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The Midnight Lock: A Lincoln Rhyme Novel

Review

The Midnight Lock: A Lincoln Rhyme Novel

It’s hard to believe that it’s been nearly four years since Jeffery Deaver has graced us with Lincoln Rhyme’s presence. Rhyme is a brilliant and tortured genius whose career with the NYPD ended in a tragic accident that has him permanently confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life as a full quadriplegic. He is now married to Amelia Sachs, the officer with whom he was paired in the opening installment of the series, THE BONE COLLECTOR. They make a formidable team, and the NYPD counts on them to solve difficult cases and bring the most evil individuals to justice.

In THE MIDNIGHT LOCK, Rhyme and Sachs must face off against a clever villain --- nicknamed “the Locksmith” --- who is obsessed with all types of locks and how to break through them. We first experience his signature work at the start of the novel when a still partially drunk young woman, Annabelle Talese, wakes up to find her phone missing and certain items in her bedroom moved around. This really freaks her out, especially when she opens up her underwear drawer to find a page from a newspaper with the words “RECKONING. – THE LOCKSMITH” written on it in a familiar shade of lipstick.

"Watching Lincoln Rhyme and Amelia Sachs operate under the restrictions imposed on them instantly provides heightened levels of suspense that play through to the very last page."

Annabelle lives to tell this story, which also includes her attempting to exit her apartment only to find a large knife missing from the butcher’s block in her kitchen and the front door still locked. Sachs immediately recognizes that the Locksmith not only picks locks to enter residences, he also is able to relock upon exiting, giving the terrifying feeling that he still may be somewhere inside. Ironically, the only character here written in the first person is the Locksmith. Being privy to his innermost thoughts reveals an individual who understands that lockpicking has been called a dark side of Zen.

When we first see Rhyme in THE MIDNIGHT LOCK, he is testifying in the trial of alleged killer and mob figure Viktor Antony Buryak. Rhyme actually finds himself being outsmarted by a sly defense attorney, and once his testimony breaks down, it inevitably leads to Buryak’s acquittal. As a result, there is a big shakeup in the feelings of the NYPD’s upper echelon. They inform Rhyme that his services are no longer required and make it abundantly clear that he will face jail time if they discover he is working on the Locksmith case in any capacity.

Still, the stubborn Rhyme has no intention of stopping his pursuit; he just needs to do so in a very clandestine manner. As more young women come forward with stories similar to that of Annabelle, it becomes clear that the Locksmith is not only exceptionally good at what he does, he possesses an impetus that (as of yet) is completely secretive.

It is difficult to talk much more about THE MIDNIGHT LOCK without giving away some of Deaver’s clever plotting. He does reveal the identity of the Locksmith well before the end of the novel, and all I can say is that it’s a nice twist. Watching Lincoln Rhyme and Amelia Sachs operate under the restrictions imposed on them instantly provides heightened levels of suspense that play through to the very last page.

Reviewed by Ray Palen on December 3, 2021

The Midnight Lock: A Lincoln Rhyme Novel
by Jeffery Deaver

  • Publication Date: November 30, 2021
  • Genres: Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons
  • ISBN-10: 0525536000
  • ISBN-13: 9780525536000