The Bodies Left Behind

The Bodies Left Behind

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Jeffery Deaver’s New York Times bestseller, The Bodies Left Behind , is now available from Encore and will coincide with the hardcover and audio of Deaver’s latest thriller, Edge .

A call to the police from a vacation house on the isolated Lake Mondac is cut short. Was it a phone glitch or something worse? Off-duty police deputy Brynn McKenzie leaves her family at the dinner table to investigate—and walks right into a nightmare when she stumbles upon the scene of an atrocious, gruesome murder. Brynn realizes that the perpetrator hasn’t left the crime scene yet, but it’s already too late to call for backup—dense woods surround the house, and there is nowhere for her to run but into the hostile Wisconsin wilderness. Will Brynn be his next victim?

Deaver’s trademark plot twists and ticking bomb suspense tactics leaves listeners wanting more, and the real-time chronology of The Bodies Left Behind makes it an intense, fast-paced, and visceral experience that will shock listeners until the very last moment.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781442335530
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Publication date: 10/05/2010
Edition description: Abridged
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 5.87(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Jeffery Deaver is the #1 international bestselling author of more than forty novels, three collections of short stories, and a nonfiction law book. His books are sold in 150 countries and translated into 25 languages. His first novel featuring Lincoln Rhyme, The Bone Collector, was made into a major motion picture starring Denzel Washington and Angelina Jolie, which is currently being adapted for television by NBC.

He's received or been shortlisted for a number of awards around the world, including Novel of the Year by the International Thriller Writers and the Steel Dagger from the Crime Writers' Association in the United Kingdom. In 2014, he was the recipient of three lifetime achievement awards. A former journalist, folksinger, and attorney, he was born outside of Chicago and has a bachelor of journalism degree from the University of Missouri and a law degree from Fordham University.


Washington, D.C.

Date of Birth:

May 6, 1950

Place of Birth:

Chicago, Illinois


B.A., University of Missouri; Juris Doctor, cum laude, Fordham University School of Law

Read an Excerpt


The woods around Lake Mondac were as quiet as couldbe, a world of difference from the churning, chaotic city where the couple spent their weekdays.

Silence, broken only by an occasional a-hoo-ah of a distant bird, the hollow siren of a frog.

And now: another sound.

A shuffle of leaves, two impatient snaps of branch or twig.


No, that couldn't be. The other vacation houses beside the lake were deserted on this cool Friday afternoon in April.

Emma Feldman, in her early thirties, set down her martini on the kitchen table, where she sat across from her husband. She tucked a strand of curly black hair behind her ear and walked to one of the grimy kitchen windows. She saw nothing but dense clusters of cedar, juniper and black spruce rising up a steep hill, whose rocks resembled cracked yellow bone.

Her husband lifted an eyebrow. "What was it?"

She shrugged and returned to her chair. "I don't know. Didn't see anything."

Outside, silence again.

Emma, lean as any stark, white birch outside one of the many windows of the vacation house, shook off her blue jacket. She was wearing the matching skirt and a white blouse. Lawyer clothes. Hair in a bun. Lawyer hair. Stockings but shoeless.

Steven, turning his attention to the bar, had abandoned his jacket as well, and a wrinkled striped tie. The thirty-six-year-old, with a full head of unruly hair, was in a blue shirt and his belly protruded inexorably over the belt of his navy slacks. Emma didn'tcare; she thought he was cute and always would.

"And look what I got," he said, nodding towardthe upstairs guest room and unbagging a large bottle of pulpy organic vegetable juice. Their friend, visiting from Chicago this weekend, had been flirting with liquid diets lately, drinking the most disgusting things.

Emma read the ingredients and wrinkled her nose. "It's all hers. I'll stick with vodka."

"Why I love you."

The house creaked, as it often did. The place was seventy-six years old. It featured an abundance of wood and a scarcity of steel and stone. The kitchen, where they stood, was angular and paneled in glowing yellow pine. The floor was lumpy. The colonial structure was one of three houses on this private road, each squatting on ten acres. It couldbe called lakefront property but only because the lake lapped at a rocky shore two hundred yards from the front door.

The house was plopped down in a small clearing on the east side of a substantial elevation. Midwest reserve kept peoplefrom labeling these hills "mountains" here in Wisconsin, though it rose easily seven or eight hundred feet into the air. At the moment the big house was bathed in blue late-afternoon shadows.

