Book Review: The October List by Jeffery Deaver

The October ListThe October List
Jeffery Deaver
Grand Central Publishing, October 2013
ISBN: 978-1-4555-7664-7

Sub-titled “A Novel in Reverse,” this book is literally unlike anything I have ever read.

The author is apparently enamored of what he calls a fractured time line. In his newest novel, following the conclusion (really the beginning, although it appears at the end of the novel), that is, after the final page (actually page 1), there is, naturally, a Foreword. The opening chapter, which, one soon discovers, is the dénouement, is Chapter 36, labeled “6:30 P.M., Sunday,” and is marked as page 297. The final chapter in the book, which naturally is Chapter 1, takes place on the Friday morning prior to that.

Sound confusing?

As for me, one could add the terms disorienting and, certainly, original.

A more immediate appreciation of the novel would take minds perhaps more agile than that owned by this reader, but appreciation did certainly take place in the end.

The crux of the novel is the eponymous document, something so valuable that Gabriela McKenzie, the protagonist, says of it “everybody in the world, it seems, wants the goddamn October List!” Indeed, such is its value that Gabriela’s six-year-old daughter is being held by a kidnapper until such time as Gabriela turns the List over to the kidnapper(s). The major problem being that she has to find it first. All the while being chased through the streets of New York, in eye-catching manner: a “homicidal auburn-haired woman and her actor look-alike companion.” She has of late been involved with one Frank Walsh, a knife fetishist in both the real and the virtual worlds.

Anything more I leave to the reader to discover, in this mind-bending, and recommended, novel.

Reviewed by Gloria Feit, April 2014.