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4.1 out of 5 stars35
4.1 out of 5 stars
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on 6 April 2014
As a dyed-in-the-wool Deaver fan, reviewing his work is difficult, mainly because choosing the parameters against which to measure the best in class is a tricky business; do I compare to other writers or to earlier JD work? So I must say, at the outset, that these are all Jeffery Deaver stories and so are, by definition, far above the average to begin with. But much of the praise stops there.

There are 12 stories in this anthology. Some are exceptionally short and others are quite lengthy. My grumble here is with the publishers as it seems, to me, that they seek to cash in on the 'Deaver wave' by publishing these shorter stories in a variety of books so that, to get to a couple of new stories, an avid fan has to also buy several that he/she has read previously. That's the case here as, not only had I already read all three stories that are within the recently released 'Triple Threat' ('Fast', 'Game' and 'Paradise'), but I had read 'A Textbook Case' which had previously been published as a stand alone short novel. That means that one third of this book was old material for me. And at £9.49 for this Kindle version, that isn't cheap and means that I threw £3.16 away. It would be nice (but stupid) of the publishers to print on these books that there's no point in buying 'Triple Threat' if you've already read 'Trouble In Mind' as they are exactly the same stories.

Unfortunately, these four stories are also not among Mr D's best work either. 'Fast' has a very thin plot and the end is telegraphed way in advance. In fact, anyone who has seen the TV show in which Derren Brown steals a painting will have, essentially, read this book. Similarly 'Game' has an ending so obvious that it is disappointing when, at the end, you find that you have been right all along; that isn't the Deaver way.

'A Textbook Case' was published on its own fairly recently too and that suffers from the same problem of a plot that, although convoluted, works so hard to fool the reader that those wrigglings are obvious.

'Paradise' is a very old Deaver short story, written when JD was writing his 'John Pellam; Location Scout' series. The obvious age of this story is its greatest issue although the plot is pretty unbelievable too.

So what about the other eight stories that I hadn't read before? Well, seven of them were definitely only to be read by Deaver aficionados who need to keep up their "I've read every JD work" status. It's not that they're rubbish, just that they are less than Mr Deaver's best. I would hate for anyone to pick up 'Trouble In Mind' who hasn't read any other JD and think that this is typical of his work. Mind you, Jeffery Deaver can be a bit variable, even in his major novels. 'The Coffin Dancer' remains my all-time favourite detective thriller, with the most gut wrenching twist half way through that I've read in anything. But 'The October List' was nothing more than an academic exercise and was a dire read as a result. But what about the other stories in 'Trouble In Mind'?

'Bump' is about a poker game and is quite good. The plot is a bit obvious but the conclusion less so.

'The Competitor' is set in the Olympic Games and is one of the very short stories. The writing is clever enough to fool non-JD readers but those who know of Mr D's wiles will see through it, reducing the impact of the conclusion.

'The Plot' is a confusing story about an author's death. As a reader, I saw the ending coming from afar and then just slogged through the plot to get there. This was the most boring of the stories.

'The Therapist' is one of the longer stories and also one of the better efforts. This is one of the few short stories with chapters of its own and each chapter takes the story into another stage of the whole plot. The plot line is clever and I haven't read anything quite like this from JD before. This may not be one of JD's best but it is still a far superior read to that which most other authors can produce.

'The Weapon' is short and poor. The question posed at the outset is "What sort of weapon is it?" but the answer to that occurs to the reader pretty quickly so what is supposed to be a big reveal at the end falls flat. The story also depends upon the extremely unrealistic notion that one of the characters can be so committed as to defy certainty. I'm sorry that that is so cryptic (and unclear!) but to say more would be a spoiler.

'Reconciliation' is a quiet but OK story. It has the hallmark JD trait of fooling the reader so that the earlier assumptions about the characters are revealed as false, and those revelations come gradually. The story is somewhat less subtle than a normal Deaver but, even so, the ending is fairly surprising. So this is another of those stories that is just OK for a JD while being pretty good for anyone else.

'The Obit' is an effort that annoyed me greatly. Not because it is so short (and it is!) but because I feel certain that what we have here is just another money making device from the publisher. I think that, at some time in the past, Jeffery Deaver has anticipated the time when Lincoln Rhyme might die and has produced an obituary for him, sitting in Mr D's computer ready for use. Then, the publisher has said "I know, let's publish it as a short story; all we have to do is cobble up a few words at the end to explain what has happened". This isn't a story, it's just an essay in obituary writing.

And finally, to the last story in the book, 'Forever'. This is the saviour. Not only is this story, by far, the longest in the book, it is also, by just as far, the best. The hero is a maths geek policeman. The relationships between the main characters are wonderfully drawn and add to the plot immensely. The story line itself is classic Deaver; thoughtful, fully considered, deceitfully delivered (to fool the reader all of the way through) and with more than one punchy ending. What's more, it is utterly believable. This really is the god ol' Jeffery Deaver that I so love and this one story makes buying the book worth it (almost!).

The last and best story, 'Forever', has statistics running through the plot. Hence my summary that seven of these 12 stories, or 58.4%, vary from poor to quite good; for Mr D they are mediocre. Four stories, or 33.3%, are a rip off for me as I've read them before and, even then, they aren't very good (the only reason that the Kindle version of the book 'Triple Threat' isn't a rip off is because it's so cheap). And only one story, or 8.3% of the book, is real JD quality.

