Friday, August 28, 2009

Roadside Crosses

Roadside Crosses
By Jeffery Deaver
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Published: 2009
ISBN-13: 9780340937266
399 pages

Synopsis from the back cover: A highway patrol trooper notices something strange on the side of the road: a homemade cross, fashioned as a memorial. Except the date being 'remembered' is the following day--the day the police find a kidnapped teenage girl in the trunk of a car, left for dead.

Special Agent Kathryn Dance, the kinesics expert with California Bureau of Investigation, is on the case. The teenage victim points her to an online community where accusations fly and the criticism turns from impartial to personal--and vicious. It looks as though the bullying went too far, and one teen has finally snapped.

Then further crosses appear. Now Dance must race against the clock to find the attacker before he can carry out his deadly plans for revenge... in the cyber world and the real.

Page 55: In a surprising vehement tone, Boling said, "We give too much information about ourselves online. Way too much. You know the term 'escribitionist'?"

Fiction Genre: Psychological thriller. Crime.

What led you to pick up this book? I have totally enjoyed the earlier Kathryn Dance thriller (The Sleeping Doll) and when this new book was released in July this year, I bought it without hesitation. It did not disappoint.

Summary of the plot minus spoilers: Please see the synopsis above.

What did you like most about the book? There are lots of twists and turns in the story. This time, Kathryn Dance is up against a perpetrator in areas that she has no clue on: blogging and the Internet. She engages the help of a professor who is a subject matter expert and they both form a great partnership.

There are references to the case in the previous book but you do not need to know what happened in the first book in order to enjoy this one, so please go ahead and indulge. However, Dance's mother does get involved in this instalment for something that happened in the previous book. Therefore, Dance has two areas that demand her attention: her roadside crosses case and her mother's.

I did learn a new term called 'escribitionist' as mentioned in the beginning of this post. It is a term for blogging about yourself. I guess I would fit into this category although I do not disclose personal information such as telephone numbers, addresses, etc. You would never know how the information you posted about yourself is being used by the people "watching" you online. Things to watch out for in revealing are your likes and dislikes, a particular habit or phobia; even revealing about your favourite color could be used against you. This is quite scary, actually.

The book makes me think deeper about the things I choose to reveal online about myself and my friends. But whatever I do, I will always respect their privacy.

What did you like least? I would not say I dislike it, but the novel does go into the technical parts for quite a bit, mostly about reading people because that is what Dance is great for. There is also some explanation on what blogging is about, for the benefit of Dance who is new to the concept.

What did you think of the main character? Kathryn Dance is a brilliant and smart person. She is a good single mother to her young son and daughter. Her FBI husband die in an accident. She reads people very well; after all, she is a kinesics expert.

What about the ending? I liked the ending and the romantic tension/possibility between her and the two men, Dr. Jonathan Boling (the professor) and Michael O'Neil (her unofficial partner at work).

Here is one humorous quote on page 60 in relation to a question asked by Dr Boling who has no background in crime investigation:
He frowned. "Do you call them 'clues' or 'evidence'?"
"You can call 'em broccoli if it helps us find the perp."
"Let's see what the veggies reveal." He gave her another URL.
From here, you will see that whatever that is in your computer hard disk can be recovered: emails, websites browsed, deleted data. The data retrieval exercise in the victim's damaged laptop leads the investigative team to a blog called The Chilton Report, an important start to the case.

Would you recommend this book? Yes. I think people who blog would be able to appreciate it better, but if you are not, don't fret. I believe you would still enjoy it.

Would you read more books by this author? Yes. I am looking forward to more of Kathryn Dance thrillers, but the next one is said to be released sometime in 2011!

Would you re-read the book? Perhaps. I would refer back to certain pages for references to human behavior.

Related Post: Teaser Tuesdays