Has it really been a year since I was on Jeffery Deaver’s blog tour? That means I’ve been on WordPress for a year now. Gosh! Doesn’t time fly? For anyone interested, here is my review of The Burial Hour.
The Cutting Edge (Lincoln Rhyme #14)
by Jeffery Deaver
The Cutting Edge by Jeffery Deaver has many twists and turns. It brings into focus how diamonds are not people’s best friends and can actually be dangerous to one’s health. It appears there is a serial killer terrorizing couples for the rings on their fingers.
The plot opens with the horrific murders of a couple, William Sloane and Anna Markam, and a master diamond cutter, Jatin Patel, who works in Manhattan’s diamond district. As they enter to pick up their engagement ring, a gunman wearing a ski mask goes in right behind them. After the intruder shoots William and Anna dead, he tortures and kills Jatin with a box-cutter. Shortly thereafter, an employee, Vimal Lahori, arrives, but manages to escape the killer. The tension ratchets up as the killer, now dubbed The Promiser, hunts Vimal and more engaged couples. Lincoln Rhyme and Amelia Sachs are hired on a consulting basis to analyze the evidence and assist the police in catching the murderer. Simultaneously an additional story unfolds in Brooklyn where a drilling construction site is home to numerous and extremely rare earthquakes that set off gas leaks and explosions. In addition, Lincoln is hired as a consultant by the defense team of a known Mexican cartel leader.
Elise Cooper: Why diamonds?
Jeffery Deaver: I like writing in the little esoteric pieces into the story. For example, the Italian culture in The Burial Hour or electricity for the grid in The Burning Wire. I saw the movie Blood Diamond and thought about writing something with the diamond industry. I wanted to make a character obsessed with diamonds in a twisted and psychological way. I knew this industry would be a perfect foil for an overarching story.
EC: There are a lot of details about diamonds?
JD: With my research I learned fascinating things and random facts. For instance, a number of people died in the Siberian diamond mines, and that competitors worked to undermine the market. I also learned a thousand years ago in India it was considered a sin to cut a diamond because they were considered holy stones and sacred. Yet, now India is the number one processor of diamonds. When I get into a topic I get absorbed with it.
EC: Was the Mexican drug king based on anyone?
JD: Yes, El Chapo who dug the tunnel in the Mexican prison. He was a super drug dealer. I think I use terrorism and drugs the way a magician uses slight of hand. Readers will concentrate on that yet there is something else that is going on.
EC: The focus of the plot is less on Rhymes and Sachs?
JD: I do think in the novel the other characters were looked at more than my main characters. In the book, there is this attitude between Muslims and Hindus. I like including these personal conflicts, and hoped to pull off a Romeo and Juliet. This is why I spent a lot of time with Vimal and his girlfriend. I also wanted to write him as someone who wanted to escape his father and the killer. But he was drawn to the diamond, similar to that of Michelangelo. Both feel the objects are souls needed to be brought out.
EC: How do you handle writing violence?
JD: I approach the violence in my books very carefully. It is not that graphic because people tend not to see the actual crime itself. I do not like sexual sadism or sexual violence, and will not kill a child or animal. A death should create huge and rippling consequences for many people. Before a writer kills someone, they must think it through because it is a horrific incident. To have more of an impact there should be fewer scenes. I guess I follow the Alfred Hitchcock approach of suspense, not gore.
EC: You address in the story should someone fight or succumb to the intruder’s demands?
JD: I think I would fight. I do carry a weapon
after a stalker Google mapped my house and made a reference to how nice it was. If you are talking about the engagement couple in my story, I knew they were not going to make it. This was one of the hardest scenes I had to write. They allow themselves to be tied up and then realize they are going to die. This is when they touch each other’s hands for support and comfort. I hope the reader sees this as a poignant and significant scene. I intentionally wrote the next scene of a couple fighting the killer and escaping to show not everyone succumbs.
EC: You just received another nomination?
JD: I am nominated by the Mystery Writers of America for an Edgar Award. This year it is for my short story Hard to Get. I think this makes eight nominations over the years. I am almost at the point that I want to be the most nominated person without ever winning.
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