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3.8 out of 5 stars57
3.8 out of 5 stars
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on 8 December 2008
A standalone novel from Deaver with most of the story featuring a female cop and witness to murder escaping from two hitmen and being chased through a jungle.

The story starts off quite tight but the jungle chase drags repetitively and whilst there is a lot of trickery in the chase, with bluffs and double-bluffs, the plot is somewhat unbeliveable in the pitch black night.

Deaver as expected pulls off a few master mis-directions after the jungle chase and you get that 'i didn't see that coming' buzz. He also leaves a few loose ends which I found rather annoying as opposed to intriguing.

Overall, below the high standard we expect from Dever, and an average, read.
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on 19 October 2009
A rare miss for Jeffery Deaver, he's the only thriller writer I read anymore and I have always to date, enjoyed the convoluted, twisting plots and colourful villains that feature so heavily in his books. This is not a Lincoln Rhyme book but I knew that anyway so I can't take a point off for that but its still not as good as any in the Rhyme cycle.

The majority of the book involves a chase through the woods which has its moments but after a while you're left thinking 'please end'. His earlier book 'The Empty Chair' used the wilderness much more effectively to convey story and plot. As for the famous twists... well you'll see it coming miles off and aha, but what about the other twists... well, there aren't any. There is some minor details that emerge about the heroine's private life but they don't have anything to do with the main thread and feel a little bit like distractions when they do come up. There are a few characters who escape towards the end and you'll be thinking oh wow something big is gonna happen when they reappear but in both cases they don't reappear. I won't say what happens to them but the twists within twists and the real sting in the tail that we've come to appreciate and indeed, expect with a Deaver thriller - simply are not apparent.

If this is your first Deaver please don't judge him by this. Read the Bone Collector and then the other Rhyme novels, or to have a break from the paraplegic criminalist try the excellent 'The Blue Nowhere' or 'The Devil's Teardrop'. Give this a miss. He really dropped the ball on this one. It reads as if he just wanted to finish the book quickly, carelessy and grab his paycheque.
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VINE VOICEon 24 April 2010
Although best-known for his series of books starring Lincoln Rhyme, some of Jeffery Deaver's most gripping books have been stand-alone thrillers such as The Devil's Teardrop and A Maiden's Grave. While not quite of the quality of these two, The Bodies Left Behind is nonetheless a very good read, with interesting characters, a tense and dramatic plot and some characteristically imaginative twists. As such, it's a welcome relief from his series books, as it's such a different type of story from those associated with Rhyme or Kathryn Dance. Here, the central character is a small-town cop, Brynn McKenzie, following up on a cut-off 911 call. After finding two dead bodies at a remote location, Brynn and an escapee from the scene have to evade the killers. Much of the novel is taken up with their efforts to get out of the woods and to reach help, with chapters alternating between them and the killers. Once that stage is over, there are further complications and twists, and the story moves along quickly to a dramatic conclusion. McKenzie is a great character - the interweaving strands of her personal and professional life add depth and colour. A good read.
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on 16 December 2009
Jeffery Deaver is a great suspense writer whose stories tend to run out of steam a little in the last few chapters. This one's no exception, but the running out of steam is quite protracted and jarring, and the whole thing ends up a bit disappointing.
Most of the book takes place in the 24 hours following a double homicide in rural Wisconsin, two women on the run from a pair of hitmen. There's plenty of double-bluffs and surprises along the way, and it all leads to an exciting climax as the women and killers finally meet at dawn.
And then the book goes on for another eighty pages.
By the end things have pretty much ground to a halt, and the loose ends have been coldly and clinically tied up. Deaver's normally great at pacing his plots, and I don't know why he seems to have phoned it in on this one.
On the other hand his signature insane and implausible twists are all present and correct, and I found the story of main character Brynn's relationship with her ex- and current husband very touching. It's a good Deaver novel overall, and well worth a read, but be warned that it's not his best.
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A couple are murdered in a remote house on the edge of Marquette State Park, Wisconsin, and off-duty deputy Brynn McKenzie is called up to look into the reasons behind a one-word 9-1-1 call from the scene. Once there she becomes involved in a shoot-out with the contract killers and manages to escape, minus her weapon, with a younger woman in tow. So begins a night-time pursuit across the unforgivingly mountainous terrain of the park, the killers determined to snuff out the only witnesses to the crime. In real time this takes twelve hours, but it occupies more than 350 pages of a hard-back book that is 439 pages in overall length.

Three steps forwards, two steps back? I say that because the previous Deaver novel I read - THE SLEEPING DOLL - was excellent, one of his best. I have read eighteen of his stories now, so I think it's fair to say that I know his writing well; I know how good he can be, and I know how infuriating he can be with his OTT twists and too-many-endings. Neither accusation can be made against him for this latest release however. It's just 'quite good', with a mildly interesting story, lukewarm characters, and tepid suspense levels. As I said, the bulk of it is made up of two baddies chasing two women in the darkness through the raw landscape of a Wisconsin state park, with any attempts at suspense rather weak and repeatedly knocked down by the hunted women trying but always failing to outwit their pursuers by way of what we Deaver fans know as trademark deceptions and red herrings. So instead of the reader being deceived, it's the criminals themselves, except the smarter of the two (as there always is) manages to second-guess the trickery of the policewoman he is after on every occasion.

