Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Trouble in Mind

by Jeffery Deaver
479 pgs

I enjoy a good short story. I like the fact that I find myself thrown into a story mid-action, and in most cases, hanging on for a quick, and hopefully entertaining ride. Authors who are good at writing them have the ability to get you emotionally invested in the character quickly, without provide much, if any, of their life's backstory. Ray Bradbury and Stephen King are two of the best at writing them. I give Jeffery Deaver high marks as well. A typical book by Deaver is filled with misdirection and surprise twists in the plotline, and his short stories are no different--he just does it at an accelerated pace.

Trouble in Mind is the third collection of Deaver's short stories. And I think it contains some of his best so far. They're all worth the short time it takes to read them, but a couple of them are worth singling out: A Textbook Case is a Lincoln Rhyme story where the perpetrator uses the book Rhymes wrote himself to train detectives on how to find and analyze crime-scene evidence against Rhyme and his team and intentionally leaves as much planted evidence as he can. The Weapon is a very timely story involving a U.S. military interrogator who uses unethical techniques to extract information from his prisoners in order to protect his country from terrorist threats. Finally, Forever involves a string of suspicious suicides committed by elderly individuals and couples who showed no signs of depression beforehand, nor did they seem to have a reason to end their lives.

As a whole, Trouble in Mind is worth reading. Deaver branches out a little from his standard crime mystery format in some of the stories and pulls it off quite well. The stories quickly engage you and if you're not familiar with Deaver's writing, you'll soon realize that you can't assume while you're reading, that you know where the story is ultimately going to end up.

★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

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