Member Reviews

“The Watchmaker's Hand,” by Jeffery Deaver, G.P. Putnam's Sons, Nov. 28, 2023.

Nothing is more regulated on a New York City construction site than the stability of a tower crane.

Garry Helprin is operating the multi-million dollar piece of equipment to move an 18-ton load when warning signals sound. The Moynahan Construction crane is off-balance and collapses. Helprin tries to put the crane down between two buildings. One man is killed and six others are injured.

Lincoln Rhyme and his wife and professional forensics partner Amelia Sachs are on the case. Rhyme, the former head of NYPD forensics, was injured on the job and is now a quadriplegic. Thom Reston is his caregiver. Lon Sellitto, a senior detective in major cases, comes to tell Rhyme about the crane collapse. A political group claims responsibility for the sabotage and threatens another attack in twenty-four hours, unless its demands are met.

The group, calling itself the Kommunalka Project, is demanding more affordable housing. Then a clue reveals to Rhyme that his nemesis, Charles Vespasian Hale, known as the Watchmaker, has come to town to fulfill his promise of murdering the criminalist. Now Rhyme and Sachs have to dodge his scheme to destroy them both, while racing to stop the construction site terrorists.

With New York City in a panic, Rhyme and his team must unravel a handful of plots as tightly wound as a timepiece—before more cranes fall, raining down death and destruction from above.

The plot is complicated, with several misdirections as to the real reason behind the sabotage. Rhyme is clearly modeled after Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes and Hale is his Morarity. This can be read as a stand-alone, but it is a very good series.

In accordance with FTC guidelines, the advance reader's edition of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a review.

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Here is the link to my full review. Spoiler free as a pride all my reviews on my YouTube channel to be.

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Literary heroes are known by the enemies they make, and most great heroes usually have an almost-as-great arch-villains to battle. Sherlock Holmes had Professor Moriarty (although Moriarty only appeared in one story). James Bond had Ernst Blofeld. Harry Potter had Lord Voldemort. Although the villains in Jeffery Deaver’s Lincoln Rhyme series were originally one-offs, some recent books have featured a professional assassin known as the Watchmaker. He’s Rhyme’s brilliant but sociopathic equal in many ways. In the latest Rhyme novel, “The Watchmaker’s Hand,” one of the assassin’s targets is the criminologist himself. The novel is a fitting showcase for what might be the final showdown between the two geniuses.

The Watchmaker’s ultimate target may be Rhyme, but his immediate targets in “The Watchmaker’s Hand” are the construction cranes that tower above the Manhattan cityscape. He sabotages and brings down a couple of those cranes, sending the city into a panic. Rhyme and his team have to figure out who hired the Watchmaker and their goal in bringing down the cranes.

Deaver gets the novel off to a fast start as he puts readers in the cab of a doomed crane where the operator desperately tries to avoid a disaster as he realizes something is wrong with his massive equipment. From there, the pace never lets up, as the entire book takes place over a couple of days. The story has several twists and surprises, with people and situations not being what they first seem. The author is an expert craftsman who knows how to mislead readers and then jolt them with one of several big reveals in the book. Although the suspense level remains high throughout the novel, “The Watchmaker’s Hand” is also a mystery. I kept trying to guess who the big bad was, who hired the Watchmaker, and their goal. (I didn’t do too well, as the author fooled and misled me several times.)

Lincoln Rhyme was the focus of the early novels in this series as he tried to overcome his physical injuries and resulting psychological problems. But as the series progressed, he adjusted and is now at peace with himself and his condition. Without overriding attention devoted to Rhyme’s condition in recent books, the author’s focus turned to those around Rhyme… the men and women who served as his eyes, ears, hands, and feet in the field. A significant subplot in “The Watchmaker’s Hand” involves one of the newest members of Rhyme’s team, Ron Pulaski. He has a personal crisis that gets him in hot water with Internal Affairs. Pulaski’s efforts to clear his name form a solid counterpoint to the book’s main storyline. The author also develops the Watchmaker’s personality, explaining his intricate thought processes and giving him a girlfriend. He’s still a coldly efficient monster, but more of a human being.