Emma gazed out at rippling Lake Mondac, far enough from the hill to catch some descending sun. Now, in early spring, the surrounding area was scruffy, reminding of wet hackles rising from a guard dog's back. The house was much nicer than they couldotherwise afford — they'd bought it through foreclosure — and she knew from the moment she'd seen it that this was the perfect vacation house.


The colonial also had a pretty colorful history.

The owner of a big meatpacking company in Chicago had built the place before World War II. It was discovered years later that much of his fortune had come from selling black-market meat, circumventing the rationing system that limited foods here at home to make sure the troops were nourished. In 1956 the man's body was found floating in the lake; he was possibly the victim of veterans who had learned of his scheme and killed him, then searched the house, looking for the illicit cash he'd hidden here.

No ghosts figured in any version of the death, though Emma and Steven couldn't keep from embellishing. When guests were staying here they'd gleefully take note of who kept the bathroom lights on and who braved the dark after hearing the tales.

Two more snaps outside. Then a third.

Emma frowned. "You hear that? Again, that sound. Outside."

Steven glanced out the window. The breeze kicked up now and then. He turned back.

Her eyes strayed to her briefcase.

"Caught that," he said, chiding.


"Don't even think about opening it."

She laughed, though without much humor.

"Work-free weekend," he said. "We agreed."

"And what's in there?" she asked, nodding at the backpack he carried in lieu of an attaché case. Emma was wrestling the lid off a jar of cocktail olives.

"Only two things of relevance, Your Honor: my le Carré novel and that bottle of Merlot I had at work. Shall I introduce the latter into evid..." Voice fading. He looked to the window, through which they could see a tangle of weeds and trees and branches and rocks the color of dinosaur bones.

Emma too glanced outside.

"That I heard," he said. He refreshed his wife's martini. She dropped olives into both drinks.

"What was it?"

"Remember that bear?"

"He didn'tcome up to the house." They clinked glasses and sipped clear liquor.

Steven said, "You seem preoccupied. What's up, the union case?"

Research for a corporate acquisition had revealed some possible shenanigans within the lakefront workers union in Milwaukee. The government had become involved and the acquisition was temporarily tabled, which nobody was very happy about.

But she said, "This's something else. One of our clients makes car parts."

"Right. Kenosha Auto. See? I do listen."

She looked at her husband with an astonished glance. "Well, the CEO, turns out, is an absolute prick." She explained about a wrongful death case involving components of a hybrid car engine: a freak accident, a passenger electrocuted. "The head of their R-and-D department...why, he demanded I return all the technical files. Imagine that."

Steven said, "I liked your other case better — that state representative's last will and testament...the sex stuff."

"Shhhh," she said, alarmed. "Remember, I never said a word about it."

"My lips are sealed."

Emma speared an olive and ate it. "And how was your day?"

Steven laughed. "Please...I don't make enough to talk about business after hours." The Feldmans were a shining example of a blind date gone right, despite the odds. Emma, a U of W law school valedictorian, daughter of Milwaukee-Chicago money; Steven, a city college bachelor of arts grad from the Brewline, intent on helping society. Their friends gave them six months, tops; the Door County wedding, to which all those friends were invited, had occurred exactly eight months after their first date.

Steven pulled a triangle of Brie out of a shopping bag. Found crackers and opened them.

"Oh, okay. Just a little."

Snap, snap...

Her husband frowned. Emma said, "Honey, it's freaking me a little. That was footsteps."

The three vacation houses here were eight or nine miles from the nearest shop or gas station and a little over a mile from the county highway, which was accessed via a strip of dirt poorly impersonating a road. Marquette State Park, the biggest in the Wisconsin system, swallowed most of the land in the area; Lake Mondac and these houses made up an enclave of private property.

Very private.

And very deserted.

Steven walked into the utility room, pulled aside the limp beige curtain and gazed past a cut-back crepe myrtle into the side yard. "Nothing. I'm thinking we — "

Emma screamed.

"Honey, honey, honey!" her husband cried.

A face studied them through the back window. The man's head was covered with a stocking, though you could see crew-cut, blondish hair, a colorful tattoo on his neck. The eyes were halfway surprised to see peopleso close. He wore an olive drab combat jacket. He knocked on the glass with one hand. In the other he was holding a shotgun, muzzle up. He was smiling eerily.

"Oh, God," Emma whispered.

