The Stone Monkey by Jeffery Deaver
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Author Jeffery Deaver is an amazing storyteller. The topic of illegal immigration right on the tip of everyone’s tongue and certainly the smuggling of Chinese to work in our sweatshops has a long history of crime and violence attached to it. The Snakehead of the smuggling operation fits perfectly into the story as the kind of man who would gladly sacrifice an entire shipload of illegal immigrants in a sinking ship rather than face the possibility of capture by the Coast Guard. Quadriplegic Lincoln Rhyme is a great character, but he works in the background of the novel and doesn’t get my full heartfelt attention. Officer Amelia Sachs is my real love in this book. She’s smart, observant, inquisitive and tough no matter whether the situation is taking her onto a lonesome beach to hunt for survivors of a sinking ship, to diving for evidence in the murky waters of the Atlantic. I would love to be able to give this book a “5” star rating, but author Deaver got in over his head when he puts Amelia into scuba gear and dumps her over the side into a wreck full of dead bodies and floating debris to search for that key piece of evidence. This is the one big “Oops!” in the book. Read the scuba diving exploits of our heroine with a few grains of salt. Any PADI diver with only 25 dives under their belt plus not having been down for a couple of years, who eschews the aide of professional Coast Guard search and rescue professionals by going down to 80 ft., entering an unexplored wreck alone and staying beyond their safety limits for time and air has “death wish” written all over them. Fortunately, Amelia, with the author’s divine license, is able to swing the pendulum of death into success and bring up some key evidence. She then goes on to nail one more Snakehead to the wall in the next twelve chapters in a dramatic enough finale so that I can forgive a ten-page blooper. If you like fast moving intricately plotted action novels with enough who-done-it for a good mystery as well, then this is a novel for you. I highly recommend it. The author has done his due diligence on researching Chinese customs, language, and culture to bring realism and sensitivity to the novel in a way that all will appreciate while still bringing us a ripping good tale.
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