Monday, April 1, 2013

The Sleeping Doll ~ Jeffrey Deaver (review)

Jeffrey Deaver's The Sleeping Doll, the first Kathryn Dance novel, is a bit like the Fox TV show The Following (and at the same time incredibly different). Both follow an agent -- Kevin Bacon's character on The Following and Kathryn Dance, a CBI agent in The Sleeping Doll -- as they deal with a deal with a killer, Joe Carroll for the former and Daniel Pell for the latter. Both Carroll and Pell are charismatic, leaders who present quite a challenge for law enforcement. How their stories play out is quite different, though.

The Sleeping Doll (Kathryn Dance #1)
Simon & Schuster
June 5, 2007
428 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depo/or Amazon

In The Sleeping Doll, Kathryn Dance's week begins normally enough with an interrogation of Daniel Pell. As a kinesics expert, she's been sent to question the, "Son of Manson," in a newly discovered crime. Pell is already serving a life sentence for killing a family. A crime reminiscent of those committed by the Manson Family. Except, Pell's Family wasn't careful. They were caught. And they left someone alive.

The Sleeping Doll.

Hidden in bed by her toys and unnoticed that night, the youngest of the Croyton family, was dubbed the Sleeping Doll. Now, years later, she's still never talked about that night.

So, as Dance questions him about the new murder charge, she finds it an opportunity to learn about the past crimes, about the Family and who Daniel Pell is, as well. After he's transferred back from the Courthouse to the Prison, she'll lose her chance.

But something goes wrong. Pell escapes and Dance is going to have to use every resource at her disposal, everything she learned in their interrogation to track him down -- and keep everyone safe.

It was great that this book started with Kathryn Dance and her interrogation of Daniel Pell. Not only was it a fantastic introduction to who the Kathryn Dance character is and what makes her so special, what she can does, but we get quite an interesting introduction to Daniel Pell, as well.

I loved seeing a great, smart, strong, independent female character in this type of story . . . who has a family. There are other novels I have read and loved (JT Ellison's Taylor Jackson series comes to mind) where the characters were single and/or dating, but I like that Dance has kids. And a house and dogs and the different dynamic that brings to the story. Her love of shoes isn't too bad, either, though I do think she should have changed them more.

The cult leader story line seemed a great way to start Kathryn Dance's series. It has that intrigue and drama -- and Deaver added some drama on top of the obvious, promised drama. The characters present, likely, just for this book were very good and a great part of the story. Those that seem to be more long term, series characters are ones that I'm looking forward to seeing developed over more novels. I want to see how their relationships play out.

 I already know I want to read the third book in the series, XO, as it was what prompted me to find this first book so I can only hope the second is great.

It's mentioned in the book that Dance's mind jumps, "A to B to X," (pg 19). That does seem to be how a lot of things happen in The Sleeping Doll . . . at least at first. Readers are given information A and information B and then, sometimes, X happens without C through W being revealed, yet. It makes the story quite fun and full of twists. Nothing absurd happens. Rather, it's fun to discover the connection of things (even after they happen) instead of knowing how it will all unfold before it does.

If you like being able to figure an entire mystery of a book out before it all unfolds, The Sleeping Doll likely won't be your favorite. If you like twists and turns that are surprising but make sense in the end, then it's a fantastic read.

Rating: 9/10

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