The Kill Room
By Jeffery Deaver. (Grand Central Publishing, 496 pages, $29.)
Jeffery Deaver, you disappoint! I eagerly anticipate each new novel featuring quadriplegic forensic investigator Lincoln Rhyme and his partner Amelia Sachs, but this one left me unimpressed. Perhaps it was because the story was too political? Rhyme and Sachs are called in when an anti-American U.S. citizen is killed in the Bahamas, possibly by a U.S. operative. This part of the plot relies heavily on technology, and the explanation can be dull. Maybe it was because Rhyme uncharacteristically leaves the country to personally pursue the shooter? This is Rhyme, who hates to leave his home; we are supposed to believe he would pack up his caregiver and all the equipment he needs for daily life and get on a plane for another country? A secondary villain, Jacob Swann, is a more typical Rhyme adversary. He works to eliminate witnesses to the initial killing and put up roadblocks to the investigation. While Rhyme is away, chasing Swann is left to Amelia, in the most interesting part of the book. This is Deaver’s 10th novel featuring Rhyme and Amelia, and I’ve loved all the others. I hope he hasn’t lost interest in his most intriguing characters.
Judy Romanowich Smith, news designer
Thursdays in the Park
By Hilary Boyd. (Quercus Books/Random House, 336 pages, $15.95.)
What happens when a 60-year-old woman whose marriage has been loveless for years takes her granddaughter to the park and encounters a handsome, sensitive man watching his young grandson?
In Hilary Boyd’s novel, “Thursdays in the Park,” sparks fly and love ignites, but Boyd understands that you can’t unravel a relationship of 40 years’ standing without deep complications and a lot of regret. “Thursdays in the Park” is not a brilliant book — the characters are fairly stock, especially Ray (the handsome sensitive grandfather) and George (the overly hapless husband) — but it raises excellent questions and deals with them thoughtfully. What do we owe our families? How much happiness must we sacrifice for our children? And is it really possible for passion to kindle during the last third of life? Boyd’s novel was a huge hit when it was released last year in the United Kingdom. Will American audiences be as appreciative?
Laurie Hertzel, senior editor/books