Anyone who has experienced identity theft knows that there is no simple way to clear it up; there is no one-call-solves-all approach and that, in fact, it may take weeks, months or even years to get your life straightened out.
Bestselling murder mystery writer Jeffery Deaver taps into this for his latest fast-paced Lincoln Rhyme story and gives it a twist: what if someone is stealing other people’s identities not necessarily to make money, but to enjoy a) killing people and b) making other people miserable by unending their lives?
The quadriplegic detective and his girlfriend Amelia Sachs get drawn into the case when Lincoln’s cousin Arthur is arrested on murder charges. The evidence says Arthur was carrying on an affair with a woman outside his marriage and that he killed her. A befuddled Arthur insists he didn’t even know her.
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Lincoln, who remains confined to his home most of the time, sends his investigators out to be his eyes and ears. Early on they come to the conclusion that the evidence is too perfect to be believable. And from that they wonder: has this ever happened before? And of course, it has.
They discover a string of perfect cases in which the perpetrators insist they have never done any of the things they are accused of, but remain convicted all the same. The criminal at the center of this selects two sets of victims each time: the person who will die and the other person who will be set up to appear to be the bad guy who did this.
Crucial to their chase is data collection, now routinely done on all Americans. Most telling is when Amelia sees the data assembled on her which runs about ten single spaced pages in the book – and that’s just the categories, not the actual information. Makes a person want to live off the grid and never surface for air.
Deaver will be at Murder By the Book today at 6 p.m. – Margaret Downing