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Lincoln Rhyme's phrase 'walking the grid', where examination of every square inch of a crime scene will reveal evidence, no matter how miniscule, that will point to the villain, is severely tested in this short story. A young woman is found murdered in an underground car park. Amelia Sachs is sent to investigate. The area surrounding her has been obliterated by materials designed to obscure any evidence of the killer. The amount of collection boxes and bags is on a par with an episode of mass destruction. Rhyme finds the case as frustrating as any he can recall. A meticulous analysis of the subject matter and possibilities leads Rhyme to believe someone is using his classic text on 'Evidence Collection and Analysis' to cover their tracks.

The interaction between Rhyme's factual evidence-based approach and Sachs's psychology and policing of crime make for a formidable team. They are thorough in their own complementary ways as the tension builds to apprehend the culprit who has the hallmarks of a serial attacker. Working on minute leads, the plot is far from straightforward, absorbing with plenty of action, brainwork and some neat twists, the major one is cleverly unseen. Young police officer Marko works with Rhyme and Sachs in a diligent and engaging manner and adds to the book's character.

Jeffrey Deaver has written an enjoyable and suspenseful story. The format worked for me and is tremendous value. A short preview of his next novel 'The Kill-Room' is an addendum and is much anticipated.
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on 11 May 2013
Jeffery Deaver is, by a country mile, my favourite detective author. I have read everything he has ever written, including all of his excellent short stories, and have never, ever, been disappointed. Now I'm fairly smart (well, I think I am so that's OK!) and I have never, not once, worked out the 'baddie' or, in the odd case, the ending before the final section of a JD book. It's deliciously frustrating to know that he can beat me time after time, no matter how much I study his style. I would read a set of map directions if JD wrote it and, yes, I have pre-ordered his next gift to mystery readers.

But 'A Textbook Case' is different. It is short. Very short. But, then again, Mr Deaver is no stranger to the undervalued skill of compressing a wonderful plot and brilliant characters into fewer words. This book is all over the show. It's muddled and confused and then, at the end, it's as though JD has got to the end of his allotted word count and has thought "Oh, better end it now". And then there is the event that has changed my life. For the first time, I guessed the villain early on (OK, it was a guess and not a true identification, but it's still the first time for me). JD always puts the clues there for you but so skilfully that you just don't see them until it's too late; I've even immediately re-read some of his books just to make sure that he didn't cheat me and, sure enough, he always wins fair and square. But not this time. The critical clue was wafted through the plot but in such a clumsy fashion that I spotted it straight away. Even the usual 'red herring' was glowing crimson and stinking to high heaven.

If you've never read a JD, then this will just be an average, if very short, read. But, honestly Mr D, for us fans, I wish you'd never bothered.

So, to protect my 'hero image' here's a theory. I'm going to assume that this is a clever ploy and JD has not, really, written this pedestrian drivel at all. One day, while in conversation with his publisher, the publisher evinced the view that JD had written so many books that anyone could write a Lincoln Rhyme story, using previous novels as a text book, and no one would notice that it wasn't, actually, JD. "Go ahead" says JD, "And see what happens. We'll even call it 'A Textbook Case' as a clue to the readers". This is the result!

Just to ensure that you recognise the difference between diamond and cubic zirconium, a taster of 'The Kill Room' is added at the end; now THAT's a proper JD!

Lets hope that 'The Kill Room' is back to good old JD all of the way through.
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on 15 April 2013
Very good writer, very interesting characters. I have read all his previous books and thoroughly enjoyed them. Got the next one in the series on order already.
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on 10 September 2013
This is a Lincoln Rhyme story with all the necessary Deaver elements, and characters. Even though it is quite short it is up to the usual Rhyme standard, and I was pleased that it caught us up on Lincoln's health, which has been improving. A must for Lincoln Rhyme and Deaver fans.
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on 22 February 2014
It has been a long time since I read any Jeffrey Deaver, but I loved books like The Bone Collector and The Coffin Dancer. I have read SciFi and Fantasy almost exclusively for a few years, and thought I would give this short story a try as a change.

I thought some of the conclusions the detective came to about broken light bulbs (among other things) were fairly contrived and not at all the most logical explanation. The use of brand names was rife throughout and quite jarring. Seeing as I read fantasy set in worlds where brand names do not exist I may have lost touch and this might be a normal thing in books set in the modern world, but felt to me like product placement and broke the suspension of disbelief that lets you forget you are reading a book, and not living through someone else's experience.
I cannot remember the end to this story even though I read it a couple of months ago. I read Coffin Dancer about 12years ago and still remember it quite vividly. I haven't read enough to say he has lost his touch, but this certainly isn't one of his better efforts.
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on 7 May 2013
It was good, and I enjoyed it. It had just enough historic detail to get me back to the scenario, but still got on with a cracking story. I didn't guess the villain until just before the end, so it left me feeling only slightly smug.
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on 27 February 2014
I enjoyed this story even though it was short but I guess my disappointment was only because I am a great fan of this author and wanted more content, but this was all I got because the book only had a 99p purchase price! Would recommend this short read, but highly recommend Jeffrey Deaver as a 'must read' author, as his writing style is great, his stories so varied and his books are impossible to put down once started and keeps you guessing through all sorts of twists and turns! Yes, I am a great fan of this author and recommend downloading or buying his books.
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on 14 May 2013
I am a big Jeffery Deaver fan, read all his books, and this was the first short story and the first eBook of his I have read. It wasn't expensive so I didn't expect much, although from Jeffery I always expect something great and my anticipation of a great and absorbing read is always high. Therefore, I was disappointed with this story. Okay, I couldn't write one half as good, but for a Lincoln Rhyme story it was pretty mild, formulaic, predictable even and I felt a bit short changed. There is a short extract from his new release, so I guess the real reason for the short story was to promote his new book - sneaky really, but effective, I guess.
I will buy your new book, Jeffery, but in hardback or paperback rather than an eBook - I like to own and feel my favourite authors and the only way to do that is to buy a paper-printed version.
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on 12 May 2014
Really enjoy Jeffrey Deaver especially the Lincoln Rhyme books but I was a bit disappointed I felt it was a little long drawn out and to admit it I was a little bit bored with it, to the point where I was going to just put it down. I do think it was a bit of a money making sort of book and I would prefer it if Mr Deaver concentrated on his usual novels rather than short stories of favourite characters
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on 16 October 2013
I have read a number of Jeffrey Deaver's full length books and really enjoyed them. This does not really rank alongside those. I can't explain my reasons for my rating in any detail, because to do so would give away the answer to the question "whodunit". Suffice to say that a twist or a sting or any element of surprise at the end would have helped. My attention was held all the way through until the end, which turned out to be a damp squib. Shame.
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