CBR #58 – You Got Herd

Solitude Creek by Jeffery Deaver

Crowds are horrible.  I get what I refer to as mall rage whenever I’m in a big box store or a mall for longer than ten minutes.  I get uncomfortable and enraged and impatient.  There have been times I’ve had to leave and go sit in the car.  No idea what causes it.  But I hate them.

In this mystery, Deaver gives us another Kathryn Dance story — his kinesiologist who uses body language to solve mysteries for the CBI (California Bureau of Investigation).  Dance is alright, but she’s sort of a lesser spin-off of the better Lincoln Rhyme series.  Dance is CSI: Cyber to Lincoln Rhyme’s original recipe CSI.  She’s an interesting enough character, with her little foibles.  Her supporting cast is less interesting, which I think is the problem.  Especially TJ Scanlon, a twenty-something caught in the sixties who’s constantly making jokey non-sequiturs. But I digress.

There are a couple storylines as per usual.  Dance is working a task force on a drug pipeline running from San Fran to LA to Mexico, when she essentially gets duped by a perp and disarmed.  She then gets reduced to the Civ Div, where she’s tasked with investigating Solitude Creek, a bar where a terrorist basically orchestrated a concert crowd to panic by faking a fire and blocking exits.  The ensuing crowd trampled several people to death.  And he hasn’t stopped there.  Also, there’s a bunch of hate crimes being orchestrated in the town.

Now, I read a lot of mystery, so I pretty much picked up on who the mole on the pipeline case was, who was responsible for the hate crimes, and what was going on with the Solitude Creek case.  I kept wondering, am I just that good, or has Deaver lost a step?  Dude’s four books in on Kathryn Dance and like twelve or thirteen on Rhyme.  Only so many ways you can shake out a mystery.

But.  He got me.  He led me by the nose.  Sure, I was totally on board, and managed to avoid the red herrings.  But see, that was his game all along.  It wasn’t the who it was the why that was impressive.  He didn’t just twist the plot, he totally changed the tune, and it worked.  It’s why I’m a fan.


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