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The Broken Window: A Lincoln Rhyme Novel    by Jeffery Deaver order for
Broken Window
by Jeffery Deaver
Order:  USA  Can
Simon & Schuster, 2008 (2008)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Lincoln Rhyme and Amelia Sachs are back in The Broken Window, on the trail of a particularly sinister serial killer who's an expert in data mining. It's not just a matter of identity theft but of the insertion of false - and very destructrive - fabrications of reality into an existing identity. He applies that skill not only to con and trap his victims (using his knowledge of the details of their lives to create the trust that allows him to close in for the kill) but also to arrange for others to be convicted of his crimes ... and one of those falsely accused is Lincoln's estranged cousin Arthur.

With part of his attention on an ongoing operation in England - aimed at capturing a professional killer he had been pursuing for some time - Lincoln is persuaded by his cousin's wife Judy to look into the (seemingly open and shut, given the finding of the victim's blood in his car) case that has left Arthur Rhyme jailed and awaiting trial for murder. As Lincoln digs deep - with the usual assist from Amelia, her young protegée Pam Willoughby, and Ron Pulaski - he becomes convinced that his cousin was cleverly set up. They look for - and find - other similar cases.

Following the trail from a brand new murder leads the good guys to a previous victim, a paranoid bum named Robert Jorgensen who used to be a happily married orthopedic surgeon before someone played godlike power games with his life. Now he sees himself as Job and seeks his tormentor, whom he calls God. The data mining trail also leads to Strategic Systems Datacorp, 'the pre-eminent Knowledge Service Provider on earth'. Rhyme's team is soon convinced that the perp is somehow associated with the organization.

Of course, as Lincoln and company hunt the killer, this very smart and data savvy villain strikes back hard. He also begins to play havoc with all their lives, piling on the pressure and isolating them, setting up scenarios to take them out one by one. He muses that 'Death is one type of transaction guaranteed to slow your pursuers down, but the nonlethal tactics can be just as effective and are, to me, far more elegant.' He targets them with both types of tactics.

Jeffery Deaver dedicates The Broken Window 'To a dear friend, the written word', which is apt given his mastery of it. I enjoyed this episode in one of my favorite thriller series not only for its very timely theme and the usual exceptional twisty plot, but also for the insights Deaver gives his readers into Lincoln's family background (including an early episode of computer fraud) and the development of Ron's character as well as Amelia's and Pam's relationship. As always, I can't wait for the next Lincoln Rhyme chiller and highly recommend this one to you.

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