"We give away too much information about ourselves online." - Jeffery Deaver's Roadside Crosses
Oct 5, 2009
Review by Scott G
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:Chilling thriller with lots of plot twists
Cons:It all wraps up a little too neatly
The Bottom Line: Roadside Crosses is another winning entry in Jeffery Deaver's Kathryn Dance series.
Teenage angst levels are riding high in the Monterey Bay area.
Recommend this product?
The driver in a fatal car accident, teenager Travis Brigham, is getting cyberbullied on a blog called The Chilton Report. Travis’ response is to learn all he can about the comment posters, track them down, and kill them, using slow methods such as drowning and exposure to chlorine. However, prior to each murder, Travis leaves a roadside cross memorial with a future date as a forewarning of his intentions. It’s up to California Bureau of Investigation kinesics expert Kathryn Dance to stop Travis before he can kill again. Such is the plot of author Jeffery Deaver’s 2009 novel Roadside Crosses.
It’s not an easy chase. Travis is just a kid on a bicycle, yet he is able to hide from authorities like a professional serial killer. Cyber expert Jon Boling—a consultant on the case—believes that Travis is using evasive techniques learned from an online role playing game called Dimension Quest.
As in a game, Travis eventually expands his targets from cyberbullies to people who have posted anything agreeing with blogger James Chilton to anyone who has posted at all. He’s also targeting Dance—Travis has hacked the blog and inserted a drawing of Kathryn with a sword plunged into her chest.
To make matters worse, Dance has to overcome a nosy Sacramento politician who’s throwing his political weight around the office. Kathryn is also distracted by a murder charge leveled against her mother, Edie—an unsolved mercy killing from Deaver’s novel The Sleeping Doll.
In true Deaver fashion, Roadside Crosses is full of suspenseful plot twists that should keep you guessing right to the end. This time around, Deaver combines his usual flair for intrigue with modern-day pop culture via blogging and online role-playing games. Roadside Crosses is even interactive—Deaver provides webpage URL’s (Chilton Report pages) throughout the book that you can pull up on your computer and search for clues as you read. The book isn’t any less enjoyable if you don’t do this, but it’s kind of a cool way to participate as you read.
As usual, Deaver’s characters are top-notch. Kathryn Dance is a master interrogator—a kinesics expert, she can ascertain if a witness or suspect is lying by studying their body language. She is doggedly determined in her pursuit of Travis, yet she still makes time for her teen and pre-teen children. She’s tough-minded, but not above indulging in the occasional cookie, and she suffers from a shoe fetish; Dance keeps several pairs stashed beneath her desk for emergency situations.
Jon Boling, meanwhile, serves as the potential love interest in this time one. He is a cyber expert, an academic on loan to the Bureau for the case. He’s quick with a quip, and because he understands the ins and outs of the Internet and computer games, Boling is able to relate to Dance’s son Wes, who is usually a tough nut to crack as far as approving potential suitors.
Even though it all wraps up just a little too neatly in the end, Roadside Crosses is an intense thriller that should satisfy Deaver fans. If you enjoy Deaver’s Lincoln Rhyme series, I would recommend diving into the Kathryn Dance series as well.
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