The next full length Deaver novel, 'The Skin Collector' is due out soon and I look forward to that as it seems to me that Mr D's best works tend to be (but not always) those that use his well established characters. If you are a Deaver fan, then you'll have to waste money on 'Trouble In Mind' just to get at the 'Forever' story. If you're a Deaver virgin, don't bother starting with 'Trouble In Mind'.
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on 21 March 2014
For the quality of the stories this book is easily worth 5 stars - fans of Jeffery Deaver certainly won't be disappointed with the storytelling.

However, why do publishers insist on repackaging books in order to trick readers into paying twice for the same thing? No sooner had I downloaded the book to my Kindle I had a distinct sense of deja vu, and sure enough I had recently read 3 of the stories from another Kindle download that I had recently purchased.

If this had been the hard copy of the book I would have immediately returned it, but of course Kindle purchases don't have that option so that's £9.49 wasted.

So far the stories that I didn't already own have been up to scratch, but do yourself a favour and don't waste money on a cynical repackage by the publishers.
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on 4 April 2014
This book hasn't held my interest so it will be going back on the bookshelf unread. I've only managed one story (Fast) and as the other reviewer has said, you do get a distinct sense of deja vu. Some of the tales in this book have appeared as stand alone purchases - A Textbook Case for example was published in April last year and is still available today (4 April 14) to buy on its own for 99p!

I would have preferred this to have been a completely new collection from JD and also for at least one of the stories to have been just one page with a nice big twist! Now that would have been a challenge! I do like Jeffery Deaver and will continue to buy/read his books but I'm not the fan I was. I found even in the short story format, he found it necessary to remind us about the background to his characters. Very annoying!

If you are new to Jeffery Deaver then this is worth a look but if you are a die hard fan, I'd recommend checking out what stories are included before purchase as you will probably find you have read them all before. For me, its going to be a book to dip in and out of as and when I want a JD fix !
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on 29 October 2015
Jeffery Deaver is one of my favourite thriller writers but I’m never quite so sure about his short stories. Why? The master’s technique is to lure the reader into perhaps a cliff edge scenario which turns out to be a harmless step down or a climatic confrontation transformed into a harmless encounter. His most successful wheeze is guiding the reader into identifying ‘the perp’, the motive, the method or even ‘the vic’ – and then show the reader’s on the wrong path, or even in the wrong garden! This takes time and short stories don’t give that amount of latitude. The author admits all this in the introduction to the subject of this review but he makes a gallant attempt at overcoming such restraints
All this applies to ‘trouble in mind’ (2014) which contains 15 stories, of which 6 are new. Some have masterly twists and double-twists (e.g. ‘Game’ and ‘The Weapon’). The reader might find themselves in the wrong ball-park (‘The Competitors’ or ‘The Plot’). I wondered whether the lengthy ‘Forever’ was included as a try-out for a new thriller character (Tal Simms); if so, he might prove interesting. I found some disappointing ( ‘The Obit’, ‘The Bump’, ‘Fast’ and ‘The Therapist’) for a variety of reasons– mainly for the danger the author recognises with short stories i.e. lack of space.. ‘Paradice’ for me proved a mixed blessing – like the other John Pelham stories. He seems to tumble into mysteries ill-equipped and stumble out because the solution smacks him in the face.
In both ‘The Weapon’ and ‘The Reconciliation’ the reader climbs a hill towards the horizon and then suddenly finds he’s looking the wrong way! I guessed ‘A Textbook Case’ some way back, was congratulating myself and then slipped on the last banana skin. I hope ‘The Plot’ is not advance warning to his readers because I really think Jeffrey Deaver should stick to the ‘day-job’.
One minor grouse. In a collection of SHORT stories it would be useful to have the titles indicated at the top of pages and NOT just the author’s name and the book title. My reason is quite simple. I like to read a short story at a single session and this means judging length quickly and getting easy access. I know there’s a contents page but..... Perhaps I’m just being ‘picky’.
All in all it’s a good read but I'll still only give it 3 stars.
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on 5 April 2014
So Jeffrey joins the rest in repackaging previous stories - the product details should have made it clear that the first 3 lengthy stories have previously been published, which means that Deaver fans are paying twice - and at £9.49, that's no joke. The stories are all good but the book is tainted by a feeling of having been conned.
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on 6 May 2015
Ah, what can I say, Mr Deaver goes and does it again!

I love Deaver thrillers, and while I normally stay well clear of short stories altogether, having read both of the Twisted volumes this was a must read.

In a true king of the intrigue style each story had a surprising twist - I have learnt to expect the unexpected from Jeffery Deaver, and just as I think I have called the shots... I am again surprised!

Brilliant, simply brilliant. Both the well known characters like Rhyme and Dance, but also the new ones: can we PLEASE have a full size novel with Tal from Forever?
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on 5 April 2014
I love Jeffrey Deaver however I guessed the plots of the first few stories straight away then gave up reading the tale about the truck losing its brakes after a few pages and deleted the book from my kindle. Sorry Mr Deaver but I hated this book.
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on 10 June 2014
I was quick to buy this book via Kindle as soon as it was published only to discover it was a compilation using some stories that had appeared in other compilations that I had previously bought - 3 repeat stories made up a huge part of the book. The other stories I felt were not up to the usual standard of twist and suspense so overall I was very disappointed with this book. In future I will only buy once the price has come down......
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on 18 August 2014
i love jeffery deaver but half of this book of short stories i had read before it was really frustrating.
if it hadn't of been for the last two stories i would be asking amazon for a refund.
so beware if you have read all deaver books as i have it defiantly lived up to it's title it troubled my mind that these stories could be rehashed as fillers for a so called new book
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on 8 December 2015
First book I have read by this author. I am not usually a fan of the short story genre but I enjoyed this book. Intelligent writing over a broad range. I'll definitely be choosing to read more of his work.
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