Today I am delighted to share my thoughts on Scheme, a new novella from author Jeffery Deaver. A lovely little filler whilst I waited patiently for the new Colter Shaw novel later this year. Here’s what it’s all about:
About the Book
A detective tracks a poetry-obsessed serial bomber—meter by deadly meter—in an explosively clever short story by international bestselling author Jeffery Deaver.
When an improvised explosive device is found outside a hospital, the understaffed Middleton PD knows it’s up against a pro. No one takes credit for the sophisticated device—all that Detective Jake Sloan has to go on is a poem. The cryptic rhyme surfaced shortly after the bomb scare. But ex-soldier and football player Sloan has never been much of a poetry buff. When a second verse turns up, containing a message in code, he solicits the help of English professor Ciara Hawkins. Together, they rush to read between the lines and stop the countdown to tragedy. But as the clock ticks, Sloan senses that beneath this complex case is a motive that is simpler and more disturbing than anyone could have anticipated.
I really love the cinematic quality of a Jeffery Deaver story, the way in which he creates such a very clear picture of what is playing out on the page, and infuses the words with such emotion and tension that you can feel every single word hit its mark. That was definitely the case for Scheme, which may only be a short story, but really makes an impact. I was kind of bereft when this finished, left with a feeling that this brilliant new Detective, Jake Sloan, deserves to be given a much longer investigation next time a he was a character I grew to like very, very quickly.
And that’s another element of a Jeffery Deaver novel -the way in which he is able to create that connection between protagonist and reader, no matter which side of the law they might sit upon. Thankfully Sloan is one of the good ones, albeit a little sad with a home life that is reminiscent of so many Detectives – a little lacking. At least in the short term, until he comes face to face with a poetry professor, Ciara Hawkins, whose help the police engage to try and locate a bomber with a penchant for the poetic arts, leaving, as they do, a piece of poetry at the scene of every crime.
I loved the pacing and the mystery that fed through this story. It was a very creative tale and one where the perpetrator had all the presence to outsmart the police. I certainly didn’t see the ending coming, although maybe I should have done, knowing what a devious and tricky mind this particular author has. The tension was just right and the build to that final, ingenious ending, really hit the spot. If you’ve never read anything by the author before and fancy a taster of his talents, then I’d definitely recommend this novella/short story. Very happy having read it – very happy indeed.
About the Author
Jeffery Deaver is a former journalist, folk singer, and attorney whose novels have appeared on bestseller lists around the world, including in the New York Times, the Times of London, Italy’s Corriere della Sera, the Sydney Morning Herald, and the Los Angeles Times. His books are sold in 150 countries and have been translated into twenty-five languages.
The author of more than forty novels, eighty short stories, and a nonfiction law book, as well as the lyricist of a country-western album, he’s received or been short-listed for dozens of awards.
Deaver’s Lincoln Rhyme thriller The Broken Window was named best novel of the year by the International Thriller Writers (ITW). His stand-alone novels The Bodies Left Behind and Edge were also nominated for ITW prizes, as was his short story The Victims’ Club. He has been awarded the Ian Fleming Steel Dagger and the Short Story Dagger by the British Crime Writers’ Association, and he is a winner of the British Thumping Good Read Award and the Nero Award. The Cold Moon was named the book of the year by the Mystery Writers of Japan. In addition, the Japan Adventure Fiction Association gave The Cold Moon and Carte Blanche its annual Grand Prix award. Deaver’s book The Kill Room was awarded the Political Thriller of the Year award by Killer Nashville, and his collection of short stories Trouble in Mind was nominated for best anthology by that organization as well.
Deaver, who was named a Grand Master by Mystery Writers of America (MWA) in 2020, has been honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award at Bouchercon, the World Mystery Convention, and with the Raymond Chandler Award for lifetime achievement in Italy. Strand Magazine also presented him with a Lifetime Achievement Award. Deaver has been nominated for an Anthony, a Shamus, and a Gumshoe, as well as for eight Edgar Awards from MWA. He served two terms as president of that prestigious organization.
His audiobook The Starling Project, starring Alfred Molina, was a finalist for the Audie Award in 2016. Deaver contributed to the anthologies In the Company of Sherlock Holmes and Books to Die For, the latter of which won the Anthony and Agatha Awards.
Deaver’s most recent novels are The Final Twist, The Goodbye Man, and The Never Game in his Colter Shaw series; the Lincoln Rhyme novels The Midnight Lock, The Cutting Edge, The Burial Hour, and The Steel Kiss; Solitude Creek, a Kathryn Dance thriller; and The October List, a thriller told in reverse. For the Kathryn Dance novel XO, Deaver wrote an album of country-western songs, available on iTunes and as a CD. Before that, he wrote Carte Blanche, a James Bond continuation novel and a #1 international bestseller. Deaver’s recent short fiction includes A Perfect Plan, featuring Lincoln Rhyme; Cause of Death; Turning Point; Forgotten and The Second Hostage, featuring Colter Shaw; and Buried, part of the Amazon Original Stories collection Hush.
Deaver’s book A Maiden’s Grave was made into an HBO movie starring James Garner and Marlee Matlin, and his novel The Bone Collector was a feature release from Universal Pictures starring Denzel Washington and Angelina Jolie. Deaver’s Lincoln Rhyme / Amelia Sachs novels were the basis for the nine-episode NBC TV show Lincoln Rhyme: Hunt for the Bone Collector. Lifetime aired an adaptation of his book The Devil’s Teardrop. And yes, the rumors are true: he did appear as a corrupt reporter on his favorite soap opera, As the World Turns. He was born outside Chicago and has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and a law degree from Fordham University.