on 8 October 2011
Is this going to be a stand-alone novel for Corte, the hero of Jeffery Deaver's latest outing? Well, if I can judge from the character I'd say no. Corte, plain, simple Corte, seems to have in him a lot of stories, too much juice, and I really wouldn't mind if he came to replace Kathryn Dance who, unlike Lincoln Rhyme, his other favorite hero, seems to have run out of steam already.
Corte works at a witness protection service, a private company. His latest assignment is to offer protection to Ryan Kessler, a decorated police officer, who seems to be the target of a yet unknown hitman. He and his family seem, for no apparent reason, to be in a life-threatening situation and Corte has to work really hard to save the day. But he has more than one reason for taking this assignment, since the man posing the threat is none other than Frank Loving, an expert interrogator and remorseless killer, who was behind the murder of Corte's mentor, a few years back.
The two men, during the long and fascinating course of the story, seem to involve themselves into a game of cat and mouse, exchanging roles time and again. As each of them works hard to get into the head of the other and guess his next moves, the pace gains momentum and the twists and turns just keep the reader guessing about what's coming next. However, Loving definitely has the upper hand in this game and Corte, even though he hates him, finds himself every now and then, admiring the criminal for the analytical capabilities of his twisted brain; capabilities that are not quite out of his league since he's quite familiar with them; an extra bonus of playing strategic games.
As time goes by, painstakingly slow for the Kessler family, the heat keeps rising and a lot of secrets and lies come out in the open. As it seems one of them has a secret history, while the rest are so stubborn and obviously clueless that it looks like they want to die. Thus Corte, having no another option, just needs to rush from the one place to the other, in order to keep the fragile bonds between the members of the family tight, while at the same time trying to find Loving, and also figure out who's the person working so hard to get him fired. In this fierce and lonesome battle, he only has two people he can turn to: Dubois, his highly intelligent assistant, and his boss, who despite everything still has his back.
From the first explosive moment until the very last, everything seems to hang from a weak thread: Corte's career; the Kessler family's survival; the wishes for revenge and redemption of some of the heroes. Deaver looks deep into the psyches of these people and what he sees is a world made of glass that could explode and turn into pieces at any given moment. The psychological portraits he creates are nicely crafted, and the characters really seem to come alive on paper; with all their faults and their never-ending passions.
Perhaps this is one of the very few books by the writer that could make a good movie. His world is not easy to adopt for the big screen, but maybe, just maybe, this is about to change.