I have read Jeffrey Deaver’s suspense novels on and off for 20 years. I remember in the beginning I loved his ability to raise tension and throw in plot twist after plot twist. Those glory days are over.
Deaver’s The Cutting Edge is easily his most boring, flaccid, unsurprising book. The plot is a convoluted mix of international intrigue, diamonds, conspiracies, environmentalism, and of course, murder. The gore is fairly light, although there is a ludicrous scene where the villain forces a victim to swallow her diamond ring: “Waves of pain stabbed her chest, neck and head as she worked the muscles over and over and over to get the damn thing down. Tears streamed. The ring made it past her windpipe—she could breathe all right—but then lodged in her esophagus, the sharp sides of the small diamonds slitting the skin. Blood cascaded. She tasted it, and, as some flowed into her windpipe and lungs, her violent coughing fired red droplets from her mouth.” I won’t even get into the fake earthquakes.
This is a Lincoln Rhyme and Amelia Sachs book, and that’s the best thing going for it. I like their relationship (now marriage), though they are both so taciturn that most of it is conveyed by meaningful stares.
One of the things I really hated about this book was the constant overly technical explanations which stopped scenes dead in their tracks. Want to know about the intricacies of mining and cutting diamonds? A tangential, detailed explanation of cryptic puzzles that barely factors in the plot? Then this is the book for you. It mostly comes off as Deaver showing off or flaunting his research chops, and in both scenarios, I assure you, he is boring.
The final 40 pages were painfully dull, despite the usual “racing against time” scenario that caps most suspense novels. Several side plots that had been shoehorned into the main plot turned out to be important at the very end, but by that point my eyes had glazed over so much I could barely read the words.