In the latest thriller from Keith Ablow (Compulsion, Denial, Projection, Murder Suicide Psychopath) FBI forensic psychologist Frank Clevenger has a lot on his plate: dealing with his adopted son, his alcoholism, and trying to capture the dark genius of architect West Crosse in the aptly titled The Architect. This is the sixth entry in the Clevenger series, and the first chapter opens up with a grisly bang:
ďHe picked up the scalpel and ran it smoothly along the skin over the spine, laying open the flesh, revealing glorious fans of muscle with equally glorious names: trapezius, splenius, cervicus. He fastened retractors to hold back the severed tissues, then cut deeper, through fascia and ligament, to bone.Though a fast start, the book quickly fades into a bit too much character development with the problems Clevenger is having with his son Billy. The action soon heats up when Crosse strikes again, killing city councilman (and member of the elite Order of Skull & Bones) Scout Van Myerís daughter, Chase. This sets the pace back into high gear as Clevenger gets assigned to the case.
His operatory was built entirely of stone, according to the golden section, a rectangle sixty-two percent longer that it was wide, the proportions used in the design of the pyramids, the Parthenon, the Venetian Church of St. Mark, even the paragraphs of Virgilís Aeneid. The hipped roof was built to the same ideal: each face sixty-two percent longer than its height. Every wall held a gothic, stained glass window of precisely the same proportions, each depicting a pitched battle between forces of good and evil: God and Leviathan, Zeus and Titan, Pandava and an army of demons, and Krishna and Kauravas.
He exposed several vertebrae at shoulder level, paused and took a dreamy breath. This was his reward. Entry to the inner sanctum. A window on Godís great design. He loved the spines perfect marriage of structure and function, rigid enough to protect the cord coursing through it, supple enough for a man to gaze at the stars, to spoon against a lover, to crouch, to spring.
He moved the blade lower, hungry to lay eyes on the cauda equina, the waterfall of nerves pouring from the base of the spine to power the legs. He felt no remorse for the blood on his hands that a sculptor would for chips of stone on the ground. Destruction was simple part of his creation, a sweeping aside to reveal something more perfect.Ē
Now that you are turning pages so fast that the tips of your fingers catch fire, the story dips its toe into the realm of the unbelievable (just a bit too convenient for my tastes). With sociopolitical commentary and soft polemics used as a literary device to give Clevenger some juice, I found Crosse to be a much more interesting character.
Overall, The Architect is a solid thriller.
Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at www.curledup.com. © Bobby Blades, 2005