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Lunch » Tags » Books » Reviews » Roadside Crosses: A Kathryn Dance Novel » User review

(3.5 stars) "The stories were in the blog. They have to be true, don't they?"

  • Jun 9, 2009
  • by
Rating:
+4
Deaver mines fertile ground for this thriller, the internet, where an astute and committed blogger creates a lively venue for his audience in Monterey County, California, to vent their concerns on politics, local interests and, most recently, a terrible accident that takes the life of two teenaged girls. The driver of the car, sixteen-year-old Travis Bingham, is the focus of a raging flame war, especially when the surviving girl is attacked by someone in a hoodie, the act memorialized by a roadside cross strewn with red roses. These crosses become harbingers of death, each new attack marked by another cross with the date of each new tragedy. Bloggers' fingers are flying on their keyboards, all eyes on Travis, an online gamer that has disappeared into the murky space between reality and cyber role playing, his avatar reappearing occasionally before vanishing again. Meanwhile, the bodies and crosses proliferate.

Kinesics expert Kathryn Dance of the California Bureau of Investigation has the unenviable task of locating this ubiquitous young villain before he strikes again, her efforts thwarted by Travis's remarkable ability to hide from authorities while the crimes escalate, as do the iconic roadside crosses. Since it all began on The Chilton Report, Dance acquaints herself with the man behind the blog and the communication methods of the internet savvy, where anonymity reigns and panic grows with each new body and cross. Lots of information here for the uninitiated, from cyber-bullying to tracking blogger ID's to the nebulous realm of gaming aficionados and their avatars. Unfortunately, the implied threats of the blog translate into murder in the physical world Dance inhabits. Feints and false clues abound, a variety of characters as agendas, cyber world an attractive alternative to the murder, greed and betrayal law enforcement faces in Monterey County.

From flame wars on Chilton's blog to the gruesome crime scenes, Dance hops nimbly from one reality to another in pursuit of Travis, who has attained mythological proportions along the way. Deaver's educational forays into the intricacies of the internet, blogs, an entire generation obsessed with gaming, and the depersonalization of society is far more fascinating than the dead bodies left in the wake of the roadside crosses, but there are plenty of other real-time problems, a suspected mercy killing, a controversial desalinization plant, local politics and a potential terrorist threat to keep Dance on her toes while Travis lurks in his cyber hideout. There's lots of activity in this unruly thriller, perhaps too ambitious, sometimes compelling and often confusing as villains and cops collide. Luan Gaines/2009.

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More Roadside Crosses: A Kathryn Da... reviews
review by . October 23, 2009
This is another of best-selling author Jeffrey Deaver's more than two dozen very suspenseful mystery novels, the third with Kathryn Dance as its principle character. There are two main plots and a host of interesting sub-plots.  A killer taunts the police by displaying a cross on the side of a highway with flowers and with the date that he or she will commit a murder. This occurs several times. Senior Detective Kathryn Dance must find the murderer before there are more killings.  As …
review by . June 13, 2009
Roadside Crosses
    (3.5 rating) Deaver mines fertile ground for this thriller, the internet, where an astute and committed blogger creates a lively venue for his audience in Monterey County, California, to vent their concerns on politics, local interests and, most recently, a terrible accident that takes the life of two teenaged girls. The driver of the car, sixteen-year-old Travis Bingham, is the focus of a raging flame war, especially when the surviving girl is attacked by someone in a hoodie, …
About the reviewer
Luan Gaines ()
Ranked #109
An artist/writer, I have traveled the world, walked on the moon and learned the complicated language of humanity, the enormity of the universe... all through the written word. My first passport was a … more
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The Monterey Peninsula is rocked when a killer begins to leave roadside crosses beside local highways -- not in memoriam, but as announcements of his intention to kill. And to kill in particularly horrific and efficient ways: using the personal details about the victims that they've carelessly posted in blogs and on social networking websites.

The case lands on the desk of Kathryn Dance, the California Bureau of Investigation's foremost kinesics -- body language-expert. She and Deputy Michael O'Neil follow the leads to Travis Brigham, a troubled teenager whose role in a fatal car accident has inspired vicious attacks against him on a popular blog, The Chilton Report.

As the investigation progresses, Travis vanishes. Using techniques he learned as a brilliant participant in MMORPGs, Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games, he easily eludes his pursuers and continues to track his victims, some of whom Kathryn is able to save, some not. Among the obstacles Kathryn must hurdle are politicians from Sacramento, paranoid parents and the blogger himself, James Chilton, whose belief in the importance of blogging and the new media threatens to derail the case and potentially Dance's career. It is this threat that causes Dance to take desperate and risky measures...

In signature Jeffery Deaver style, Roadside Crosses is filled with dozens of plot twists, cliff-hangers and heartrending personal subplots. It is also a searing look at the accountability of blogging and life in the ...

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Details

ISBN-10: 1416549994
ISBN-13: 978-1416549994
Author: Jeffery Deaver
Genre: Mystery & Thrillers
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
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