About Me

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Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada
I am a lawyer in Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada who enjoys reading, especially mysteries. Since 2000 I have been writing personal book reviews. This blog includes my reviews, information on and interviews with authors and descriptions of mystery bookstores I have visited. I strive to review all Saskatchewan mysteries. Other Canadian mysteries are listed under the Rest of Canada. As a lawyer I am always interested in legal mysteries. I have a separate page for legal mysteries. Occasionally my reviews of legal mysteries comment on the legal reality of the mystery. You can follow the progression of my favourite authors with up to 15 reviews. Each year I select my favourites in "Bill's Best of ----". As well as current reviews I am posting reviews from 2000 to 2011. Below my most recent couple of posts are the posts of Saskatchewan mysteries I have reviewed alphabetically by author. If you only want a sentence or two description of the book and my recommendation when deciding whether to read the book look at the bold portion of the review. If you would like to email me the link to my email is on the profile page.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Kill Room by Jeffery Deaver

The Kill Room by Jeffery Deaver – Lincoln Rhyme is adjusting to the physical freedom gained from an operation to his right arm which has restored some feeling and the ability to use the hand and arm. Deaver examines the impact of modern medicine partially reversing the effects of crippling injuries. What happens to someone physically and emotionally who has regained physical abilities thought permanently lost?

More mobile, but still as irascible as ever, Rhyme is sought out by Assistant D.A., Nance Laurel, to assist in the investigation of the killing of an anti-American activist, Robert Moreno, in the Bahamas.

He has been killed by a sniper bullet that smashed the window of his hotel room. Two other men in the room bled to death from the shards of glass blown about the room as the powerful bullet shattered the window.

Ordinarily a murder in another country would not be the subject of a New York state prosecutor. Moreno’s death has been Laurel’s interest because of a whistleblower email that a secretive American intelligence agency, the National Intelligence and Operations Service (NIOS), using flawed information has killed Moreno. The State of New York is pursuing the killer because Moreno, despite his anti-American rants, was an American citizen. Nance has been assigned to build the case for a conspiracy to murder charge.

If she can establish the killing was outside the authority given to NIOS the State of New York will charge those responsible. Killing an American can cause prosecution. Killing a non-citizen is not an issue for a state court.

Deaver thus delves into the murky legal and moral right of America to kill those it considers its enemy wherever they are located in the world. It was timely reading the book as an American drone aircraft was reported to have killed two people in Yemen as I finished reading the book.

Where earlier books in the series were fascinating assemblies of forensic evidence to solve crimes The Kill Room examines an important current legal issue.

While the New York City police department and the District Attorney’s office seek to maintain secrecy through running the case out of Rhyme’s home NIOS almost instantly knows of the investigation.

Both the police/D.A. and NIOS use unauthorized datamining to find information. Deaver is touching upon another thorny American issue, the right of governments to spy upon their people without the checks of statute and public court consents. Deaver makes it clear that the security and proper use of vast American tapping of phone and other electronic communication is dependent on the integrity of those conducting the surveillance.

Rhyme is hampered as the crime scene is thousands of kilometers away and the Royal Bahamian Police are unenthusiastic about sharing information concerning a killing they consider the work of Venezuelan drug cartels.

In New York City Amelia Sachs is diligently aiding Rhyme though the effects of osteoarthritis are becoming more severe. She can no longer walk without pain.

As she starts to search out information concerning Moreno’s recent trip to New York City there is a chilling development. Someone is trying to remove all evidence and witnesses that might lead to the killer.

Can it be that a federal American agency is willing to kill American citizens so that its actions in protecting America’s security can be concealed?

Where the initial forensic evidence is limited it builds during the book to the extent, as usual in this series, that it is hard to analyze all of the facts. Deaver is among the world’s most gifted authors at giving the facts that will lead to conclusions but I rarely make the correct deductions from his facts.

Deaver does not take one-sided view on the extra-judicial killing by the United States government. It is among his most challenging books. Deaver a grandmaster of deception and layered plots. As common with his books there were unnecessary extra twists near the end. It is a mystery that compels the reader to think. (Aug. 10/13)


  1. Is this a recent release? it sounds so from the issues being explored. I enjoyed the early novels in this series but it's one of those series I abandoned after 4 or 5 instalments...you've tempted me to dip my toe in the water again.

  2. Bernadette: It is a 2013 book. I have enjoyed the Lincoln Rhyme series. I have not found his books outside the series as good. If you start The Kill Room you will find your whole body in the water!

  3. Bill - It will indeed be interesting to see how Rhyme adjusts to some increased mobility. And the novel seems to raise some important and disturbing questions about what governments do and don't have the right to do...

  4. Margot: Thanks for the comment. As I have watched American intelligence services expand and gain power I have wondered where it will end for your country.

  5. Bill, I'd like to read this novel because of its contemporariness, in particular the drone attacks on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, America's right to hunt down its enemies in other countries, spying on its own people, and the recent whistle-blower case, among other issues, which reflect the paranoia that has gripped the world's most powerful country. Indeed, I can imagine the research that has gone into this book. I have never read a Jeffery Deaver book and I hope to read one soon.

  6. Prashant: Thanks for the comment. I hope you do read a Lincoln Rhyme book. He is a wonderful character. I agree paranoia has taken over from healthy fear in America.

  7. Bill, I am going backwards through your posts so now I see you have a full review of this book here. It is good to hear that you have liked all of the books in this series. I have probably mentioned before that I have only read the first in the series, but I have the next two and plan to continue it.

  8. TracyK: Thanks for the comment. Deaver is among the most clever writers of crime fiction. I think you will become addicted to the series.