The Midnight Lock
September 15, 2021

Book Review

The Midnight Lock

reviewed by Aravind



“Late in the night, when she is deep asleep, alone and at her most vulnerable, The Locksmith comes to Visit—unimpeded by even the most sophisticated of locks. He watches her sleep from her bedside, marks his intrusion by moving things around, and leaves undetected, robbing the young woman of her home. How long will it be before he escalates, and starts to exert his power over the sleeping woman in a more physical way?”

The Locksmith is the newest scare to haunt young women living alone in New York and he needs to be caught before he starts hurting people. But he is extremely smart and leaves absolutely no evidence that might help the police catch him. There is one man who is capable of coaxing a lead out of the virtually non-existent evidence—the brilliant criminalist (frequently called a criminologist, to his chagrin) and ex-cop, Lincoln Rhyme, who works as a consultant for the NYPD. Unfortunately though, even before he could take a look at the case, Lincoln—in a politically motivated move—is fired for an extremely rare mistake of his that lets Viktor Buryak, a slippery mobster, walk free from a murder charge.

The excommunication means that Lincoln cannot be involved in any of the investigations, has to return all evidence that is under his custody, and is liable to be punished—along with his co-conspirators—for any transgression. Still, there are some sensible people in the force who know how vital Lincoln is for the investigation’s success and they try to circumvent the departmental decree. Meanwhile, the mobster Buryak, infuriated to have been nearly convicted for murder, and paranoid that Lincoln will try to nab him again somehow, plans to neutralise him. The Locksmith too takes note of the threat that Lincoln poses to his freedom and decides to eliminate him.

Thus, The Midnight Lock by Jeffery Deaver pits the much-loved Lincoln Rhyme’s phenomenal forensic and analytical skills against some near-perfect criminal masterminds and what results is a fantastic thriller that reaffirms its author’s undisputed skill. In his fifteenth outing, the quadriplegic Lincoln—one of the finest fictional creations ever—is his usual ingenious, acerbic self and he still can’t let go of a case that tickles his brain cells. Lincoln’s wife and his surrogate on the crime scenes, Detective Amelia Sachs is beautiful, smart and daring as ever. There are more characters, all well-crafted with Deaver’s deft touch, and quite interesting to watch in action.

Right from the chilling start, the plot is gripping and is filled with clever, unpredictable twists and turns that make reading The Midnight Lock a world of fun. Just the thought of someone that can defeat all locks and enter one’s home in the night is terrifying and Deaver hits the perfect spot with the Locksmith’s character. As can be expected, Deaver garnishes this delicious tale with numerous nuggets of information about locks and lockpicking, and of course, forensic sciences including trace evidence analysis. The dialogues, especially Lincoln’s pithy ones, are crisp and eminently enjoyable.

A few sequences that need the reader to suspend disbelief and a bit of cluttering due to the multiple subplots—these are a couple of minor issues I had with this book. Barring those, The Midnight Lock is yet another superhit from this prolific master who still retains the magic that has thrilled readers for almost four decades! I loved it and am ever ready for more!

My sincere gratitude to HarperCollins UK, Jeffery Deaver and NetGalley for the review e-copy of The Midnight Lock in exchange for my unbiased review.

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