Jeffrey Deaver – A Maiden’s Grave

I’d heard much about Deaver before looking out some of his works, and as I added a few of his books to my wish list my girlfriend pointed something out, she bought one of his books ages ago and it was on the shelf behind me. That night it was sitting on my bedside table and I started to read. I wasn’t disappointed.

From the opening paragraph the action kicks off, and not at the expense of characterisation or storyline either, and that’s something I noticed about this novel was that the characters were built through the situations they were in without a distraction from the story or the the rising tension. It’s expertly done. So often are you pulled out of the story to delve into some dreary pages of the characters past, showing how he made the decision he just has or is about to, and it takes you straight out of the story and breaks the tension. Not here, the characterisation is woven along with the events and keeps the tension running at a rising pace.

The story is all based around a hostage situation where the FBI Hostage negotiation team are called in to manage the situation. There’s tension on all levels, not just between the hostage takers and the FBI, but also amongst the team, the local Police, the State Police, the Hostage rescue teams, the list goes on. It provides for one taught situation after another.

What surprised me is how it escalated from a single demand with an hour to be met to an entire book, and you hardly notice, you’re racing along with the plot just ramping up the tension chapter after chapter. This is a really good thriller.

It also provides an interesting insight into the psychology of hostage takers and negotiators, and you can feel your sympathy for them and your understanding of their methods shift heavily as their results are witnessed. There’s another point as well, there’s not always an explanation of why or what has happened, you have to wait for the action of the hostage takers before you see why the negotiators chose those methods. You begin not agreeing with what they are doing, until you understand that is.

The only criticism I could offer is that the ending seems somewhat hurried, I don’t mean spoiled because it is really tense and there are twists galore, but with the end of the situation comes the end of the book. Excellent movie material that’s for sure.

Excellent thriller and well worth the read. I’m very pulled towards Deaver now and when I get through the current spate of books I’ll be back to read some of his other work.

A Maiden’s Grave – Jeffrey Deaver on Amazon UK

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