Jeffery Deaver

Roadside Crosses

"...may well make you think twice before logging on to the internet in the future..."


The Monterey Peninsula is rocked when a killer begins to leave roadside crosses beside local highways - not in memoriam, but as announcements of his intention to kill. And to kill in particularly horrific and efficient ways: using the personal details about the victims that they've carelessly posted in blogs and on social networking websites.

The case lands on the desk of Kathryn Dance, the California Bureau of Investigation's foremost kinesics - body language - expert. She and Deputy Michael O'Neil follow the leads to Travis Brigham, a troubled teenager whose role in a fatal car accident has inspired vicious attacks against him on a popular blog, The Chilton Report.

As the investigation progresses, Travis vanishes. Using techniques he learned as a brilliant participant in MMORPGs: Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games, he easily eludes his pursuers and continues to track his victims, some of whom Kathryn is able to save, some not.

Among the obstacles Kathryn must hurdle are politicians from Sacramento, paranoid parents and the blogger himself, James Chilton, whose belief in the importance of blogging and the new media threatens to derail the case and potentially Dance's career. It is this threat that causes Dance to take desperate and risky measures.

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I was eagerly awaiting the return of Kathryn Dance, the FBI Agent with a talent for reading body language. However, for some reason, this novel seems to have lost a little of the excitement and impetus of previous books featuring Dance and, in my opinion, just not quite as gripping or clever as those novels featuring Lincoln Rhyme. Dance's character and personality is beginning to develop significantly the more we read of her, and I would like to read more stories featuring Dance. As the author is Deaver, any reader will know that the plot will never be as simple as you first thought, or that the killer/suspect will not be who we are led to believe, so - in true Deaver form - there is still plenty of guesswork to be done trying to work out who is the killer. There are a lot of technology/computer related references that are set around the crime, and these may well make you think twice before logging on to the internet in the future. In summary, although in my view it is not one of Deaver's best books it is still a very good read. Deaver has the ability to keep the reader interested by knowing that there will always be an unexpected twist that is usually impossible to work out. Reviewed by: H.A.

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