Review

The Broken Window: A Lincoln Rhyme Novel

by Jeffery Deaver

Jeffery Deaver never disappoints. His latest work, THE BROKEN
WINDOW, marks the return of Lincoln Rhyme, one of the most unique
characters in contemporary thriller fiction, as he battles a serial
murderer who has the advantage of knowing everything. About
everyone.

Lincoln’s adversary in THE BROKEN WINDOW is not so much
invisible as indiscernible, hiding in plain sight and using
cyberspace, particularly all of the information contained within it
to carry out his plans. He is able to get close to his murder
victims by gaining access to the most intimate and minute details
of their lives and then killing them --- and more --- when they are
at their most vulnerable. The additional aspect of his crime, which
is equally frightening, is that, after committing a murder, he
leaves detailed clues that inexorably lead the police, who have an
airtight case, to the front door of an innocent and quickly
bewildered party.

Lincoln becomes aware of the fiend’s existence only
indirectly when a rape and murder is pinned on Arthur, his cousin.
Lincoln and Arthur, once close as brothers, have been estranged for
many years, and Lincoln is drawn into the case only with great
reluctance after being contacted by Arthur’s wife, who is
profoundly convinced of her husband’s innocence. Lincoln
examines the case against his cousin and is convinced that it is
almost too perfect. Researching similar murder cases in which the
police seemed to have been pointed to a particular
suspect, Lincoln discerns the existence of a hidden hand
behind the killings, one that commits the crime while diverting
suspicion elsewhere. Dubbing the unknown subject “522”,
Lincoln realizes that the unknown mastermind has to have an almost
universal knowledge of not only his victim but also his
diversionary target.

The investigation ultimately leads to Strategic Systems Datacorp
(SSD), a data mining company with an Orwellian ability to gather,
collate and interpret data on anyone and everyone, for the purposes
of reporting both an individual’s historical behavior and
their future performance. Several clocks are kept ticking
throughout Deaver’s fast-paced narrative: Arthur is in dire
straits in prison, a fish out of water; 522 continues his crime
spree; and Lincoln’s own office and its personnel, including
his lover, Amelia Sachs, are at risk from a criminal who can strike
at them from anywhere at anytime, without even having to leave his
room.

Deaver continues to impress, dazzle, delight and, perhaps most
significantly, frighten. While Lincoln’s not-inconsiderable
handicap is certainly present in the narrative, it is not the
author’s primary focus. Lincoln’s intellect, combined
with his multi-abled team and ever-present technology, result in a
swift-paced, if not always sure, pursuit of 522. Deaver also
provides some background information concerning Lincoln’s
past, some of it bittersweet but all of it realistic. And, as with
his other works, THE BROKEN WINDOW is meticulously researched, to
the point that one comes away from reading it with the feeling that
someone, somewhere, knows everything about everyone and can gather
it just at the push of a button.

If you weren’t paranoid before reading THE BROKEN WINDOW,
then you will be afterward.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on January 7, 2011

The Broken Window: A Lincoln Rhyme Novel
by Jeffery Deaver

  • Publication Date: June 10, 2008
  • Genres: Fiction, Thriller
  • Hardcover: 417 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • ISBN-10: 1416549978
  • ISBN-13: 9781416549970