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CR3 #12: The Stone Monkey by Jeffrey Deaver

The Stone Monkey is the fourth in Deaver's Lincoln Rhyme series. In this novel, the quadriplegic detective and his beautiful assistant/girlfriend Amelia Sachs are working with the NYPD, INS, and the State department to try and track down a dangerous Chinese human smuggler. The smuggler, nicknamed "The Ghost" blew up a ship full of undocumented Chinese immigrants, and then began tracking down the survivors and trying to kill them too. Rhyme and Sachs try to figure out what The Ghost plans to do next, and figure out how to capture him. They receive help from a Chinese cop as well as some inter agency cooperation.

The plot moved along pretty well, though I didn't know the chapters from the POV of The Ghost or the terrified immigrants. I would have been perfectly happy to just follow the investigation as it unfolded. I enjoy the characters of Rhyme and Sachs--they are book very different, but both are interesting to read about. Some of the side characters were also every entertaining, and I was deeply sorry when one of the was killed.

On the whole, this isn't a bad book -- it's just light fluff reading to take my mind off all the heavy non-fiction I read all of last year. I'd recommend this to anyone who likes an easy beach-read style mystery. Also, it is not necessary to have read the previous books for this one to make sense, although it's certainly more interesting to be able to spot the references.

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