The Watchmaker’s hobby is clockmaking, assembling an intricate, functional timekeeping device. Jeffery Deaver is somewhat of a clockmaker as well. “The Watchmaker’s Hand” is intricately and carefully plotted with periodic plot twists and revelations. That’s Deaver’s strength as a writer, but the human touch is a bit missing here. Rhyme feels less like a real person and more like a generic brilliant detective. Rhyme’s wife, Amelia, and Ron Pulaski carry most of the emotional weight here, and the effect on readers isn’t the same as when Rhyme wrestled with his own problems. Similarly, the sequence of events in the last few chapters feels somewhat contrived. Characters don’t act as I would have expected, and the only reason for these actions is to make the story come out right.

Although “The Watchmaker’s Hand” isn’t one of the best Rhyme novels, it’s still much better than most current suspense thrillers. Jeffery Deaver hasn’t lost his touch, and he’s upped the stakes from a few potential victims of his earlier serial killers to the entire city. The collapsing cranes storyline is unique, making this book one of the most memorable Rhyme novels. It’s time for mystery and suspense fans to get a copy of “The Watchmaker’s Hand.”

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Such a thrilling read! It starts off amazing. intense and heart-pounding. Immediately. Deaver does such a good job making situations that you have no previous knowledge of easy to understand. He does such a good job making the book suspenseful while keeping good momentum in the story. Things moved along so smoothly and with enough action to keep you intrigued. Such a great way to end the watchmaker's story and begin a new one.
I have read this series from the beginning. You can read it as a stand-alone story, but you don't get the whole backstory of their relationship. It's a long cat-and-mouse situation.

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In one sense, I can say that The Watch maker's Hand by Jeffrey Deaver was completely predictable. But by predictable, I mean full of interesting surprises and clever twists that all make sense in the end, as you can expect from all of his novels.
I've been reading Deaver for what feels like a very long time, and he is one of the few writers who always delivers when it comes to action and suspense. I've grown to care about the main characters quite a bit, and their behaviors are consistent over time. It's annoying when beloved characters act differently in a new book to push a plot, but the Lincoln Rhyme books continue to add to the story playing out in NYC.
Some reviewers were annoyed that we learned so much about chemistry and cranes, but that was fun too.
Thanks NetGalley for letting me read this

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This was exciting, full of unexpected twists and great characters, if you've been reading this series, you will not be disappointed!
I'm not going to go into the synopsis, because if you've been reading this series, you know that the main story on the surface has nothing to do with the main underlying story. If you haven't been following this series, then go back and start it from the beginning - it's worth it!
I really liked that the Watchmaker was back as the main bad guy, as opposed to how he's shown up in some of the recent books. It really did feel like it was time to address this rivalry, so that was really satisfying. I also loved how much depth we got out of Ron this time, he played a huge role and I loved seeing him continue to grow
As you should expect from this series, there is so much more going on under the surface than it appears. The way this all came together felt a bit anticlimactic at first (what only 5 huge twists?? ) but the more it sits with me, the more powerful it is.
I definitely recommend this and can't wait to continue the series!

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The Watchmaker's Hand is the 16th book in the Rhymes/Sachs series from Jeffery Deaver.

"A construction crane falls mysteriously in NYC. A group claims credit and threatens to bring down more cranes until their demands are met. Rhymes and Sachs assist the police in finding the culprit. A clue points Rhyme to an old foe - the Watchmaker. Which means there's more than just simple destruction."

Deaver has changed his style with Rhymes and Sachs over the years. Rhymes first appeared in 1997. Previous books had evidence listed at the end of chapters so the reader could detect along with Rhymes. Not any more. Deaver has also stopped overexplaining. In this book there's a lot of info early about cranes but it skirts the edge of too much.

