THE BURNING WIRE

Written by Jeffrey Deaver

Review written by Adrian Magson

Adrian Magson is the author of 22 crime and spy thrillers. His next book ‘Rocco and the Nightingale’ (The Dome Press) - the fifth in his French police series set in Picardie in the 1960s, is out on 19 October in h/b, p/b and ebook. More information https://www.adrianmagson.com/


THE BURNING WIRE
Hodder & Stoughton
RRP: £18.99
Released: 22nd July 2010
Hbk
Someone is playing games with the city of New York’s power grid. Someone who knows what they are doing and is threatening to put the city into shut-down. And in an atmosphere where terrorism is ever-present, it’s not unreasonable that Homeland Security are looking one way when they see the dangers at hand, not just for homeowners and businesses if the city gets blacked out, but for the greater economy. 

For Lincoln Rhyme, however, things are never so simple or obvious. Alongside his on-going hunt for mass-murderer ‘The Watchmaker’, Richard Logan, down in Mexico, the first thing Rhyme does is to understand how the threat was made and, more importantly, carried out. The first thing he realises is just how complex this situation is.Through the investigation (and JD’s research, which is impressive), we find out a huge amount about electricity, and how lethal it can be. Not just on a touch a live wire with a damp finger and you’ll get more than a little buzz, but the startling fact that electricity can be aimed just like a rifle. Unlike a rifle, it can deliver a devastating amount of death and destruction in one ‘hit’. 

As someone new to Jeffery Deaver’s novels, and one who prefers the protagonists I’m reading about to be up and doing rather than static and therefore forced to employ others to be out and about, I wasn’t sure how I would get to grips with Lincoln Rhyme. He’s tetchy, he’s impatient, he’s arrogant and really doesn’t care for social chit-chat. And he can’t get out there himself to fight the baddies. But he has a team which does, and I soon found myself drawn in by the interaction of the team members, especially his companion, Amelia Sachs; so much so that Rhyme’s lack of movement didn’t, in the end, matter a jot. He was directing operations, but rather than being a puppeteer, he was somehow always there.  

I don’t have much of a head for things scientific, but oddly enough, found the considerable detail of all things electrical surprisingly interesting. And I could see why: it’s a major part of the plot, therefore it couldn’t have been left to a few lines of explanation about how many thousands of volts will kill you. It needed to be complex to make it the threat that it was.  And it worked. This is not a book you can skim through in a brief sitting. And nor should you. It’s absorbing, it’s horribly realistic, it’s a great who-is-doing-it?

Recommended.

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