Quadriplegic detective Lincoln Rhyme returns in Jeffery Deaver's The Twelfth Card. You may remember Rhyme from The Bone Collector (either the book or the movie starring Denzel Washington). This time out, Rhyme must look into the case of Geneva Settle, a Harlem high-school girl who survived a rape/murder attempt while doing research at a library. It seems there may be some connection between Geneva's term-paper research on a freed-slave ancestor and the attempt on her life. In order to connect the dots, Rhyme and his assistant, Amelia Sachs, will have to delve into a seriously cold case, one that is some 140 years old. Deaver is superb at plotting; he seamlessly weaves in the story of a post-Civil War conspiracy, high-level modern-day financial chicanery and the calculating iciness of a nondescript assassin. Red herrings abound, and each epiphany seems to unearth another facet of the dense mystery. In The Twelfth Card, more than in previous books, the character of Lincoln Rhyme is fleshed out cracks are beginning to appear in his stony faade, a change that will be welcomed by compassionate readers. The dialogue is especially crisp; Deaver displays a feel for street vernacular virtually unparalleled in modern crime fiction.

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