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Tuesday, 15 September 2009
The Sleeping Doll
by Jeffery Deaver
The Sleeping Doll is a crime thriller, the first one featuring Special Agent Kathryn Dance, whose speciality is interviewing suspects and using kinesics to read their body language. Anyone who's seen the TV series Lie To Me with Tim Roth will know the sort of thing I'm talking about.
I found this to be a fascinating new approach to crime fiction - new to me, anyway. The plot, as I've now come to expect with this author, was very tight and had plenty of unexpected twists and turns. You do expect there to be some twists, but you'll never second guess what they are.
Despite the engaging plot and story development, I found the overall pace to be a bit slow. This was particularly noticeable near the beginning, once the excitement of the initial events wore off (I won't spoil it by saying what happens). Later on it picks up and then accelerates even further towards the end. This more than made up for the earlier dip.
Although the book is subtitled "Introducing Kathryn Dance", Deaver fans will have met her once before in The Cold Moon, one of the Lincoln Rhyme novels. Rhyme makes a brief cameo in The Sleeping Doll as well.
That said, The Sleeping Doll feels like a spin-off and slightly inferior to the Rhyme series. Perhaps, given time, the Dance series will gain the same status. A disappointment for me, and it's a relatively small one, was that the supporting cast seem rather two-dimensional compared with the well-developed main characters. The principal criminal, Daniel Pell, was particularly well drawn. A very nasty piece of work but scarily believable!
Reviewed by Captain Black