Brynn McKenzie's personal life features prominently from start to finish, with her recollections of a violent ex-husband, her attempts to deal with her troublesome twelve-year-old son, and her fragile relationship with her second husband. Much of this was included, I felt, to satisfy a female audience, and although it's generally authentic it wasn't terribly interesting. The same could be said of Brynn herself; this is a stand-alone novel so we won't be seeing her again, but I have to say that she is no less interesting a character than the leading personality of the new series built around kinesics expert Dr Kathryn Dance, first seen at length in THE SLEEPING DOLL. However, what that novel contained - in spades - was an outstandingly well-drawn character in the form of the villain Daniel Pell. In THE BODIES LEFT BEHIND, that reponsibility falls on the shoulders of contract killer Terry Hart, and he fails to deliver the goods. Which means that of all the many characters in this story, quite a few of whom are analysed or explored in detail, there isn't a single one worth remembering or caring for. No-one to like very much, no one to hate very much.

As for the story itself, well it's promoted as a thriller but frankly it isn't deserving of such a title. It's quite interesting, yes, but the night-long pursuit goes on way too long, despite Deaver's best and mainly commendable efforts to describe the unforgiving landscape and the horticultural diversity. I was vaguely reminded of a Lincoln Rhyme novel of nearly a decade back entitled THE EMPTY CHAIR, much of which was dedicated to what it felt like to be in the middle of nowhere, but that story had the charismatic Rhyme in it together with a most unusual counterpart in the Insect Boy. No such treats this time round, sad to report. Deaver is unquestionably a great writer but in my considered judgement he was having a bit of an off-day here. The only real high-point is the excellent imagery, but most of the other elements of a good crime suspense thriller are absent - for characterisation, attention-grabbing suspense, a gripping story, it failed on all counts. Anyone new to Deaver might be suitably unimpressed, which would be a pity because there are some jewels in his back library.

Thankfully, normal service is bound to resume later this year with the return of Lincoln Rhyme.
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on 23 February 2010
As always Deaver doesnt disapoint. There is no contest between this and all Rhyme novels, but for thats no cause not to read it. If you have read Deaver before and are into his way of thinking, beware you will spot the twists (not necessarily a mile off) before you are told.The majority of the book is set in Lake Mondac and has you running along just has fast as Brynn (the lead role) Running along side are sup-plots but I wouldnt say this is the best for sub-plots. It is alot faster paced than say 'Praying for sleep' and would recomment it, though not to a new Deaver reader. As some have already said read The Bone Collector and you will not stop will you are eagerly anticipating the new Burning Wire like I; or The Devils Teardrop another gripping thriller with plenty of twists.
Hope this is some help to all new Deaver fans.
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on 5 January 2010
The Bodies Left Behind

A call to the emergency services is cut off after only one word. Brynn discovers a murder scene, then has to flee for her own life.

Pursued and pursuer are both highly intelligent and out-second-guessing each other - a real cat and mouse, bluff and counter-bluff, building up of tension, which makes it very difficult to put down this book. Also a surprising twist that I definitely hadn't seen coming.

Very scary, a real page-turner, and I shall be looking out for this author again
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The Bodies Left Behind is Jeffrey Deaver's 11th stand-alone novel. The scene is lakeside Wisconsin, where Brynn MacKenzie, a sheriff's deputy, responding to an aborted 911 call, stumbles into the aftermath of a double murder. Managing to escape from the murderers, she finds herself in the Wisconsin woods in the dark, in the company of Michelle, a would-be actress and pampered city girl, on the run from two felons who are determined to eliminate them. The heroine shows herself to be gutsy, clever and resourceful very early on, but she's up against some tough opponents. Hart, seemingly her intellectual equal, seems especially cold-blooded and unemotional. Filled with plot twists and red herrings, this is a gripping tale, a page turner that will have the reader on the edge of the seat. Deaver does it again!
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VINE VOICEon 18 January 2009
I've been reading Deaver for some years and was always puzzled as to why I liked him so much. He is very skillful with plot twists that you just don't see coming. But then so are many others.

Deaver's skill that sets him apart from most is that he creates characters who seem real, resulting in the reader having a greater emotional involvement.

This stand alone is no exception; the back story created by the author gives the lead character a more significant emotional resonance and explains her actions and failings.

Deaver fans will already have run out and bought this. As for the rest of you; what are you waiting for?
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on 10 March 2010
I've never read Jeffrey Deaver before, in fact this book was bought for my by my sister for Christmas. It took a while to get going for me, the progress of getting the main characters together seemed long-winded and I agree with other reviewers that Brynn's back story wasn't that interesting. It wasn't helped by the fact that none of it really impacted the main plot, especially the issues with her current family, although the problems with her first husband went some way to explain who she was.

Once everyone got to the murder scene I thought the pace picked up well, and the story of the chase through the forest was very suspenseful and, unlike other reviewers, I didn't find it repetitive. I didn't spot the big twist to the story coming at all. It may have helped that, as I said, I haven't read the author before, so wasn't expecting anything like that.

I love a good mystery, and for me this book was an excellent one right up to the point where everyone's role was revealed, but there wasn't much that made me want to go back in the book and see what I'd missed. The wrap-up at the end was fairly predictable and lost a lot of the tension built up in the novel, especially the outcome for the character Hart.

Overall, I enjoyed the book and I can see me checking out Jeffrey Deaver again.
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