The Vanished Man : A Lincoln Rhyme Novel by Jeffery Deaver
Presto! With a conjuror's flourish, the reliable Jeffery Deaver has pulled another winner out of his hat. The Vanished Man brings back Lincoln Rhyme, forensic investigator, and his sidekick Amelia Sachs, ex-model and beat cop, a team featured in four previous books. Their case begins with a murder in which the culprit, cornered in a locked room, seemingly vanishes into thin air. Rhyme soon realizes he's up against a master illusionist--and then acquires a conjuror of his own, a spunky apprentice magician, to advise him. The book is chock-a-block with magic lore and with details of the craft of illusion, which provide a fine complement to the engrossing forensic-science puzzles.
The characters, as usual with Deaver, are little more than cardboard cutouts. Even Rhyme himself, a brilliant quadriplegic and former head of NYPD forensics, seems more a collection of characteristics than a man. But Deaver's cutouts are sturdy and well-constructed, and the book's plotting and pacing--featuring twist upon twist and reversal upon reversal--are nothing short of dazzling, reminiscent of Agatha Christie at her best. Deaver proves himself an accomplished illusionist, misdirecting your attention with one hand while slipping a firecracker down your pants with the other. --Nicholas H. Allison
Celebrex, Amelia. Celebrex., September 13, 2003
from Ypsilanti, MI United States
The problem with writing "serial" plots, is that after the third novel, you pretty well know what the characters are going to say, feel, imagine, resent, tolerate and conjure up. Rocky I through V, Godfather I, II and III, et. al. That's what "Vanished" is about, conjuring up and conjurors, magicians, illusionists and escape artists. On Mr. Deaver's behalf, it is terribly well researched and has those unexpected stomach lurching shifts as do all Deaver mysteries. So in no way do we feel let down in those areas. Like Ken Follett and Dick Francis, the plots are basically the same but the scenery is altogether new. Here we find a series of brutal murders seemingly unrelated. A musician, a make up artist, (almost) a lawyer, and little by little we realize they are all feints, an illusion to distract us from what's really going on. But the characters for the most part live the same lives of lost hopes, temporary terror, the progeny of dysfunctional childhood trauma and yet, Damon and Pythias loyalty, the courage of the 300 Spartans, and the wisdom of Yoda. And along the way, Rhyme's love of Scotch Whiskey, his self-hatred of his paralysis, Sachs' loyalty above all to her father, Rhyme and her Camero, Lou Sellito's unsuccessful attempt to lose weight, and all the rest. A couple of years ago Mr. deaver wrote "The Blue Nowhere." Incredibly well researched, different, and there, we knew not what to expect or what the characters were going to say. Maybe it's time for a change before we lose interest altogether. If you haven't read Mr. Deaver before you will love this. But it's the fourth time at bat with fairly one dimensional characters.