The Broken Window by Jeffrey Deaver – Book Review

Have you ever felt that you no longer have any secret left to hide? That someone has access to each and every minute detail of your life – knowing what you do everyday even if it is as small as buying bread? That you are being watched all the time? What you do, what you buy, where you go, what you like – someone knows everything about you? That’s what “The Broken Window” is all about.

The Broken Window by Jeffrey Deaver
The Broken Window by Jeffrey Deaver

The Broken Window is the latest, modern day novel by Jeffrey Deaver in Lincoln Rhyme series and it’s my second read after The Coffin Dancer. As the book title implies, The Broken Window is a metaphor for someone peeking through your “broken window” and collecting information about you and how you fix the window to avoid it.

The main plot involves Lincoln Rhyme’s cousin being arrested for a first-degree murder with all evidence pointing at him. It’s up to Lincoln to investigate and set his cousin free. As he and his team unwind the maze, they encounter a series of crimes executed by the most sadistic, guileful perpetrator (perp) whose prime weapon being information. It’s the 21st century’s plot all the way with cyber crime in picture where the attacker uses computers, internet, databases to track down and plot against his victims, fall guys and eventually counter attack the same people trying to catch him. The plot revolves around the data mining industry, around identity theft and how that data and the information available online, can be misused in the most notorious way possible. It’s not just about tracking down a person and stalking him. The killer uses information to literally kill someone without really taking his life.

Although the entire plot is set on a larger scale and is totally fictional and the magnitude of the plot is not YET practically possible, it is believable, based on real life incidents to some extent and it makes you realize you could easily be one of the victims, that you are vulnerable in the present world given that a lot of information about you is so freely available over computers. It also shows the extent to which we in modern world depend on computers that we literally and blindly believe what’s in it without any question of authenticity of the data. The plot did have some elements, which if put to use in practicality would facilitate a more secure place for us to live.

The book has a vivid language, it’s fascinating, engrossing with dozens of twists and turns,extremely informative, thoroughly researched, fast paced, plot is tedious and although they solve the maze almost coincidentally, I still liked it, sometimes it sounds practical when a case is solved with a bit of luck than by a genius mind all the time. I loved the ending; it was neat and smooth, a bit James-Bondish and was unlike the clichéd ending in The Coffin Dancer. And even though I consider myself a great fan of Lincoln rhyme, it felt amusing to see Lincoln rhyme being snapped at for a change by the techie in the end. 🙂

My full appreciation for Jeffrey deaver for bringing out issues like identity theft, which have alarmingly been on rise in the recent times.  All the Jeffrey Deaver and Lincoln Rhyme fans, go grab the book. It’s worth your green! It’s a must read for all the techie guys too. Now I eagerly await 2010:( for the next Lincoln Rhyme…

If Lincoln Rhyme fascinates you, his series can be found here.