Top positive review
Completing the trilogy (or will there be more?)
Reviewed in the United States on May 17, 2021
Given the title, this is likely to be the final volume in the Colter Shaw trilogy. Whether or not Colter will return again is an open question. There is a little bit of light coming through the door at the denouement, so it is possible. Moreover, JD introduces a new and potentially pivotal character in THE FINAL TWIST—Colter’s older brother, Russell. Russell works for a deep-ops governmental organization, probably DOD, and he has associates, techniques, moves and abilities that complement Colter’s.
I won’t summarize the plot, but simply remind readers that Colter is on a quest to complete a mission of his late father’s—to uncover the doings of a very, very dirty firm that does malevolent things for rich and even more malevolent people. Colter’s father had been in search of a cache of documents that would complete the investigation, insure the indictments and sink the baddies. The documents were hidden somewhere in San Francisco, where the vast majority of the story takes place. The city plays a central role in the story and JD depicts it with great skill. The jacket art is an image of route 1, along which the denouement occurs (in Half Moon Bay). I have driven that stretch in heavy rain in a very imperfect rental car and it brought back a number of haunting memories.
In sum: there are basically two intersecting plots with a subplot (involving an abducted woman), which is pulled into the main story. Colter and Russell are all over SanFran, observing bad guys, dodging bad guys, investigating bad guys, hanging out in safe houses, doing their father’s implied bidding. There are many twists and turns and (for first-time readers of JD) big, unanticipated surprises. As a reader of all of JD’s novels, I expected the twists and anticipated most of them.
This is A-list material, what I call a ‘carry around’ book, one which you always have at your side and can read whenever a break in the day presents itself, a book like THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS or Andrew Vachss’s FLOOD. It is not, however, JD’s best book. Five stars, of course, but for JD, perhaps 4.8. The reason is that the book’s plot feels just slightly off, as if the book was revised a few too many times or one in which the author was trying to correct things he wasn’t quite comfortable with, drew on his impressive chops, but left a few kinks along the way. In other words, the story didn’t feel completely planned; there is the sense that some things were made up on the fly. This may be entirely wrong (and quite unfair) and it may just be a writer’s view rather than a reviewer’s, but there it is; I won’t dissemble. There is a new Lincoln Rhyme novel coming in November, which I anxiously anticipate.