Title: The Burning Wire
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Hardback: 412 pages
Publication Date: 22/07/2010
Being a naturally cautious and safety conscious person, I have to admit that I was left in a cold sweat by the horrifically ingenious method of murder in Jeffery Deaver’s latest novel, The Burning Wire. Someone is holding New York to ransom with a series of attacks that kill indiscriminately, using manipulation of the electrical grid to cause widespread panic. After New York’s recent past, the police and FBI begin to suspect that the attacks are the work of an eco-terrorist group, but Lincoln Rhyme isn’t convinced and his team sifts through the forensic evidence looking for clues to lead them to the perpetrator. It soon becomes apparent to them that it is not terrorists, but a ruthless and extremely clever individual who is behind the siege on the city. But the killer seems to be constantly one step ahead of them, and Rhyme himself has his attention divided between this case and reported sightings in Mexico of the assassin known as The Watchmaker.
The notion of electricity as a weapon is deeply disturbing, and one that Deaver utilizes to its maximum potential with some gruesome descriptions of people dying. Deaver has obviously done a lot of research of how electricity works, and whilst the acronyms, technical terms and explanations of how the electrical grid operates undoubtedly adds authenticity to the novel, at times there is just so much information that the reader becomes overwhelmed and the pace of the book slows. And at one point even Rhyme becomes exasperated with the dense and confusing number of electrical terms that other characters are bandying around [although Rhyme being curmudgeonly and moody about something isn’t really a turn up for the books!].
Nevertheless, The Burning Wire is still a really enjoyable read, with Deaver once again showing why he is a master of plot twists – often leaving enough clues for the reader to believe that they have out-guessed him, before pulling out a revelation that is a complete surprise. Be warned though, you’ll never look at a lift button or a revolving door in the same way after you have read this novel!