Skip to main content

Solitude Creek: A Kathryn Dance Novel


Solitude Creek: A Kathryn Dance Novel

I have mentioned this before, more than once, but it bears reminding: If you ever get the chance to hear Jeffery Deaver speak about how he does what he does, please do so. I had my opportunity a few years ago at the Killer Nashville gathering. I kept thinking about listening to Deaver and the importance of the workmanlike manner in which he approaches his craft while reading his latest work and riding with all of the twists and turns to which I happily subject myself when I see his name on a book’s spine. There is nothing quite like it.

SOLITUDE CREEK is the fourth installment in Deaver’s Kathryn Dance canon. His protagonists are always a cut above the norm in some way, and Kathryn is no exception. She is a kinesics, or body language, expert with the California Bureau of Investigation criminal division. The story begins with a tragedy and then proceeds to a vignette in which Kathryn becomes the object of one of Deaver’s trademark surprises, and not in a good way. In the aftermath, she is busted down, albeit temporarily (maybe), to civil investigations. It could not happen at a worse time.

"Deaver once again meets and exceeds his own high water mark for surprises with SOLITUDE CREEK. Antioch March is a chilling and unforgettable antagonist..."

The aforementioned tragedy involves a legendary roadhouse/nightclub on the Monterey Peninsula. The place is packed, and the live music is playing when someone smells smoke and the cry of fire is raised. The crowd panics and stampedes, only to find that the doors are blocked. Some lives are lost, while others are changed forever. When the smoke clears, it is discovered that there was never a fire at all. We learn soon enough who is responsible for the incident. His name is Antioch March, and his reasons for doing what he did then, and what he does later, are twofold. One is that he likes it. He feeds an inner desire (and I will let Deaver tell you all about that when you read the book, because he does a better job than I ever could) that has an insatiable appetite. The other is that he is being employed to do it.

The question at the heart of novel is “Why?” Who or what would hire someone to deliberately induce panic --- no matter how much that independent contractor would enjoy doing so --- in the hope that the resulting melee would end in the loss of innocent life? The answer is startling, and moves SOLITUDE CREEK beyond the usual exemplary entertainment that Deaver regularly provides to give his readership a chilling cautionary tale. Do people such as Antioch March exist? Probably not. But are there those on the other side of the equation that Deaver postulates here? Probably so. Kathryn is officially prohibited from being involved in the investigation, but finds a ways and means for doing so, even as she questions aspects of her personal life that may or may not be resolved by book’s end. Furthermore, no one is more surprised than Kathryn (except for the reader) when yet another CBI case suddenly strikes closely, and personally, to her home and family. It’s a story you will not soon forget.

Deaver once again meets and exceeds his own high water mark for surprises with SOLITUDE CREEK. Antioch March is a chilling and unforgettable antagonist (and why do I have the feeling he will be back at some point in the future?). As for Kathryn, by book’s end, her life is yet again changed, if not necessarily irrevocably so. No matter what occurs, though, we no doubt will be surprised.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on May 15, 2015

Solitude Creek: A Kathryn Dance Novel
by Jeffery Deaver

  • Publication Date: May 12, 2015
  • Genres: Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • ISBN-10: 1455517151
  • ISBN-13: 9781455517152