I do not read much fiction during the school year; I am constantly creating, revising and re-creating my lectures so most of my reading is done in support of that process. However, once summer arrives I break out the fiction and devour it like I do the food at Texas de Brazil after a strategic fast.
So far this summer my reading includes five Jeffery Deaver mysteries; The Blue Nowhere, The Twelvth Card, A Textbook Case, The Broken Window, and The Empty Chair. Deaver is a master of the mystery-writing craft; bold characters, sophisticated plots, action, action and a little more action. It’s hard to put down one of his books after starting it and it’s hard not to immediately begin another of his books after completing one (Amazon makes this dangerously easy with their 30 second Kindle downloads).
The compelling power of Deaver’s writing seems to lie in two key areas; the unique story-lines and the surprising plot twists. Red herrings abound but when the plot twists and then twists again you don’t get the feeling that you have been manipulated or that the author resorted to some contrived and unexpected intervention of some new event or character in order to resolve the matter (Deus ex machina). Instead, you find yourself saying, “The information was there the entire time, so why didn’t I expect that?”
A few quick notes regarding the worldview found in these books; the antagonists in these books are seriously bad, shockingly bad, and, the behavior of the protagonists is what you would expect from those with a blue-state value system. You won’t find God in these books apart from his name being used as an expletive. Furthermore, Southerners tend to be depicted as provincial at best, and frequently as ignorant hicks.
Despite these caveats, I am sure I will work my way through the whole corpus of Deaver’s works.