The Empty Chair Mass Market Paperback – Apr 1 2001
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It's not easy being NYPD detective Lincoln Rhyme, the world's foremost criminalist. First of all, he's a quadriplegic. Secondly, he's forever being second-guessed and mother-henned by his ex-model-turned-cop protégé, Amelia Sachs, and his personal aide, Thom. And thirdly, it seems that he can't motor his wheelchair around a corner without bumping into one crazed psycho-killer after another.
In The Empty Chair, Jeffery Deaver's third Rhyme outing--after 1997's The Bone Collector and 1998's The Coffin Dancer--Rhyme travels to North Carolina to undergo an experimental surgical procedure and is, a jot too coincidentally, met at the door by a local sheriff, the cousin of an NYPD colleague, bearing one murder, two kidnappings, and a timely plea for help. It seems that 16-year-old Garrett Hanlon, a bug-obsessed orphan known locally as the Insect Boy, has kidnapped and probably raped two women, and bludgeoned to death a would-be hero who tried to stop one of the abductions.
Rhyme sets up shop, Amelia leads the local constabulary (easily recognized by their out-of-joint noses) into the field, and, after some Holmesian brain work and a good deal of exciting cat-and-mousing, the duo leads the cops to their prey. And just as you're idly wondering why the case is coming to an end in the middle of the book, Amelia breaks the boy out of jail and goes on the lam. Equally convinced of the boy's guilt and the danger he poses to Amelia, Rhyme has no choice but to aid the police in apprehending the woman he loves--no easy task, as she's the one human being who truly knows the methods of Lincoln Rhyme.
Rhyme's specialty combines the minute scientific analysis of physical evidence gathered from crime scenes and his arcane knowledge of, it would seem, every organic and inorganic substance on earth. Deaver combines engaging narration, believable characters, and his trademark ability to repeatedly pull the rug out from under the reader's feet. Lincoln Rhyme's back all right, and the smart money's betting that his run has just begun. --Michael Hudson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
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)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Why is that? In my opinion, one of the greatest things about Lincoln and Amelia is the feeling of closeness the reader gets when reading about the crippled investigator. Lincoln is always in his state-of-the-art medical bed, surrounded by latest technology forensic equipment, and Amelia is Lincoln's eyes and legs. This combination prooved to be very good and adequate in the first two books.
In "The empty chair", Lincoln and Amelia are not in New York anymore. They have traveled to North Carolina, where Rhyme will undergo a cirurgy that may restore some of his nerve connections. But while wating the cirurgy, the local sheriff asks Lincoln to help him in a murder-kidnapp case. From there, Deaver gives the reader his usually competent plot. The problem is, in this book character development is way below average. It's full of stereotypes. Even Rhyme and Sachs are a little worn out. Other characters are flat and I often confused one with another in the first pages of the book. The final solution of the mistery is simply ridiculous, when you think in Jeffery Deaver's terms. It's the kind of solution used in bad first-books by unknown authors in the eighties. Deaver disappointed me badly with the last hundred pages of "The empty chair".
I hope "The stone monkey" is much better than this one, because Rhyme and Sachs are too good a team to be forsaken.
The interaction between Sachs & Rhyme is still good - even Thom gets to be involved a little more - but the story is simply over the top in terms of who the villains actually are and how the heroes save the day. The reader is also expected to believe that charges against Amelia for manslaughter are dropped because the victim was dirty? Implausible to say the least. Also, the author's technique of having a "personal crisis" in the relationship between Sachs & Rhyme end one chapter and then begin the next chapter with the villain's actions is getting a little tired. The author should have more faith that his work is intriguing enough to get the reader to actually want to finish the book without resorting to gimmicks and chapter-ending cliffhangers.
This book is a disappointment and clearly the weakest in the series...not bad enough to ruin the entire series, however. I'll still read the Rhyme novels -- overall, the series is very, very good!
The story begins with the unlikely duo traveling to North Carolina, where Rhyme is scheduled to undergo a risky and largely experimental surgical procedure that may restore some of his ability to move. As a paraplegic who can only move his head and one finger, it's worth the risk. To Sachs, who loves him just the way he is, it's folly.
Before their separate views on the subject can explode, however, the two are asked into a local case involving a very strange teenaged murderer/kidnapper known as "Insect Boy" for very good reason. Where are the two women he has kidnapped? Are they alive, and if so, for how long? How deadly is the boy whose best friends live in hornets' nests?
Rhyme, as usual, cannot forego a good forensic mystery. And, as usual, Sachs acts as his "legs" at the various crime scenes. But Sachs sees more to the Insect Boy than anybody else--enough to uncharacteristically drop her guard. Can Rhyme save her in time? Or is his own life in danger? Those near and dear to him are in terribly grave danger (no pun intended) and only his brilliant mind can save them--and himself.
I gave this book four stars after much thought, because I thought it was a bit slower to build. But once it did--whew! Another fabulous page-turner from Deaver.
Like many, I was first introduced to Deaver's work when I saw 'The Bone Collector' and figured that even though it was an entertaining movie, that Hollywood (as usual) took enough liberties with the plot to have rendered it not nearly as good as the book -- which in fact was the case. Lincoln's first adventure was simply stunning. I next went to one of my all-time favorite murder/mysteries, 'The Coffin Dancer'...a novel loaded with Deaver's trademark twists & turns and provided me with just about the best surprise ending I have read to date. After that truly amazing literary stunt, I was absolutely hooked on Deaver. I couldn't tell you how much I looked forward to his next voyage with Lincoln and Amelia.
'The Empty Chair' is pretty much everything Deaver has helped us expect out of a seriously scientific-driven murder mystery. Lincoln, who is preparing for a risky surgery which may or may not help give him additional minor mobility gets the call to help locate the Insect Boy, who has kidnapped and is presumably getting ready to kill a young woman. The really interesting thing about 'The Empty Chair' to me was the fact that as brilliant as Lincoln is, being out of New York -- anywhere out of New York, puts him entirely out of his element. Knowing as much about your specific environment is what helps him solve crimes...but down South is about as far away from his comfortable surroundings as Lincoln CAN be. This however does not stop him from his insatiable addiction to taking charge and working with whatever is available to him to solve a crime-in-progress.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
It was fun to get Rhyme out of New York and -- alright I'll admit it -- maybe there are some compromises at the altar of plot twists (Deaver's speciality) but Deaver's ability to... Read morePublished on Aug. 22 2013 by Derek Armstrong
BONE BOX it was only a few pages I felt ripped off, I read more in the excerpt at the end of the last Olsen book I read. Read morePublished on July 7 2013 by JJ
I enjoyed the start and middle of the novel. But then the story starts wrapping up, then reopening, then wrapping up and reopening. Read morePublished on July 6 2011 by Jason Barrett
Oh! There aren't enough words to say how dreadful this novel is! Implausible story! Embarrassingly stereotypical characters! Emotionally challenged women, super-macho men! Read morePublished on Dec 27 2003 by S. Griffin
Lincoln Rhyme, the renowned criminalist from the Bone Collector and the Coffin Dancer, will fcae his ultimate opponent: a kidnapper and murderer dubbed the Insect Boy. Read morePublished on Dec 15 2003 by J. Kirkman
When I read this book, I was kind of dissapointed. Sure, the plotline was well-contructed and suspenseful, and it did keep me up all night to the very last page, but for some... Read morePublished on May 10 2003 by Grant H
OMG, this is the best book ever. I loved it, it kept my interest from page to page. I can re-read this and still find it so interesting. Read morePublished on April 9 2003