"Insect Boy" in the empty chair stirs and stupefies reader in this fast paced, spine-chilling suspense thriller.

The Empty Chair - Jeffery Deaver
Genres – Crime, Detective, Kidnapping, Murder Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
Author – Jeffery Deaver
Rating – 4 Out Of 5

Synopsis of the Plot

In a seemingly languid southern outpost of Tanner’s Corner, A queer who is termed as “Insect Boy” because of his odd obsession with insects is accused of killing a boy and kidnapping two girls. Everyone in the county knows that the “Insect Boy” is behind the killing and the abduction but don’t know whereabouts of him.

Quadriplegic Lincoln Rhyme, a renowned criminalist who goes to visit University of North Carolina Medical Centre to improve his condition is pitted against this weird boy. Rhyme gives his consent to solve the case and help finding the two missing girls. But Rhyme’s arcane knowledge of forensic science and splendid analytical skills are challenged by his own long time assistant Amelia Sach. Rhyme could capture the killer but not able to hold him because of the differences in opinions with Amelia. Now Rhyme has a challenge to outsmart both the ruthless killer and Amelia, whom he has taught everything in the battle of forensics. Could Rhyme capture the killer? Could he outsmart Amelia? What has insect boy to do with these killings? Read this fast paced, spine chilling, intriguing suspense thriller.


Jeffery Deaver always depicts very queer villains in his novels. A magician in The Vanished Man, A Watchmaker in The Cold Moon are the most weird scoundrels of his novels. I picked this book because of the intriguing bad boy of this novel – The Insect Boy. I am a big fan of Lincoln Rhyme series, because of it’s profound forensic details, most brilliant protagonist Lincoln Rhyme and of course the fascinating story telling style of Jeffery Deaver to keep reader gripped with the heart pounding suspense. I was very excited to check how the fight between “The Insect Boy” and Lincoln Rhyme is depicted.

To be honest, first 200 pages were not very exciting. I could predict at the beginning about what is going happen next. Lincoln Rhyme who is initially adamant to work on the case finally agrees to help in solving it. The great manhunt starts for “The Insect Boy” who is believed to be the killer on the very first page. All this seemed fairly predictable. The story picks the pace after around 200 pages, once Rhyme captures the killer. Jeffery Deaver, the master of illusion puts “first” twist in the story and the plot turns exceptionally fascinating. After the capture of the killer, the events happening in the book would keep you on the edge till the last page. Jeffery Deaver once again shows his surpassing ability to write a magnificent forensic fiction. The way Lincoln Rhyme reaches to conclusions with the small traces of evidence left at the crime scene is fabulous. Amelia Sach, who is the hands and legs of crippled criminalist Lincoln Rhyme excels again in helping to collect the evidence, interpreting traces and running “The Grid” (Lincoln Rhyme’s own creation of finding evidence at the crime scene – truly appreciating). The knowledge of Rhyme in forensic science and his ability to draw conclusion is amazing.

The plot does say at the beginning that the “Insect Boy” has tremendous obsession with bugs, ensuing pages proves that as well. The conversation between Amelia and “The Insect Boy” made me wonder how one can be so obsessive with insects. Jeffery Deaver has done a good homework in Entomology. “The Insects Boy”’s description of insects and his analogy with human life left me dumbfounded. Jeffery Deaver has depicted “Insect Boy” way too nicely.

In all the previous novels of Lincoln Rhyme Series, Rhyme and Amelia worked together to solve a case. It was absorbing to read Rhyme pitted against Amelia in this novel. Amelia was awesome at dodging rhyme at some places, but rhyme was equally smart. Jeffery Deaver wins in keeping reader guessing what would happen next. It was engrossing reading the best criminalists working against each other to solve the same case. It was something different from the previous Lincoln Rhyme series novels. I loved reading it.

Read this novel for profound forensic science details, surpassing ability of Lincoln Rhyme to interpret evidences found at crime scene, battle of best criminalists Amelia and Rhyme, amazing description of Insects and their analogy with human life and unbelievable end which leaves reader flabbergasted.

Rating & Conclusion

I would RECOMMEND this book to the crime fiction lovers. Jeffery Deaver’s protagonist Lincoln Rhyme is undoubtedly the best in forensic fictions. The book retains the suspense till the last page and keeps reader on the edge, guessing what would happen next. The description of insects in the words of “Insect Boy” is worth reading. I would rate this book 4 stars out of 5. I reduced one star for the apathetic start of the book. But once it takes U-turn, there is nothing stopping this novel from filing the empty chair with non-stop suspense, thrill and bite-your-nails feeling.

Posted by: Pravin Patil
Last revised: 31 Jan, 2014 02:59 PM


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