123. Roadside Crosses by Jeffery Deaver

Roadside Crosses by Jeffery Deaver
Kathryn Dance, #2

Pages: 399
Ages: 18+
Finished: Jul. 8 2009
First Published: Jun. 9 '09
Genre: mystery, thriller, suspense
Rating: 4/5

First sentence:

Out of place. The California Highway Patrol trooper, young with bristly yellow hair beneath his crisp hat, squinted through the windshield of his Crown Victoria Police Interceptor as he cruised south along Highway 1 in Monterey Dunes to the right, modest commercial sprawl to the left.

Reason for Reading: It's almost embarrassing to say but I have never read Jeffery Deaver before. But I have wanted to ever since I saw the movie The Bone Collector a very long time ago, it just seems that with so many thriller writers I'm already reading I just never seemed to get around to reading Deaver so when the chance came to read this one, I jumped. I received a review copy from Simon & Schuster Canada.

Comments: Kathryn Dance is the CBI's specialist in kinesics, body language, which makes her a great agent especially when it comes to interviewing suspects and witnesses alike. A cross surrounded by roses is found on the roadside with tomorrow's date written upon it, the trooper who finds it thinks nothing much about it until the next day they find a car parked on the beach which has been there during the coming and going of the tide with a girl locked in the trunk and with her is found a rose petal. More crosses pop up with dates to announce when the next victim will be attacked and each day brings a new victim. A connection comes up between the victims and a teenage boy who is being cyberbullied, especially cruelly on one blog called The Chilton Report. Just when the police find their suspect he disappears and we enter the strange co-existence between the synthetic (online) world and the "real" world through blogging and MMORPGs.

Brilliant. Amazing that an author can carry so many story lines seamlessly and without effort keep the suspense on full tilt all the way through the book. I loved the way the several plot lines run together for more than half the book, then as one get solved there is an about face and the plot rushes in a different direction as the solving of one case only makes it or the others more complex leaving more to be solved. Deaver is very clever, which I'm sure his long time fans already know. But as a first time reader myself, it was exciting to realize this. I was especially tickled with Deaver's deviousness when early in the book I had my eye on a very minor character because of a single word he'd said and through out the book my suspicions about him were deepened with subtle clues until at the end ... well, I won't tell you but I felt like Deaver had created that character for readers like me who often guess the killer in Chapter 2.

I love serial killer books and this one doesn't disappoint. The choices of deaths are imaginative and frightening. It makes for fast reading and long into the night page turning. This book is quite dependant on the first in the series, often speaking of events that previously happened and continuing on with unfinished storylines. Surprisingly, this didn't hamper my reading at all. I easily picked up on what was going on and didn't feel left out though I would highly recommend reading The Sleeping Doll first just as it would be better to be "in the know" to start with before reading this. I intend to go back and read it before book 3 comes out in 2011. But it is because of this heavy reliance on prior events in another book that my rating is a 4 and not otherwise a 5.

The book is also quite interesting in its themes of current internet usage. I've never read a book about blogging before and as a blogger found that the issues dealt with of whether there are any moral and ethical obligations of bloggers who are not answerable to anyone such as mainstream journalist are quite thought-provoking. The book does contain a lot of so-called technical information on blogging, what it is , how it works, which I found very elementary and found myself asking "Are there really people who don't know this stuff?" but later on I found myself realizing that the shoe was on the other foot when the same sort of information was being imparted about MMORPGs, which I didn't even know what it was besides some sort of online game.

Having not read any other books by the author to compare it to, I can't say whether fans will find it up-to-par or not. However, as someone new to Deaver you will find out what a very, very clever suspense author this man is. Now I know I must go back and catch up on his backlist!


  1. I can't wait to read this one! I've read all of Deaver's Lincoln Rhyme books and couple others not in that series, and I've never been disappointed. I hope you'll find more opportunities to read his work. He's excellent!


  2. Would you believe I haven't read a Jeffery Deaver book yet? Like you, I've been meaning to since seeing the movie, The Bone Collector. I am glad you enjoyed this one, Nicola. Looks like I shouldn't put off reading him much longer.

  3. I LOVE Deaver's Lincoln Rhyme series. I actually didn't love THE BONE COLLECTOR movie, because the actors just did not match my vision of Lincoln Rhyme/Amelia Sachs AT ALL. The characters in the books are excellent - unique and interesting.

    I haven't read the Kathryn Dance books, but it sounds like I need to, eh?


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