Book Review Jeffery Deaver Speaking In Tongues

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Warning – spoiler alert!

Last night I was sitting with DOT in the local, watching the middle-aged couple next to me swapping their tablet between them so that they could both have a go at ‘Bejewelled’, and thinking, ‘Get a tablet each, you cheapskates!’ I was watching them because I was bored with the book I was reading, which has so many coincidences and ‘devices’ to move the plot along that I felt like screaming and throwing the book at the ‘Bejewelled’ players and shouting, ‘Match three in this story, you fools!’

Attacked By Machete And Rottweilers

How can someone be viciously attacked with a machete by a psychopathic therapist before being thrown into a fenced enclosure with five – yes, FIVE – ravenous Rottweilers and yet still manage to get into the abandoned asylum where his kidnapped girlfriend (who’s been selling herself to older men) has managed to escape from a padded cell by squeezing through a grille next to the toilet (whilst being attacked by ravenous rats)? She sews up his wounds with a ‘cheap sewing kit’ she found in the psychopath’s bathroom (why would a psychopath want a sewing kit, cheap or otherwise? And what colour thread did she use?).
In the meantime, her divorced parents are having problems of their own (even though, from almost the first chapter, you know that they are going to end up back together), whereby the father, a super-intelligent lawyer-turned-farmer (yeah, right), gets framed for murder, all the time trying to help a police friend who’s been enticed by the psychopath to start drinking again (alcoholics are now obligatory in most books these days, I find) while the lawyer’s ex-wife (a former flaky New Age interior designer, but who’s now forsaken the Tarot cards for a boring fiancé, and whose eyes are described as ‘the colour of a sunset sky’ – bright pink?) is caught in a compromising position with the psychopathic therapist by her fiancé, who has been enticed there by a phone call from the mad shrink. I have about four chapters to go and I’m not sure I can handle them. You will have realised that I am reading a real classic – it may not rank alongside ‘War and Peace’ or ‘Anna Karenina’, but it may beat ’50 Shades of Grey’ as a load of badly-written and badly-plotted tosh.

Last Four Chapters

It is now the next day and I have finished the book and found that the final four chapters are no less ridiculous than the previous 27 – the kidnapped daughter escaped from the psychopath and headed straight for… the basement!

Coffin

Of course, that is the obvious place to get away from someone – THE BASEMENT! Has she never watched any horror films where the last place you go is THE BASEMENT? And where does she hide? Where else but in a ‘metal box’ (i.e. a coffin) in which the psychopath has been storing the embalmed body of his son who was so badly torn apart in prison that even the prison priest couldn’t recognise him – and yet, there he is, lying in the metal box, instantly recognised by the girl who saw his face once in a photo in a newspaper. Of course, the madman finds her.

Meanwhile, the girl’s father (who, we learn a little later, is not really her father because his ex-wife had an affair with her twin sister’s husband while the twin sister was having treatment for a long-term heart condition and it is he who was the biological father, but he committed suicide because of the guilt) is now being hunted by the police who believe he has killed his daughter’s best friend, and he and his ex-wife are heading to the disused asylum to confront the madman. When they are stopped by a local patrol car, they manage to trick the silly policeman, and the ex-wife is left standing guard over him with a gun while the hero carries on to the asylum where he is ambushed by the psycho but, being a silver-tongued, smooth-talking lawyer, he convinces the psycho to let the daughter go and kill him instead, persuading him to take him out into the extensive grounds because he’d rather ‘die in the open’ and the psycho – who’s just an old softie at heart, really – agrees.

The daughter sneaks up on the pair as they are having a discussion about the existence of God (yes, really!), and shoots the psycho four times, starting at the leg and working up to the head. (My first thought was that a mitigating plea of self-defence might be a tad difficult to uphold.)
The book ends with the daughter and non-father cycling off to visit some Mayan ruins in Belize while the ex-wife is going to see the fiancé who caught her almost in flagrante delicto with the psycho earlier in the book.

Suspend Disbelief?

I know that one has to suspend disbelief at times, but disbelief in this case needed to be hanged, drawn, quartered and buried in a metal box in a basement in a disused asylum!
Jeffrey Deaver, stand up and be counted with your ridiculous ‘Speaking in Tongues’!
I think I need to go back to the pub now!