Book name: The Midnight Lock
Author: Jeffrey Deaver
Publisher: Harper Collins
Format: Print, ebook, audiobook
Genre: Crime fiction
Publication Date: 2021
Star Rating: 5/5
The Midnight Lock is a ‘Lincoln Rhyme’ thriller set in New York.
When The Midnight Lock begins, Lincoln is giving evidence in a murder trial.
The jury return a not-guilty verdict, largely because of the defence attorney’s suggestion that material on the wheels of Lincoln’s wheelchair has contaminated samples in his laboratory.
Lincoln’s frustration with the acquittal grows when the police respond by deciding not to employ contractors for any forensics work.
He’s out of a job, but his wife Amelia Sachs is a detective and she’s still working on all the cases he most wants to see solved.
The police issue dire warnings about anyone sharing case details with Lincoln. Naturally, everyone ignores those warnings completely.
This is partly because of their natural temperaments, and partly because they all have an urgent case to solve.
A peeping tom is breaking into apartments in New York when young women are sleeping there alone.
The victims are devastated by these intrusions.
There is nothing trivial about knowing that a stranger has watched you sleeping, moved items around your apartment and helped themselves to your belongings.
Courtesy of the perpetrators’ impressive abilities to break into apartments with excellent security, the individual earns the nickname The Locksmith.
The intrusions continue, and we sometimes see other intrusive behaviour that has not yet been reported to the police.
Lincoln and Amelia are determined to solve the case. They believe that it’s only a matter of time before the already intensely disturbing pattern of offending escalates into physical or sexual assaults, or worse.
Occasionally told from the perspective of the carefully anonymised Locksmith, and at other times from Lincoln and Amelia’s points of view, The Locksmith provided a glimpse into the genesis of an offender as well as the minds of law-enforcement agencies and forensic scientists.
The plot contained the obligatory twist to keep the ending fresh, but the outcome was credible and carefully foreshadowed.
The focus on a series of offences that fall short of the near-obligatory murder in a crime thriller was unusual but highly welcome. This gave the reader space to explore the reasons for such a pattern of offending and the understandable response of the victims.
The Midnight Lock was a great story. Lincoln was his usual uncompromising self and Amelia was an integral part of the plot. The many details about locks were fascinating, since most readers won’t have that depth of knowledge at their fingertips.
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