Substance of interest the key to Deaver’s “Midnight Lock”; fear versus greed in ‘Reprieve’ – Sun Sentinel

“The Midnight Sluice” by Jeffery Deaver. Putnam, 448 pages, $28

Jeffery Deaver’s series on criminologist Lincoln Rhyme has always been about brain power rather than muscle. A quadriplegic after a work accident, Lincoln can move only one finger, but his intelligence is sharper than ever and his ability to identify criminals is still respected.

But in “The Midnight Lock”, Lincoln’s abilities are questioned and his career as a forensic consultant to the NYPD is threatened. During a gangster murder trial, Lincoln’s testimony on the sand trail – yes, he pretty much knows everything – is discredited. Lincoln knows he’s right, but the defense attorney’s tactics convince several jurors to acquit mobster Viktor Buryak.

Politics comes in as this happens amid a close and nasty race for governor. The New York mayor, who is one of the gubernatorial candidates, forbids relying on civilian consultants, even former police detectives like Lincoln.

Undeterred, Lincoln continues to work in his spare time to uncover the identity of the locksmith, who broke into the women’s apartments, rearranging their belongings and leaving evidence behind so they would know he was. the. So far, there has been no violence, but this is a Jeffery Deaver novel, so it’s only a matter of time.

Deaver continues to fuse solid suspense with character studies in his Lincoln novels, making his 15th appearance in “The Midnight Lock.” Often prickly, Lincoln also has a strong relationship with his team, which included NYPD Detective Amelia Sachs, who is now his wife.

While the police often mention a person of interest, Lincoln focuses on “substance of interest”, in which the criminologist examines objects or materials that were “a strange thing, appearing at a crime scene while there was no reason for her to be there.”

“The Midnight Lock” is tied to strong storytelling.

Listen to the author

Jeffery Deaver discusses ‘The Midnight Lock’, Alison Gaylin discusses ‘The Collective’ and Rachel Howzell Hall discusses her novel ‘These Toxic Things’ as part of the Sun Sentinel PRIME Expo, a free virtual event for adults over 55 and up until November 20. To register or for more information, visit for free registration or more information.

‘Reprie’ by James Han Mattson. Tomorrow, 416 pages, $27.99

The Quigley House combines the best and worst of escape rooms and haunted houses, enticing those who like to be scared but also foodies in “Reprieve,” James Han Mattson’s second novel that smoothly combines genre principles mystery and horror. with issues of race and sexuality.

Located just outside of Lincoln, Neb., the Quigley House doesn’t offer a benign experience with a mannequin or two jumping or fun mirrors. Instead, it’s a full-contact adventure where participants can expect to be physically attacked, drenched in human blood, handcuffed, or even electrocuted or bound with electrical tape. Some clients have limped in pain. The team that gets away with not shouting the safe word “respite” could raise at least $60,000. To date, only one quartet has passed the challenge.

To date, no one has died. But that is about to change.

During the final challenge, hotel manager Leonard Grandton bursts in during the challenge, killing one of the contestants, who all think it’s part of the act. Even Leonard thinks it’s made up.

Leonard was a nice guy, a hotel manager who aspired to own a business. Then he befriended the creepy and manipulative John Forrester, owner of the Quigley, and Leonard began to change, succumbing to the basest of human depravities. It’s not just Leonard whose personality undergoes a drastic alteration. The Quigley’s shadow of doom spreads to everyone who comes into contact with the house or plans to do so.

“Fear is the purest emotion,” says John. “It’s what’s left when everything else is stripped away. … Fear reminds us that life is an illusion,” causing people to “do and say things you never thought you would do or say.” Only one thing “triumphs” over fear: greed.

The chilling plot of “Reprieve” is told in flashbacks narrated by each character and transcripts during Leonard’s trial.

Mattson uses various characters to show how themes of horror, fear, and greed permeate contemporary times in an animated plot.

Oline H. Cogdill can be reached at

Alycia R. Lindley