The Bodies Left Behind, Jeffrey Deaver

Friday, June 11, 2010

I've decided that every child in the US should have to take a survival course-you know, one of those courses that teach you how to make fires from rubbing two sticks together or hunt small game with a penknife and a straw (for the blowgun, of course!).  Because if the literary (and horror movie) world is any indication, we are all, one day, going to be running for our lives through the wilderness, being chased by crazy, homicidal maniacs.

Deaver trots out that literary device again in his novel The Bodies Left Behind.  It's the stand-alone story of Brynn McKenzie, sheriff's deputy and domestic abuse survivor.  She is sent out into the woods to a vacation home to check out a 911 call.  She discovers the bodies of two people-Emma and Steven Feldman.  She also discovers the killers, still there, still deadly.  What ensues is a chase through the woods that often stretched the imagination, but provides a pretty decent romp.

I don't think that this book is one of Deaver's best, though I suppose it was enjoyable enough.  Starting with a tired plot device is not a good sign of things to come, and Deaver does not manage to make it fresh.  One of the things that I like about Deaver's Lincoln Rhyme series is the interplay between the characters, and the depth with which they are written.  It is all too easy in a successful series to just turn the characters into one-dimensional representations, but Deaver's characters don't usually feel flat to me.  Well, except in this novel.  I got Brynn the most-she was relate-able to me as a single parent who was trying to let another adult into the parenting scheme.  But even so I felt a certain amount of detachment from all of the characters, and in the end didn't really care too much about any of them.

The story was interesting, though, and there were a few twists that I didn't see coming.  If it wasn't at least mostly entertaining I wouldn't have finished it, after all.  This goes on my "eh" list-if you're a Deaver fan, you should probably read it (if you haven't already, it's a couple years old).  If you've never read Deaver before and want to try his thrillers, start with The Bone Collector-and stick with the Rhyme novels.


  1. Thanks for stopping by my blog-I just became a follower. Have a great weekend!

  2. I am going to check this book out on Goodreads. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Totally agree with you. I much prefer the Lincoln Rhyme series (Kathryn Dancer series is okay and not as good). This one while it was entertaining to read, is definitely not to the same caliber. I don't remember everything, but I remember thinking, this is a planned twist, that Deaver expected us to fall... but then he knew that we knew that he'd planted it and his long-term readers won't fall for something like that, he added on another twist just because he could... while I LOVE twists, the twist within a twist within a twist became too much...

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