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Running a little bit late this week, because allergies have had me floored for the last several days. But it did give me time to read a Jeffery Deaver novel that I hadn't read before...so I will RieView that. :)

The Devil's Teardrop
is another thrilling crime novel from the writer who brought us The Bone Collector. Although it does feature a cameo from Lincoln Rhyme, its protagonist is a forensic document analyst who retired from the FBI several years ago to raise his two kids. But he is called on to step in and aid the Bureau on a complex case where the mastermind of an extortion plot is killed in a freak accident and his cold-blooded partner is still carrying out orders to kill the citizens of Washington D.C. at set periods of the day on New Year's Eve 1999. I won't give any more of the plot than that, because it twists and turns and intrigues from first page to last.

Parker Kincaid, the father torn between his desire to protect his kids and duty to prevent bloodshed, is a well-rounded character with a brilliant mind. His counter-part on the task force, ASAC Margaret Lukas may have a hard outer shell, but there is vulnerability beneath. All of the characters are dimensional and interesting, and you find yourself worrying about what will happen to them. To me, that is the mark of an excellent writer.

As for the plot, the case is a puzzle from beginning to end, and just when you think you've solved it, there is another twist in the maze. Everything hinges on the extortion note and what it can tell them about the perpetrators.

I love fantasies--that's why I write them--but every now and then, I like to cleanse the pallet with something tough, and stark, and gritty. This is one of those books. Much more an intellectual puzzle than a feel-good story, though you find yourself caring about the outcome and the people involved. Definitely worth a look if you enjoy crime fiction or mystery.

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So, the hubby wanted to show me several of his favorite obscure films a few weeks back, and Run Lola Run was one of them. In the same vein as Groundhog Day or the bank-robbery episode of The X-Files, the basic plot repeats itself several times with varying results. But a bland recounting of the facts -- boy loses drug money; girl tries to get it for him; they goof up; time starts over -- doesn't begin to encapsulate this gem of a film. The plot is almost immaterial, though it is interesting, when viewed against the heart-pounding soundtrack and the innovative camerawork. It is a parable of action and consequence, with glimpses of modern German society (it is a foreign film, though there is an English Language version on the DVD) thrown in for good measure. You can't glance away even for a second, or you will miss something important. Like how narrowly missing the woman with the baby carriage as she runs by has a different effect on the woman's life than when Lola bangs into her as she runs. These intriguing little "And Then" moments about minor characters are some of the most compelling moments of the film.

It is a difficult film to describe. More than the circular plot, the heart of the movie is cause and effect. This is the fascinating bit about it. The characters aren't particularly likeable, and yet you find yourself wanting something better for them... Worth an evening's rental for sure.

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