There are a lot of moving pieces in this book. Deaver keeps you guessing as to what's going on. He is the master of the surprise twist. There are always reveals that you will never guess. Rhymes is always a step ahead.

Like all of the Rhymes/Sachs books, this can be read as a standalone. Once I got to the second half of the book I did not want to put it down. Another entertaining read from Deaver.

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When a New York City construction crane mysteriously collapses, causing mass destruction and injury, Rhyme and Sachs are on the case. The return of the most calculating and devious archnemesis of the Lincoln Rhyme series and a tense, serpentine plot had me hooked from the start. The cliffhangers at the end of almost every chapter made it very hard to put down! One of the best in the series, this thriller proves once again that Jeffrey Deaver is a true master of suspense!

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Never miss a Rhyme/Sachs thriller. This was a good one, a page Turner! Keep them coming. Didn't see this ending coming.

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Rhyme's nemesis is back in The Watchmaker's Hand by Jeffery Deaver. Hold on tight, the end will leave you on the edge of your seat!

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I love a good crime-mystery-suspense novel. I’ve heard a lot about Jeffrey Deaver but don’t believe I’ve read any of his books so jumped at the chance to gobble up his new one.

I understand why Deaver is one of the most popular authors in this genre. The story hooks you in the beginning and doesn’t let go. Every chapter ends with a cliffhanger so you’re always wanting more, and the characters are compelling enough to empathize with.

In this story, the Watchmaker (an international bad guy) is destroying building cranes in NYC to prove a point about homelessness. Or is he.

That’s all the good news.
Unfortunately there were parts of this book that I have to admit were not up to expectations.

First, there were a lot of characters that came and went and it was hard to distinguish anything about them. Deaver doesn’t fluctuate the voices of characters and there isn’t much depth on personality - so it’s easy for everyone to blend together.

Secondly, the story went on for a long time and there were plot lines that I really didn’t think deserved the amount of time they were there - the book could’ve been 50 pages shorter.

Finally, this book feels like it’s just formulaic. I mean, for somebody who writes so many books, it is formulaic, but I don’t want it to feel that way.

Is it the best suspense book I’ve read? No. Not close.
Would I read Jeffrey Deaver again? Heck yeah. I’d probably go to his earlier books when I’m going to guess there was more passion. But still, Deavers mediocrity is miles beyond most other writers peaks.

#netgalley #thewatchmakershand

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The Watchmaker's Hand by Jeffery Deaver is the latest release in his Lincoln Rhyme series, and definitely not one to be missed. Suffice to say Charles Vespian Hale, Rhme's longtime nemesis, also known has the Watchmaker, has returned to NYC. The book captured my interest immediately, and held it until the final page. The usual cast of characters, Rhyme, Sachs, Ron Pulaski, Mel Cooper, and other members of the team work to discover who is responsible for multiple crane collapses in the City, resulting in deaths as well as immobilizing and terrorizing NYC. Occasionally the technical information Deaver provides in the book felt a bit much to me, however I acknowledge many readers thoroughly enjoy that element in his books. The Watchmaker's Hand is an engrossing novel; I recommend it. 4 stars.
Thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to read an ARC, that in no way impacted my review.

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Book sixteen of the Lincoln Rhyme's series.

Lincoln Rhyme is one of the top criminalists in New York. Lincoln and his close-knit group of friends are keeping the streets of New York safe. But he may have just met his match this time as he goes up against The Watchmaker who is now holding the city of New York hostage! Threatening to topple one building crane at a time until his demands are met!

Can it be read as a stand-alone? Well, I suppose so. But unlike other long-standing series, this author doesn’t provide oodles of backstory, so you’d be learning about the characters on the fly! Truly, for the best experience, start from the beginning! You won’t be disappointed.

