A Maiden's Grave - Jeffery Deaver
Three escaped convicts hijack a bus load of children and chaperones from a girl's school for the deaf. The are chased and end up barricading themselves in an old abandoned slaughterhouse outside a small town in Kansas. The standoff begins.
This book never let up. It was a constant pounding of gut wrenching emotionally charged suspense. There was never a moment when there was not something happening to someone somewhere that could get many people killed, raped, maimed, tortured, etc etc etc.
The characters within the slaughterhouse were outstanding. The uber-violent criminal with a psychologically sadictive streak, his partners, the beautiful young timid deaf teacher who is labeled a freak of nature, the defiant and strong-willed 17 year old deaf girl, the 8-10-12-and early teen girls with personalities of their own. I especially liked the two girls who were totally into the X-Men. :-)
So much happened in this book that I am still looking back and thinking about what and when and why. Some of it was a long stretch. Some of it was dead in line with reality. Either way, the story was a real pisser to read and made it hard to put down.
The compression of time may be one way this book kept up the suspense. The entire story, 400+ pages, takes place in an 18 hour span. There is a LOT that happens in that 18 hours.
The only thing I didn't like was one of the twists at the end. I thought it was really obvious that the twist would be where the story should go. It did not twist. They moved on...and then came back and twisted it just like I had though in the first place. So, the twist was predictable for me, but my timing was off. I would prefer to have been taken by total surprise. Maybe I just got lucky and figured that part out.
If you are looking for a book that would be a page burner this one is perfect.