other innocents -- for reasons Dance and her colleagues cant discern. As the idyllic Monterey Peninsula is paralyzed by the elusive killer, Dance turns to the past to find the truth about what Daniel Pell is really up to. She tracks down the now teenage Sleeping Doll to learn what really happened that night, and she arranges a reunion of three women who were in his cult at the time of the killings. The lies of the past and the evasions of the present boil up under the relentless probing of Kathryn Dance, but will the truth about Daniel Pell emerge in time to stop him from killing again?
Kathryn Dance, an investigator with the California Bureau of Investigation, returns from Deaver's The Cold Moon (where she was a secondary) in this post-prison break pulse-pounder. Dance is the lead cop handling the escape of psychopathic killer Daniel Pell, dubbed "Son of Manson" by the press for his "family" of young runaways and his most horrendous crime, the murders of computer engineer William Croyton, Croyton's wife and two of their three children. The only child left alive, nine-year-old Theresa, is known as the Sleeping Doll. Pell, charismatic and diabolically intelligent, continually eludes capture, but Dance, a specialist in interrogation and kinesics (or body language), is never more than a few suspenseful minutes behind. Dance is nicely detailed, and procedural scenes where she uses somatic cues to ferret out liars are fascinating. The book sags in its long middle, but toward the end Deaver digs into his bottomless bag of unexpected twists and turns, keeping readers wide-eyed with surprise, and leaving them looking forward to more of the perspicacious Dance. (June) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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Simon & Schuster
June 03, 2007
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Excerpt from The Sleeping Doll by Jeffery Deaver
The interrogation began like any other.
Kathryn Dance entered the interview room and found the forty-three-year-old man sitting at a metal table, shackled, looking up at her closely. Subjects always did this, of course, though never with such astonishing eyes. Their color was a blue unlike sky or ocean or famous gems.
"Good morning," she said, sitting down across from him.
"And to you," replied Daniel Pell, the man who eight years ago had knifed to death four members of a family for reasons he'd never shared. His voice was soft.
A slight smile on his bearded face, the small, sinewy man sat back, relaxed. His head, covered with long, gray-black hair, was cocked to the side. While most jailhouse interrogations were accompanied by a jingling soundtrack of handcuff chains as subjects tried to prove their innocence with broad, predictable gestures, Daniel Pell sat perfectly still.
To Dance, a specialist in interrogation and kinesics -- body language -- Pell's demeanor and posture suggested caution, but also confidence and, curiously, amusement. He wore an orange jumpsuit, stenciled with "Capitola Correctional Facility" on the chest and "Inmate" unnecessarily decorating the back.
At the moment, though, Pell and Dance were not in Capitola but, rather, a secure interview room at the county courthouse in Salinas, forty miles away.
Pell continued his examination. First, he took in Dance's own eyes -- a green complementary to his blue and framed by square, black-rimmed glasses. He then regarded her French-braided, dark blond hair, the black jacket and beneath it the thick, unrevealing white blouse. He noted too the empty holster on her hip. He was meticulous and in no hurry. (Interviewers and interviewees share mutual curiosity. She told the students in her interrogation seminars, "They're studying you as hard as you're studying them -- usually even harder, since they have more to lose.")
Dance fished in her blue Coach purse for her ID card, not reacting as she saw a tiny toy bat, from last year's Halloween, that either twelve-year-old Wes, his younger sister, Maggie, or possibly both conspirators had slipped into the bag that morning as a practical joke. She thought: How's this for a contrasting life? An hour ago she was having breakfast with her children in the kitchen of their homey Victorian house in idyllic Pacific Grove, two exuberant dogs at their feet begging for bacon, and now here she sat, across a very different table from a convicted murderer.
She found the ID and displayed it. He stared for a long moment, easing forward. "Dance. Interesting name. Wonder where it comes from. And the California Bureau...what is that?"
"Bureau of Investigation. Like an FBI for the state. Now, Mr. Pell, you understand that this conversation is being recorded?"
He glanced at the mirror, behind which a video camera was humming away. "You folks think we really believe that's there so we can fix up our hair?"
Mirrors weren't placed in interrogation rooms to hide cameras and witnesses -- there are far better high-tech ways to do so -- but because people are less inclined to lie when they can see themselves.
Dance gave a faint smile. "And you understand that you can withdraw from this interview anytime you want and that you have a right to an attorney?"
"I know more criminal procedure than the entire graduating class of Hastings Law rolled up together. Which is a pretty funny image, when you think about it."
More articulate than Dance expected. More clever too.