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
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 problem lies within Deaver's love of plot twists. After a while, they start getting more wearying than interesting (this was a major flaw with "Coffin Dancer" and is even more exacerbated here). As unsuspected villian after unsuspected villian is revealed, I felt completely numbed. I get more excitement watching the various masks taken off the average "Scooby-Doo" bad guy than reading about yet another "(s)he's in on it too?!" revelation.
Another side note, which dropped the book down a notch in my estimate, is the needless pointing out of precautions taken around a bleeding gay man. At this stage of the game, ANY blood should be treated carefully, and the added cautions alluded to by a character (who's supposed to be a friend of the bleeding man, no less) are borderline offensive, at least to this (perhaps overly-PC) reviewer.
Deaver's eye for detail is certainly appreciated, and there's some nice dialogue, but I'm not overly impressed. A decent quick summer read (although it's a bit too long for a quickie), not much more.
This amazing novel features forensic scientist Lincoln Rhyme and assistant Sachs, (a Deaver classic), in this opportunity, trying to find clues and whereabouts of victims around the swamps of North Carolina. The book also provides a reference map before the first chapter to follow Lincoln Rhyme's search.
Suspense, action, insects and characters galore throughout the whole story, but get ready and buckle up...because the best of the best in terms of writing style, twists, turns and "coups de grace" is reserved for the last 200 pages, they are full of "traps" and "surprises". It is remarkable how Deaver plays cunningly with them, making absolutely impossible to outguess him.
Lincoln Rhyme brightness matching Einstein intelligence is clearly shown, but the huge material resources he needs to employ in order to get the key information required to solve the puzzle and confront the bad guys are not, (we have to remember that he is a quadriplegic in a wheelchair with restricted mobility), this is, in my opinion, something that has to be improved in terms of his character drawing, but it is just a very tiny dark spot in this wonderful book of supreme quality
Most recent customer reviews
Ah Jeffrey Deaver never disappoints me, please bring more Lincoln Rhyme, perhaps let him get a bit more mobility?Published 2 months ago by Karin
Delivery was as promised. One of Jefferey Deavers best books.Published 5 months ago by Helene E. Vandeloo
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
If you know Deaver's series about quadriplegic forensic investigator Lincoln Rhyme and his love affair/sidekick ex-model-turned-into-cop Amelia Sachs, you'll realise "The empty... Read morePublished on Jan. 19 2004 by J R Zullo
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