THE CUTTING EDGE

Author: Jeffrey Deaver

Data: Grand Central, 434 pages, $28

 

THE FALLEN

Author: David Baldacci

Data: Grand Central, 432 pages, $29

What fun! We need to change “River City” to “Book City.”

Two of the world’s most popular mystery writers bring their international book tours introducing their latest thrillers to our city this week. Both appear at The BookMark, 220 1st St., Neptune Beach. At 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jeffery Deaver introduces “The Cutting Edge,” the 14th adventure in his Lincoln Rhyme/Amelia Sachs serial, and, at 7 p.m. Friday, David Baldacci introduces “The Fallen,” number four in his serial featuring Amos Decker and Alex Jamison of the FBI.

Complicated plots are the order of the day, and, of course, it’s just coincidental that both prime protagonists have disabilities.

Former NYPD captain Lincoln Rhyme has been a quadriplegic since a crime scene accident. He now uses his unparalleled forensic skills as a consultant. Ever since his first adventure, “The Bone Collector” (1997) was made into a popular movie he and his partner (now wife) NYPD detective Amelia Sachs have looked amazingly like Denzel Washington and Angelina Jolie.

Investigator Amos Decker was a professional football player — he is big, 6-foot-5, 300-plus pounds (can’t wait to see who plays him in the movie), who suffered a head injury in his first game that left him with hyperthymesia (he is unable to forget anything) and synesthesia (he associates odd things, like death, with a color). He and his partner Alex Jamison work for a special FBI crime-solving task force.

In “The Cutting Edge,” Rhyme and Sachs are at their best, never tiring and forthright in the pursuit of justice, and up to their ears (and sometimes over their heads) in diamonds, mud, IEDs, earthquakes, gas explosions, international cartels, drug lords, terrorists, as well as gruesome serial killers and, of course, office politics. (New York, New York, my kind of town). With a complicated and twisting plot (newbies will find themselves checking back many, many times), author Deaver delivers an informative feast for his many ravenous fans. If you wear a diamond, you will never look at it the same.

Meanwhile in “The Fallen,” author Baldacci heads into Middle America, where the economy is still crumbling despite the new mega-distribution plant, and opioid addiction and deadly overdoses are the order of the day.

Decker has tagged along with his partner former investigative reporter Alexandra (Alex) Jamison on vacation (“… couldn’t think of a single other place to go”). Alex is visiting her sister, who had just moved to the town with her family. Sipping a beer on the back porch, Decker (who has a propensity to stumble into cases) notices some odd lights in an abandoned house next door, investigates and finds a couple of murdered DEA agents. He and Alex are soon involved in a case involving bizarre serial murders (including her brother-in-law), drug smuggling, police corruption, insurance scams and buried treasure, all somehow connected – just Decker’s cup of tea. The closer they get to a solution, the more deadly things become.

Virginia writer Baldacci continues to pump them out (34 and counting, plus children’s books and science fiction) – “End Game,” number 5 in his popular Will Robie series, hit stores last fall. But he doesn’t seem to be overdoing it; this new Decker is the best yet.

C.F. Foster lives in Riverside.