Come on Lincoln, the clock is ticking!😜⏱️

As a dedicated fan of this author and series I’d say this was the strongest addition in some time! I was glued to the pages and breezed through the read. Already looking forward to the next release!

Thank you to NetGalley and Penguin Group Putnam

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The Watchmaker’s Hand features the return of Rhyme’s nemesis, the watchmaker. Rhyme, Sachs, and Pulaski are all drawn into the investigation and game. Who is bringing down construction cranes and what is the actual target?

I enjoyed this book. There were a few plot threads that were extremely complex, with a lot of detail, and were a bit hard to follow. The pacing was good, though, and I was on edge to find out what the endgame was. If you are a fan of Rhyme, you won’t be disappointed by this installment.

Thanks to Penguin Group Putnam and netgalley for this ARC.

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Dang, I love Lincoln Rhyme and Amelia Sachs! I will read any book that has them in it! So I am so happy that I got to read this latest one as an ARC. And it did not disappoint! Jeffrey Deaver is as devious and smart as always! I can't wait to see how the clockmaker's lover's revenge plays out in the next installment!


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I have read each book in this series and they all have complex, twisty plots and characters I care about. In this book, the plot was at times a little too complex. The story includes very technical details that were crucial to the crime, but sometimes hard to understand. This book sees the return of Lincoln's nemesis, The Watchmaker. Lincoln knows he is the target of an assassin, and tries to take precautions, but can he think of everything?

This intelligent scary villain causes several tense moments for more than one of the main characters, including Lincoln's wife, Detective Amelia Sachs. You never know what will happen in this series, so I was afraid for Lincoln and the members of his investigation team. The book is filled with Deaver's plot twists and although there are other books in this series that I've liked better, this is still another well-written, gripping novel. Fans of the series won't want to miss it.

I received an advance copy of this ebook at no cost from NetGalley and Penguin Group Putnam. My review is voluntary and unbiased.

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I really love reading Jeffrey Deaver books. I don't really like when the same criminal character are used over and over. It gets old, reading is a nice escape, to read great stories and sometimes to learn new things. I appreciate the main characters and enjoy their storylines and including little more about them as the series go. I thought the watchmakers hand, had a little to many twists and turns and seemed to drag on.

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Deaver is a true master at his craft. Always story building craftsman he never disappoints and always leaves me wanting the next novel.

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I’m a long time Deaver fan and his Lincoln Rhyme books are some of my favs of his. I’ve always loved that he wrote the MC Rhyme to be a wheelchair bound Sherlock Holmes type who manages to put together minuscule details to crack the case. The side characters are also fun and I was happy to see them all back in action, as well as a familiar villain with the return of the Watchmaker. The story sometimes veered off into too many technical details around crane operation, or the many dangers of hydrofluoric acid, as well as far too many mentions of the oxygen tank a character needs to use.

I split time between the audio and ebook and thought the narration was really well done on the audio, though I did struggle a bit with the breathy Marilyn Monroe voice used for Amelia. While this is the 16th book in the Lincoln Rhyme series, it could easily be read as a standalone but you would miss some of the nuance and backstory, especially as the villain is one with a complicated history with Rhyme.

Thanks Putnam Books @prhaudio @netgalley for the DRC/ALC!

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Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for this eARC.

Jeffrey Deaver sets the bar high as he returns with Lincoln Rhyme doing what he does best, solving seemingly unsolvable crimes. I love the technology, the details, and the care Deaver takes to not only "get it right" but to always excel while teaching us something new during the process (for example "the chewing gum trick" read the book to discover what this reference means).

I admire Deaver's talent (of which this novel is an excellent example) and if you are a fan of top-caliber mysteries and police procedurals and you have not yet read one of the Lincoln Rhyme novels, do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of this one!

If you have already read a novel in this series, The Watch Maker's Hand is an excellent addition to this stellar series.

Until next time, dear readers, steer clear from the path of YOUR nemesis!

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