“The Steel Kiss” by Jeffery Deaver is a gripping Lincoln Rhyme’s thriller. The plot feeds right into people’s fears. Although technology today plays a large role in everyday life, after reading this, readers will never look on devices the same way. If his goal is to scare the heck out of readers he succeeded beyond comprehension with this novel.
The plot begins with New York City detective Amelia Sachs chasing a suspect through a busy mall. As she is about to apprehend him an escalator malfunctions with horrendous consequences, someone is mangled to death. It becomes evident that a person is hacking into consumer products to kill people, and appears to enjoy watching the suffering, either physically or emotionally. Amelia enlists the help of her boyfriend, famous forensic scientist Lincoln Rhyme to assist in solving the crime. They must race against the clock to catch the perpetrator before he hacks into more appliances and the victim count becomes greater.
The author commented, “I do like to create a world where the killers appear somewhat sympathetic and are complicated characters that have interesting elements; yet are despicable. I chose to show the terror of these consumer products, such as microwaves, baby monitors, and escalators. Who is at fault, the consumer or manufacturer? For example, if someone misuses a car there are consequences. That is different from someone hacking into the control system of a car to cause an accident. I thought about all this and realized how wonderful and what a great way to terrify readers.”
There are many sub-plots in this book. Fans of this series will wonder where the Sachs/Rhyme relationship is headed. Her ex-boyfriend, Nick Carelli has been released from prison and he asks Amelia for help in clearing his name. Another sub-plot involves Officer Ron Pulaski who goes undercover in an attempt to prove Lincoln was not responsible for someone’s murder. This allows Deaver to present readers with a new fascinating character, Juliette Archer, an intern, who is also a quadriplegic. She is vibrant and uses her knowledge of riddles to lighten the mood while everyone attempts to solve the crime. An example of one of her riddles, “Two sons and two fathers go fishing. Each one catches a fish. They return from the trip with only three fish. How can that be?”
“I put in the riddles to give Juliette some quirkiness,” Deaver said. “I decided to give Lincoln someone he can help and mentor. She is quite charming, interesting, and self-confident. The reason I made Lincoln a quadriplegic is to have a character that only has their intellect as a weapon, having Sherlock Holmes skills. This became the book the Bone Collector. Lincoln had to use his mind and intuitive skills, because as a quadriplegic he had no other resources. I had no idea he would be so popular. At first, he was paralyzed from the shoulders down, but after some surgeries he regained certain movements of his right arm and fingers.”
“The Steel Kiss”, as with all Deaver stories has the reader holding their breath as they turn the pages. There are many twists and turns that are so clever it will have people going in one direction only to realize they made a wrong turn. Anyone who wants a creepy, riveting, and action packed story should read this one.