The Empty Chair

Jeffery Deaver, Author Simon & Schuster $25 (416p) ISBN 978-0-684-85563-9
Lincoln Rhyme, the gruff quadriplegic detective and forensic expert of Bone Collector fame, strays far from his Manhattan base to a spooky North Carolina backwater in this engrossing and outlandish tale about the hunt for evil. The hick town is called Tanner's Corner, where Rhyme--in North Carolina for experimental surgery--has been called by the local sheriff to oversee the search for a kidnapper and his victims. The kidnapper is 16-year-old Garrett Hanlon, a local youth of ill repute whose obsession with bugs has earned him the nickname ""The Insect Boy."" His captives are Mary Beth McConnell, who Hanlon has stalked for months, and local nurse Lydia Johansson, who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. A marathon chase ensues across North Carolina's perilous swampland by sheriff deputies and Rhyme's assistant and lover, Amelia Sachs. Rhyme, a former New York City cop whose on-the-job injury several years earlier left him with movement in only one finger, directs the search from his wheelchair at sheriff headquarters. As he examines forensic evidence from the crime scenes and points along the search route, Rhyme grows increasingly suspicious about which players are the good guys and which are masking their evil intentions. The story grows heavy in the middle, but eventually takes several of Deaver's trademark twists, cleverly camouflaged for maximum effect. The characters surrounding Rhyme in his third adventure are colorful, back-country cutouts who serve their purpose well. In the end, it's all a bit hard to swallow--particularly the ultimate revelations about Tanner's Corner and its strange inhabitants--but for thrills and surprises, Deaver is still aces. Agent, Deborah Schneider. Major ad/promo; Literary Guild and Mystery Guild main selections; Doubleday Book Club super release; Reader's Digest Condensed Books selection. (May)
Reviewed on: 05/01/2000
Release date: 05/01/2000
Genre: Fiction
Hardcover - 978-0-684-01200-1
Compact Disc - 978-0-7927-9951-1
Hardcover - 624 pages
Ebook - 416 pages - 978-0-7432-1165-9
Paperback - 594 pages - 978-0-340-76749-8
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-7435-0052-4
Hardcover - 978-0-684-01201-8
Hardcover - 416 pages - 978-0-7432-0162-9
Mass Market Paperbound - 512 pages - 978-0-671-02601-1
Paperback - 512 pages - 978-0-7434-9988-0
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-7435-1961-8
Paperback - 496 pages - 978-0-340-96058-5
Paperback - 472 pages - 978-957-33-2915-2
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-4423-5362-6
Mass Market Paperbound - 511 pages - 978-1-4767-3777-5
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