I didn’t like the last Jeffrey Deaver book I reviewed, yet I went right ahead and picked up The Steel Kiss. This is another strangely inert suspense novel with multiple plots that don’t have much to do with each other. I’ve read a ton of Deaver’s books and every time I read a more recent one I hope it will have the same fast pace, ingenious plotting, and stellar twists of his earlier work. It’s not that the plots are so terrible, but they are missing a certain zing. In this book it appears there is supposed to be tension between Lincoln Rhyme and Amelia Sachs because of pressure from outside relationships, but it reads completely flat. Deaver doesn’t have Rhyme or Sachs say very much to each other, considering they are involved. Lots of silence and stares. It doesn’t exactly ratchet up the passion. The competing love interests are a little more interesting. At least they have things to say!
Just like the last book I read of his, Deaver kills off characters in ridiculous ways. It’s not giving anything away to point out that the first death—which happens almost immediately—is a ludicrous scenario where someone essentially gets eaten by an escalator. There are a few mild twists, but nothing earth shattering. I wanted a roller coaster ride and I got It’s a Small World.
I will concede that the ending had an unusual sweetness to it. Deaver finally lets Rhyme and Sachs have the type of conversation romantic partners might have. I didn’t need an elaborate love story, just a little human connection. Deaver did well on that count at the end of the book, which saved it from being completely lackluster.
I’m probably too hard on his books. They offer a decent escape and they are fairly entertaining. I just think I’ve outgrown his style.