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It’s a Jeffery Deaver thriller, only this time the pet crime-solving method is kinesics (magical lie-detecting by body language) rather than forensics. A spin-off series from the Lincoln Rime series, which I started because hi, disabled detective.

Oh, Jeff, look at you! You wrote a whole book, and you didn’t explain every last detail! There were a few things that you, actually, like, hinted at. Hinted very loudly, but hey, you’re working on it. Oooh, and the shallow waters of your “my detective also has a personal life” plotline are a lot less annoying when your detective isn’t disabled and you don’t manage to drown yourself in an inch and a half of deep water about his OMG disabled issues. Well, okay. A little less annoying.

Still, I don’t want to smack you repeatedly with my very pointy shoe right now, so good job!
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An FBI thriller about, uh, FBI thriller things. The Director is murdered and there’s internal politics and a survivalist militia group and an international crime syndicate. You know.

Okay, just so we’re all clear. John Douglas is one of the authors of this book. He is also one of the founders of the FBI’s Behavioral Sciences Unit, and a groundbreaking profiler. He’s arrogant, self-righteous, and extraordinarily talented almost enough to justify both. He’s a legend in the field and to those of us who follow it closely. He once landed himself in a coma while tracking the Green River murderer due to viral encephalitis. (He’s also, incidentally, a strong influence on the creation of Criminal Minds’s Jason Gideon, whom I must confess to liking much more than his progenitor).

Jake Donovan is the protagonist of this book. He is also one of the founders of the FBI’s Behavioral Sciences Unit, and a groundbreaking profiler. He’s arrogant, self-righteous, and extraordinarily talented almost enough to justify both. He once landed himself in a coma while tracking the Black Diamond murderer due to viral encephalitis.

Got that? I know it’s hard to keep these things straight.

Anyway. This is a mildly amusing thriller, as thrillers go, with predictably hairpin plot twists, a boy’s wet dream sort of romance, and a hilarious movie cliché climax (cat on a plane! No, really!). I only read this book for Donovan's Douglas’s occasional digressions into past cases and profiles, and if you’re as interested in criminal behavior as I am, you’re much better off reading his nonfiction.
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Fiction. Mystery. Latest in the Lincoln Rime series, featuring the quadriplegic forensic investigator. Oh, Jeff. You were doing so well for the first 250 pages: the villain was thoroughly creepifying, the forensics were engaging and CSI-like, and the characters’ personal lives were actually interesting, too. And then we took a sharp left turn into exposition land, where the narrator takes over the story for five or ten pages at a stretch to explain that the villain really isn’t after what we thought (haven’t you written this book before? Twice?) and what he is after is a lot less interesting than the whole serial killer jaunt. It hurts me when you do this. To your credit, there were some interesting, if fumble-fingered, threads about the duties of a capital L Liberal in these over-patriotic times, and the villain promises to become more interesting again in a later book. Props for the good old college try, but let’s aim a bit higher next time, okay?
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Fiction. Mysteries. Two more in his Alex Delaware series about child psychologist turned police consultant, the former from the middle and the latter the series introduction. I dug Monster -- it plays to the series strengths, sticking to the psychopathology as a tool for understanding crimes, and interesting crimes at that. Unfortunately, When the Bough Breaks did not play nearly so well with me. Kellerman's later dab hand with interesting secondary characters is undeveloped here, and Delaware's clinical evaluations of the people around him which make the later books interesting are clumsy, patronizing, and sometimes offensive here. Also, the last page of this book pissed me off so much with its disgusting, amateur respect for vigilante justice that I was literally speechless with outrage. I'm glad Kellerman found his feet later on, because this early attempt is deeply uninspiring.
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Fiction. Murder mystery with hackers and an online killing game that gets too real. I read this a few years ago, and it's the single reason I persist withDeaver's other work. It's got the irritating narrative tricks that drive me nuts, but he’s stumbled on a set of characters who are wonderful (and incredibly slashable). The technology is now dated and laughable, and the portrayal of the internet as an inevitably destructive addiction is irritating, but the thing where the quietly brilliant cop gets the disillusioned young hacker out of prison to help solve crime and then takes him home with him totally gets
me. I can't help wondering whether the quality here is due to the fact that these are not Deaver's regular series characters, and so it's not so glaringly obvious when he repeatedly does unbelievable things to their portrayals in the name of plot.
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Fiction. Four mysteries in Kellerman's series featuring a child psychologist and police consultant. I probably shouldn’t have started at random like I did,because the first I tried (and most recently published of the bunch) was disappointing. I kept on, though, and I'm glad I did. Kellerman's strengths are with his original calling in psychology, aberrant behavior, and children. He has a deft, vivid hand with dysfunction, and a keen understanding of the system. The earlier published books I read employ this to the hilt, building compelling mysteries around family and illness and avoiding the pitfalls of improbable
plots, complete lack of children and patients in general, and frankly dull detective work from Flesh and Blood. If I wanted to read a formula detective story I'd -- oh, wait, I wouldn't want to at all. I'm hoping this isn't a general series trend.
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Fiction. Another in his Lincoln Rhyme series, with the paralyzed forensic scientist who solves crimes. Seventh verse, same as the first -- painfully overdone plotting, inconsistent characters, and ham-fisted handling of disability. So, Light, you may ask, why do you keep reading these books if they piss you off so much? Why, I may answer, because sometimes I like a good seethe.
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">Fiction, serial killers. I'm assuming this book was once shocking and groundbreaking. And okay, yes, eww with the eating people and the skinning. But also? Shut the fuck up, Thomas Harris. There are few things more obnoxious than a male author with a hard-on for his female protagonist. Worth reading for Hannibal the Cannibal, because I dig that abnormal psychology stuff, but did I mention the objectification? The sexism? The way the reader is never allowed to forget
about gender? How every male she meets falls for the heroin? Yeah, as it turns out, the unnamed and hovering Harris narrator is by far the most hateful and creepy personality around, and that's including the aforementioned cannibal.
lightreads: a partial image of a etymology tree for the Indo-European word 'leuk done in white neon on black'; in the lower left is (Default)
Fiction, mysteries. Quadriplegic forensic scientist chases criminals. And wow how much do these books piss me off? It's not just the handling of the disability (which is rather ham-handed and painful) or the plotting (baroque to the point of near incomprehensibility and to the detriment of any consistent characterization). It's mostly the grating style, the ad nauseum use of a select few storytelling devices (show black hats planning something nefarious, show white hats walking into trap unawares, switch to black hat narration and watch white hats save the day followed by painful "this is how" explanation). Mostly, I'm resentful of writers who are frankly mediocre, but who sell books hand-over-fist. I keep waiting for this guy to get better, because there really are flashes of hope: the fact that the quad actually has a partner and sex life, the very occasional bit of evocative or lovely writing. But he's just not cluing in, and eventually I'll run out of patience and bail on the whole thing.

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