In Roadside Crosses by Jeffrey Deaver, Kathryn Dance is a body-language or kinesic analysis expert for the California Bureau of Investigation. Someone is leaving disturbing crosses by the roadsides, made of dark, broken branches, with blood red roses at the base. On the crosses is etched a date; a date in the future. The crosses appear to be notices that someone will be attacked and left for dead on those dates. It’s up to Kathryn and the other officers in the CBI and Monterey Sheriffs Dept. to stop this madman. Add to this the personal family crisis caused by Kathryn’s mom being arrested for murder, corrupt politicians, an obsessive blogger, a tech savvy professor and teenaged cyber bullies, and you have the makings of a pretty good novel.
Deaver does an excellent job in this second in the Kathryn Dance series. Even though the book references the incidents of the previous novel, the reader can follow along quite well. Dance’s character is further fleshed out, allowing us to see a bit more of what “makes her tick”. The book is an interesting foray into the world of blogging and especially into the world of cyber bullying. It was frighteningly true to life to see how rumors, innuendo and outright lies can travel the globe in the speed of a mouse click and the terrible ramifications for those targeted.
I really only had two complaints about the book, and neither one are terribly significant. First, I’m starting to feel a bit smacked over the head with the info that Kathryn Dance is a kinesic analysis expert and what this means to how she interacts with the world. Okay…I get it. I wouldn’t need to be told more that a couple of times if a character was a world class marksman, or a translator, or someone who can read lips. It almost feels as if the specialty that Dance practices isn’t considered legitimate, so we must be reminded frequently lest we hold her in lower esteem. On the other hand, it is an odd specialty, so maybe we need to be reminded of its value.
The other complaint is just down right silly. The author got teen behavior just spot on, with one tiny exception:
“Then he walked inside, and to his horror he’d seen only the kewl people, none of the slackers or games. The Miley Cyrus crowd.”
The quote is part of a passage describing a party this particular teen went to, expecting his friends to be there. The passage goes on to describe a party out of control, teens drinking and using, etc. Pretty much a typical, unsupervised teen party. So what’s my beef? I’m warning you…it’s silly….The Miley Cyrus crowd…part. I don’t know what it’s like in other parts of the country, but where my youngest goes to school, at our local high school, the “kewl” kids, the drinkers, the partier’s, would NEVER…. EVER-in a MILLION years listen to or watch Miley Cyrus. Only “goody-two-shoes” nerds would profess anything but disgust for her music, movies and tv shows. How do I know this with such authority? Easy….my lil’ Sophomore is a “goody-two-shoes nerd”. Now she happens to be a JV cheerleader too, (weird, huh?) with a GPA of over 4.0 (weirder, huh?). But when she went to a birthday party at another cheerleaders house and kids showed up drunk, she was on the phone to me in about 30 seconds flat looking for a ride home. And yup…she’s a Miley Cyrus fan. I know…silly thing to bug me, but everything else rang so true, that it bugged me....what did I say...... I know, I know....(nitpicker...that's me....)
Would I recommend this book? Absolutely! Aside from my own petty little problems, it’s a good book and Jeffrey Deaver has done it again!! (One of these days, he’ll write a klinker, just playin’ the odds, but not this time!)
Roadside Crosses hit the shelves this week on June 9, pick up a copy, its worth the read!