I had only ever read one of Jeffery Deaver’s books before, probably the one he is best known for The Bone Collector, I had been put off by the sheer volume of books in that series and thought that it would be an impossible task to get them all and read them in the right order, so when I saw this the first in what would appear to be a new series I thought I would take a chance.
This is what Goodreads has to say about the story…
When Special Agent Kathryn Dance — a brilliant interrogator and kinesics expert with the California Bureau of Investigation — is sent to question the convicted killer Daniel “Son of Manson” Pell as a suspect in a newly unearthed crime, she feels both trepidation and electrifying intrigue. Pell is serving a life sentence for the brutal murders of the wealthy Croyton family in Carmel years earlier — a crime mirroring those perpetrated by Charles Manson in the 1960s. But Pell and his cult members were sloppy: Not only were they apprehended, they even left behind a survivor — the youngest of the Croyton daughters, who, because she was in bed hidden by her toys that terrible night, was dubbed the Sleeping Doll.
But the girl never spoke about that night, nor did the crime’s mastermind. Indeed, Pell has long been both reticent and unrepentant about the crime. And so with the murderer transported from the Capitola superprison to an interrogation room in the Monterey County Courthouse, Dance sees an opportunity to pry a confession from him for the recent murder — and to learn more about the depraved mind of this career criminal who considers himself a master of control, a dark Svengali, forcing people to do what they otherwise would never conceive of doing. In an electrifying psychological jousting match, Dance calls up all her skills as an interrogator and kinesics — body language — expert to get to the truth behind Daniel Pell.
But when Dance’s plan goes terribly wrong and Pell escapes, leaving behind a trail of dead and injured, she finds herself in charge of her first-ever manhunt. But far from simply fleeing, Pell turns on his pursuers –and other innocents — for reasons Dance and her colleagues can’t discern. As the idyllic Monterey Peninsula is paralyzed by the elusive killer, Dance turns to the past to find the truth about what Daniel Pell is really up to. She tracks down the now teenage Sleeping Doll to learn what really happened that night, and she arranges a reunion of three women who were in his cult at the time of the killings. The lies of the past and the evasions of the present boil up under the relentless probing of Kathryn Dance, but will the truth about Daniel Pell emerge in time to stop him from killing again?
I really enjoyed this book, the idea of a widowed officer leading investigations while trying to balance her home life and rebuild her personal life struck a chord, not that I have been any of those things directly but I have been a single mother, had to balance work and home life and dated people my daughter didn’t like. What I mean is the character was real and easy to identify with on many levels, although I probably would not have been so patient with the son but that is a whole different matter.
There are aspects of the book that reminded me of other books and films though not always so much that it was easy to put your finger on the exact bit. Daniel Pell and his accomplice come across as Bonnie and Clyde type characters although things are not as they seem. There are some real twists on various levels, some you can almost see coming and others are real shocks when they are revealed.
The negatives, I didn’t buy the relationship between Dance and Kellogg, the specialist sent to help her, I think the plot could have moved forward just as easily without that added element and then the big negative, Lincoln Rhymes. now he only really features in a single line or two and it is sort of understandable why, she needs evidence examined he is a genius but it does make me fear for a cross over in a later book which will then make me feel I have to go read all the books featuring him which I did not want to have to do.
Overall I did enjoy the book but I was not blown away, so I give it 4 out of 5 stars