Jeffery Deaver Electrically Charges Thrillers

An electrician goes postal in this latest case of brilliant villainy for Lincoln Rhyme, the insightful criminalist who directs his investigation from a wheelchair.

The Burning Wire: A Lincoln Rhyme Novel

Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Length: 414 pages
Author: Jeffrey Deaver
Price: $26.99
Format: Hardcover
Publication date: 2010-06

If it was mystery author Jeffery Deaver's intention to give new meaning to the phrase "an electrically charged thriller," he couldn't have generated a more powerful expression of it than the case of arch misuse of watts and amperes at the center of The Burning Wire. As the master of the scientific/technological approach to crime solving, he's outdone himself with a form of weaponry and mass destruction we haven't encountered before -- virtual bombs of electric energy directed at a target at a surge level that's lethal.

When the first of these sends a bolt of juice from a Manhattan power substation into a bus, killing a passenger, it causes criminalist Lincoln Rhyme to sit up in his wheelchair. What sort of demented individual would, or could, do such a thing, and what is this "unsub" ("unknown subject" in Rhyme-speak) after?

Working in his combination Manhattan apartment and state-of-the-art forensic lab, quadriplegic Rhyme, paralyzed from the waist down, runs his cases with a team of NYPD officers (including an overenthusiastic rookie cop), a few seasoned detectives, FBI men, lab techs, a devoted professional caregiver and his beloved field agent Amelia Sachs, a red-headed beauty. Often ornery, he's typically as demanding of himself as he is of his specialized crew. He now puts them to work on finding the mass murderer in their midst.

The wily villain is a dangerous match for Rhyme, leaving few clues as he ups his murder count with increasingly sophisticated and intensified electrical attacks, each grander, less expected and more sizzling than the last.

The investigation leads to Algonquin Consolidated Power and Light whose megawatts are being used to light up the city in devastating ways, and to just the kind of man with the necessary expertise to pull this off: a retired “Troubleman.”

Meanwhile Rhyme ponders a risky advanced medical procedure that holds the promise of improving his destiny...or end it altogether.

There is scarcely a more formulaic mystery writer than Deaver, whose love of brainpower invests his character with insights that are legendary with an investigatory language and culture all his own. He's been described as "the most creative, skilled and intriguing thriller writer in the world" by the Daily Telegraph and "the master of ticking-bomb suspense" by People magazine.

His cases hew closely to a set of characters employing a repeated methodology (this is his ninth Lincoln Rhyme foray) designed as vehicles of ingenuity between masterminds on both sides of the legal/criminal divide. In a Deaver novel our familiarity with the repeated elements of crime fiction is used to setup the author's intricately woven, evasive twists. A magician's misdirection and the formulaic genius of his plots is what his readers come for.

Deaver has just been named the continuation author of the James Bond series. Small wonder. But it raises a question: Is he looking for a way to cut Rhyme short or to give his hero some sort of second chance?

Fans will not want to miss this sparkling salvo of lightening bolts nor the next book, which promises a critical turning point for our perfectionist on wheels.







The Devonns' Debut Is a Love Letter to Chicago Soul

Chicago's the Devonns pay tribute the soul heritage of their city with enough personality to not sound just like a replica.


Jaye Jayle's 'Prisyn' Is a Dark Ride Into Electric Night

Jaye Jayle salvage the best materials from Iggy Pop and David Bowie's Berlin-era on Prisyn to construct a powerful and impressive engine all their own.


Kathleen Edwards Finds 'Total Freedom'

Kathleen Edwards is back making music after a five-year break, and it was worth the wait. The songs on Total Freedom are lyrically delightful and melodically charming.


HBO's 'Lovecraft Country' Is Heady, Poetic, and Mangled

Laying the everyday experience of Black life in 1950s America against Cthulhuian nightmares, Misha Green and Jordan Peele's Lovecraft Country suggests intriguing parallels that are often lost in its narrative dead-ends.


Jaga Jazzist's 'Pyramid' Is an Earthy, Complex, Jazz-Fusion Throwback

On their first album in five years, Norway's Jaga Jazzist create a smooth but intricate pastiche of styles with Pyramid.


Finding the Light: An Interview with Kathy Sledge

With a timeless voice that's made her the "Queen of Club Quarantine", Grammy-nominated vocalist Kathy Sledge opens up her "Family Room" and delivers new grooves with Horse Meat Disco.


'Bigger Than History: Why Archaeology Matters'

On everything from climate change to gender identity, archaeologists offer vital insight into contemporary issues.


'Avengers: Endgame' Culminates 2010's Pop Culture Phenomenon

Avengers: Endgame features all the expected trappings of a superhero blockbuster alongside surprisingly rich character resolutions to become the most crowd-pleasing finalés to a long-running pop culture series ever made.


Max Richter's 'VOICES' Is an Awe-Inspiring and Heartfelt Soundscape

Choral singing, piano, synths, and an "upside-down" orchestra complement crowd-sourced voices from across the globe on Max Richter's VOICES. It rewards deep listening, and acts as a global rebuke against bigotry, extremism and authoritarianism.


DYLYN Dares to "Find Myself" by Facing Fears and Life's Dark Forces (premiere + interview)

Shifting gears from aspiring electropop princess to rock 'n' rule dream queen, Toronto's DYLYN is re-examining her life while searching for truth with a new song and a very scary-good music video.


JOBS Make Bizarre and Exhilarating Noise with 'endless birthdays'

Brooklyn experimental quartet JOBS don't have a conventional musical bone in their body, resulting in a thrilling, typically off-kilter new album, endless birthdays.


​Nnamdï' Creates a Lively Home for Himself in His Mind on 'BRAT'

Nnamdï's BRAT is a labyrinth detailing the insular journey of a young, eclectic DIY artist who takes on the weighty responsibility of reaching a point where he can do what he loves for a living.


Monte Warden and the Dangerous Few Play It Cool​

Austin's Monte Warden and the Dangerous Few perform sophisticatedly unsophisticated jazz/Americana that's perfect for these times


Eleanor Underhill Takes Us to the 'Land of the Living' (album stream)

Eleanor Underhill's Land of the Living is a diverse album drawing on folk, pop, R&B, and Americana. It's an emotionally powerful collection that inspires repeated listens.


How Hawkwind's First Voyage Helped Spearhead Space Rock 50 Years Ago

Hawkwind's 1970 debut opened the door to rock's collective sonic possibilities, something that connected them tenuously to punk, dance, metal, and noise.


Graphic Novel 'Cuisine Chinoise' Is a Feast for the Eyes and the Mind

Lush art and dark, cryptic fables permeate Zao Dao's stunning graphic novel, Cuisine Chinoise.


Alanis Morissette's 'Such Pretty Forks in the Road' Is a Quest for Validation

Alanis Morissette's Such Pretty Forks in the Road is an exposition of dolorous truths, revelatory in its unmasking of imperfection.


Hip-Hop's Raashan Ahmad Talks About His Place in 'The Sun'

On his latest work,The Sun, rapper Raashan Ahmad brings his irrepressible charisma to this set of Afrobeat-influenced hip-hop.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.