The Burial Hour is the 13th instalment in the Lincoln Rhyme detective series by Jeffery Deaver.
Rhyme is a forensic scientist who acts as a consultant on criminal investigations. NYPD Detective Amelia Sachs is his fiancee and fellow investigator. They are about to embark on their rather unusual destination wedding when they are called on to help with a kidnapping case, wherein a small noose is left as a chilling calling card.
Unbeknownst to the authorities, the captured man is posed to die slowly and deliberately. The Composer, the killer's self-appointed moniker, arranges a backdrop of lovely music to take the man to his maker. It is synchronized to his very breath, while the disturbing scene is filmed to be posted for the world to experience.
When a similar crime occurs in Italy, Rhyme and Sachs are on their way, although the local powers that be are not overly thrilled by their American presence. In addition to the kidnapping, Rhyme agrees to investigate the arrest of an American student who will likely be charged with the planned assault of a woman he met at a party.
The Burial Hour is a busy book. The Composer is a unique and fascinating character. Here is a man who is clearly battling his own demons. He is obsessed with sound. He has learned its intricacies and nuances, and lives for them like an Impressionist painter would live and breathe light and colour. To The Composer, sound itself is beautiful, with every-day noise making its own music. His psyche, however, is fragile, and he begins to unravel and get sloppy.
The beginning of The Burial Hour is compelling. Later, even though it becomes more and more complex, it drags and becomes choppy and sometimes difficult to follow. It seems like too much is taken on with not only the secondary plot, but also almost an overabundance of characters and the intricacies that blossoms from the international case. Part way through, there is a huge twist that results in a complete change of focus, mood and pace. The phenomenon was not particularly enjoyable to this reader.
Although impressed by Deaver's use of The Composer's knowledge later in the book, in this reader's opinion, sticking to the course and delving into an even deeper exploration of his mind and the muses that drive him would have only enhanced this novel.
The end hints of a new twist seems to be in order for the next Deaver novel featuring Rhyme and Sachs. The Burial Hour, however, did not provide me with the incentive to search out anything further.
Other Jefferey Deaver Reviews
Manhattan Is My Beat: The mystery novel equivalent of watching paint dry.
The Skin Collector - A Lincoln Rhyme novel: Serial killer matches wits with detective in solid thriller with a few novel twists.