"1984" and "Brave New World" gave us a brief glimpse of the world they feared we were creating but "The Broken Window" takes it over the top. Every reader will shiver as they come to grips with the realization of just how much the state likely knows about their life.
In "The Broken Window", Jeffrey Deaver has pitted Lincoln Rhyme, his famous paraplegic forensic consultant, against his most elusive foe to date - "Unsub 522", a deeply disturbed obsessive-compulsive hoarder, an ingenious data-miner, a psychopathic serial killer and "the man who knows everything". The chilling theme of this novel is data - information, storage and retrieval, tracking, privacy, identity and just who has access to what. Unsub 522 is an ingenious master of the dreaded crime of the 21st century - identity theft! He steals data, reconstructs people's lives, destroys some information, rearranges the rest and is even capable of planting legitimate evidence framing an unsuspecting victim for his own brutal serial murders. Arthur Rhyme, Lincoln's estranged cousin, is one of these victims. When he is arrested, his wife pleads with Lincoln to investigate. She and Lincoln both know that, despite the overwhelming evidence against him, Arthur is not the killer that the police suspect him to be.
If you have ever experienced a frisson of paranoia about who is looking over your shoulder, you might want to think twice about reading "The Broken Window". If you insist on reading Deaver's novel despite my warning, your little shiver will blossom into a full blown fear that will sit in the pit of your stomach and keep you awake at nights wondering who is looking into the metaphorical windows of your life.
In short, "The Broken Window" is a first rate thriller with a gut-wrenching theme. But Deaver has also gone above and beyond the call of duty as an author and has brought his protagonists into the real world with a characterization and history that almost brought tears to my eyes. We learn the story of Lincoln Rhyme's father and his brilliant uncle. We discover why he hasn't spoken to his cousin for years. And have you ever wondered about the idea of a paraplegic having sex? In an absolutely fabulous sidebar that doesn't have the slightest scintilla of prurient voyeurism about it, Deaver explains how a paraplegic is capable of a loving relationship that includes a fully functional sexual relationship.
Highly recommended and then some!