David Lindsey

"The Rules of Silence"

(Reviewed by Cindy Lynn Speer MAY 28, 2003)

"I am not a patient man," Alvaro added. "I will never say to you, 'The next time you don't follow instructions...' No. You will receive instructions only once. And to answer your question, why would you do this...It's very simple. People are going to start dying, and they will die at a rate of my own choosing based upon how well I think you are cooperating. They will continue to die until I have sixty-four million dollars."

The rules are explained to Titus Cain carefully. If he goes to the police, if he contacts anyone, if he doesn't do exactly as he is told, Alvaro and his gang of thugs will randomly murder someone he knows. It could be an employee of his extremely successful software company, it could be a friend, it could even be his wife. No warnings, no second chances. He is, for all intensive purposes, kidnapped...even though he can stay at his home, go to work, do everything he usually does. After Alvaro tells him these rules, calmly, while sitting on Titus's own patio, they kill his dogs...just to make a point...and leave. Titus is not one to just sit around and not try to do something, passivity was not what built his business. So he calls Gil Norlin, a Kidnap and Rescue consultant for the FBI. Gil, in turn, realizes he's of no use to Titus...in the US, 90% of kidnappings are resolved because the kidnappers are usually from the same expected set of crazies. In South America, kidnapping is big business, committed with lethal precision. They need someone who knows the rules, and no one knows them better than García Burden. Titus is snuck out of the country, with no caution spared, to visit Burden in Mexico. He's shown pictures...and recognizes Alvaro, who turns out to be one Tano Luquín.

Read excerptTano is someone that Burden truly, absolutely wants to bring to justice, for his methods are unprecedentedly viscous. He also has a score to settle...one night Tano took one of Burden's agents out of his home, along with his oldest daughter, while the remaining family members, his wife and two little girls, were butchered. Then the agent was set free...the daughter kept. After that, until he killed himself, he would be tracked down and shown pictures of his daughter doing unspeakable acts. It is a belief, you see, that to truly punish a man, you must lacerate his soul by destroying his family, the people he loves and is supposed to protect...and how can you fight a man who is not satisfied with less than the destruction of the soul?

The most frightening thing about The Rules of Silence is the absolute grip the kidnappers have on the situation. Right away Titus is warned that two people are going to die no matter what he does...it's only a matter of time until he discovers who. Their cruelty, their willingness to do anything to reach their goals makes it terrifying. Most of us...neither you or I, certainly, would be fortunate enough to have the resources that Titus has in order to fight the situation...what could we do, then? It makes it more immediate, especially after Norlin's chilling prediction that cases like this will soon be showing up in the United States, and that the FBI is no where near prepared to stop it.

I was struck by, particularly in Burden's case, how the small gestures that Lindsey employs, the quiet nature of Burden's actions, do a great deal to characterize him. This is one of those books where if you removed the names from the main characters, by their actions and speech patterns, you would know them. Burden is an interesting man, just oozing capability. Titus is no slouch, either...after his initial shock, and the transition from the simple life to one where he has to measure and plan out every move ahead of time...even if it is something as simple as calling his secretary, he does very well. I'd also like to point out that I liked his wife Rita. Instead of whining or, worse, complaining and somehow making it seem like the situation is all his fault, she supports her husband, acting with a calm dignity that I would be envious of in the best of times.

I'm going to have a hard time staying silent about this book...it's filled with a lot of action, fascinating (and somewhat intimidating) technology and good people who you're looking forward to seeing triumph...and a nasty bad guy you can't wait to see fail.

  • Amazon readers rating: from 16 reviews

Read a chapter excerpt from The Rules of Silence at MostlyFiction.com

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Bibliography: (with links to Amazon.com)

Novels featuring Stuart Haydon:


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About the Author:

David LindseyDavid Lindsey grew up in the ranch country and oil fields of west Texas, studied English literature in university, and was an editor for many years with small publishers in Texas. He begin his writing career in 1983 with the publication of two mystery novels in the same year. Five of his books in the early years featured Houston homicide detective Stuart Haydon. In 1990 Lindsey began featuring protagonists other than Haydon, including a Latina homicide detective named Carmen Palma in the critically acclaimed Mercy, and Irina Ismaylova (a Russian assassin) and Cate Cuevas (an FBI undercover agent) in Requiem for a Glass Heart.

His books are now translated into 17 languages and in 1992 Body of Truth, set in Houston and Guatemala, won Germany's Bochumer Krimi Archiv award for the best suspense novel of the year.

He lives in Austin with his wife.

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