The Steel Kiss – Lincoln Rhymes Series | Jeffrey Deaver

If I am correct in my counting on Google then THE STEEL KISS is Jeffrey Deaver’s 39th novel, with it being the 12th in the Lincoln Rhyme series. I remember Rhyme as Denzel Washington in THE BONE COLLECTOR with a young and enthusiastic Angelina Jolie as the film’s equal lead. I loved that movie. It appears Rhyme has gone on to star in another dozen books with another one releasing in 2017. THE STEEL KISS is out now from Hachette Australia, you will find this one in most bookstores or you can obtain it HERE. Enjoy Kernel Deb’s thoughts……..all the best…….JK.


THE STEEL KISS is the 12th in the Lincoln Rhyme forensic thriller series from Jeffrey Deaver. Like his previous books this is a structured thriller with several subplots that serve to flesh out the human side to his characters. The main theme in THE STEEL KISS is that rampant consumerism is bad, and that the billions of smart technology products and interconnected databases are ripe for hacking; a fact that several clueless victims discover as the plot unfolds. Buyer beware, your appliances may kill you!


Deaver’s website biography states he is a former journalist, folk singer and attorney, as well as a best-selling author. He is the writer of stand-alone novels, a modern James Bond novel and a slew of songs but his main body of work is serialised crime fiction. Deaver has several book series with recurring characters including the Lincoln Rhyme series, The Kathyrn Dance series, John Pellam series and The Rune Trilogy. Deaver is quite fond of crossover appearances so his favourite protagonists can cameo in an alternate series, or team up in his short fiction.

He frequently graces the best seller lists, has won and been nominated for multiple book awards and to date had three novels adapted for film: THE BONE COLLECTOR (1999) directed by Phillip Noyce and starring Angelina Jolie and Denzel Washington; A MAIDEN’S GRAVE (1996) starring James Garner and Marlee Matlin; and THE DEVIL’S TEARDROP (2010) staring Natasha Henstridge and Tom Everett Scott.


The Steel Kiss Author image



The major protagonists in THE STEEL KISS are the deductive, forensic investigator, C4 quadriplegic Lincoln Rhyme and the kick-ass, straight shooting, blue-blooded detective Amelia Sachs. Other characters reappearing in THE STEEL KISS are brain-injured cop Ron Pulaski, crime scene wizz Mel Cooper and Nick Carelli, Amelia’s ex-con and ex-partner. Added into the mix are Juliette Archer, Rhyme’s new intern and the almost humourless businesslike attorney Evers Whitmore.

THE STEEL KISS opens with Rhyme feeling guilty about a past case that resulted in an innocent man’s death. He has decamped from the New York Police Department (NYPD), to take up a teaching position at the John Marshall School for Criminal Justice, two blocks from his Central Park West townhouse. Sachs is busy juggling caring for her unwell mother and investigating a hammer homicide. She is missing the day to day to and fro of case discussion with Rhyme, and sulking at his decision to take time away from the NYPD. Pulaski is doing some unsanctioned investigating of his own on Rhymes behalf, and Carelli is out of jail and keen to get into the restaurant game.

Sachs is chasing her murder suspect, when a freak escalator malfunction results in a man being caught in the escalator machinery. She jumps in to save him, tragically to no avail. In the absence of criminal negligence it seems the financially strained widow will need to run a civil case, so Rhyme steps in to assist. But as the plot progresses, it seems no coincidence that the hammer murderer and the accident were co-located throwing Rhyme and Sachs together as their individual investigations intertwine.


Deaver is a fan of chess, Thomas Harris (THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS), and Conan Doyle (SHERLOCK HOLMES) and these influences are overt. THE STEEL KISS has multiple Sherlock Holmes references but sadly Deaver’s deductive sequences are laboured in comparison. The virtual chess game is clunky and unnecessary, and the psychological and forensic profiling components formulaic and often clichéd.


The Steel Kiss Book Cover image



There is a veritable roll call of wicked perpetrators in THE STEEL KISS: a misfit turned serial killer, a sociopathic corporation that fails to fix a flawed product capable of injury and death, a greedy lawyer who protects the said corporation from product liability, a grifter prepared to sacrifice a friend to get what they feel the world owes them, a femme fatale that preys on the insecure, a few organised crime figures, and last but not least the apparent domestic terrorist, the public guardian. Undeniably there are many faces of evil in the world but including such a range of perpetrators in one novel only serves to defuse the tension and reduce suspense.


Moreover the pacing of THE STEEL KISS is rather slow. In the sixty-two chapters, twenty chapters are spent setting up the main plot components and another ten chapters are used to reveal, explain and tie up them all up. Contrary to expectations this is not a briskly paced page turner. On the plus side however some of the death scenes are truly disquieting, and truth and justice, for the most part, ultimately prevail.

At heart THE STEEL KISS is a cautionary tale about the ways in which inadequate data security, data mining, and the rise of smart technology can be hazardous. I would prefer to spend my time reading thrillers from Michael Robotham, Simon Beckett, or Conan Doyle but I’m sure the legions of Deaver fans will embrace THE STEEL KISS despite its flaws.


2 and a Half Pops



Deborah is a lifelong lover of books, food, TV and film with a penchant for schlock horror, superheroes, science , black comedy and Asian martial arts stars. She would prefer to skydive than couch surf and is a fan of zombie walks. She can be found plugged into podcasts on long walks with her dog.

** All images courtesy of various sources on Google or direct from the distributor/publisher – credit has been given to photographers where known – images will be removed on request.