Steven pulled out his cell phone, flipped it open and punched numbers, telling her, "I'll deal with him. Go lock the front door."

Emma ran to the entryway, dropping her glass. The olives spun amid the dancing shards, picking up dust. Crying out, she heard the kitchen door splinter inward. She looked back and saw the intruder with the shotgun rip the phone from her husband's hand and shove him against the wall. A print of an old sepia landscape photograph crashed to the floor.

The front door too swung open. A second man, his head also covered with mesh, pushed inside. He had long dark hair, pressed close by the nylon. Taller and stockier than the first, he held a pistol. The black gun was small in his outsized hand. He pushed Emma into the kitchen, where the other man tossed him the cell phone. The bigger one stiffened at the pitch, but caught the phone one-handed. He seemed to grimace in irritation at the toss and dropped the phone in his pocket.

Steven said, "Please...What do you...?" Voice quavering.

Emma looked away quickly. The less she saw, she was thinking, the better their chances to survive.

"Please," Steven said, "Please. You can take whatever you want. Just leave us. Please."

Emma stared at the dark pistol in the taller man's hand. He wore a black leather jacket and boots. His were like the other man's, the kind soldiers wear.

Both men grew oblivious to the couple. They looked around the house.

Emma's husband continued, "Look, you can have whatever you want. We've got a Mercedes outside. I'll get the keys. You — "

"Just, don't talk," the taller man said, gesturing with the pistol.

"We have money. And credit cards. Debit card too. I'll give you the PIN."

"What do you want?" Emma asked, crying.


Somewhere, in its ancient heart, the house creaked once more.

Copyright © 2008 by Jeffery Deaver

Customer Reviews

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The Bodies Left Behind 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 105 reviews.
waccco More than 1 year ago
This book read like a very bad made for tv movie. Every move was predictable. Very slow and just plain boring in parts. I hope Mr deaver finds his way back to past success.
sunnysis More than 1 year ago
I typically enjoy a Jeff Deaver story - but I was not excited about this one. My husband and I listened to the unabriged audio version on a long trip and it was often dull. Several times it seemed unlikey the choices the characters made. For instance, it's hard to believe a trained police officer would not follow protocol when making an arrest.
Guest More than 1 year ago
April seventeenth is a day that will affect many lives in Kennnesha County, Wisconsin. It begins with Emma and Steven Feldman enjoying a drink in their mini-mansion vacation home on Lake Mondac. They hear noises outside followed by two gunmen barging into their home. Before they shoot Steven, he connects to the Sheriff¿s Office for a brief moment. --- Sheriff Tom Dahl traces the 911 call and sends Deputy Brynn McKenzie to check it out. She finds the Feldman couple dead on their floor and the two killers Terry Hart and Compton Lewis eerily sitting casually nearby. She gets away running into the nearby woods where she meets Michelle, a friend of the Feldmans, who was visiting them. The two hit men chase after the women because they must have no witnesses to the murders. Brynn leads Michelle into a nearby state park while Hart and Lewis follow them. As they flee the thugs, they soon run into meth manufacturers in a place they thought they can call for help. Even if they somehow survive, Brynn¿s nightmare will not be over as the worst is yet to come. --- This is a superb cat and mouse thriller made even more exciting once the reader concludes that Hart and McKenzie are similar personalities in spite of being on opposite sides of the law. With actions scenes that will translate easily into a movie thriller starring females who prefer to live but will do what it takes to Die Hard if at all as they refuse to break. Fans will enjoy this exciting outdoor wintry thriller with two born killers chasing two strong women. --- Harriet Klausner
ridgebacklvr More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. It was suspenseful and never let my attention deviate when I was reading it. Usually fall asleep by 10 and had 3 12oclock nights in a row because I just could not put it down. Would recommend it to anyone who enjoys murder/mystery novels. Loved that the officer it is about was a woman.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Highly recommended. Full of twists and turns that are Deaver's style. The characters you thought you knew are not who they seem to be. Couldn't put it down.
ks9833 More than 1 year ago
I have read several Jeffery Deaver Books and find him am excellent story teller. The novel moves along at a good pace as do all his books. His charactyers build steadily if predictably in this case. The novel was a "page turner" for me but the fact that it takes place in all one day forces a great deal of action into a compressed time frame which can be a little frustarting since it seems difficult to accept that so much bad can happen to one person in so short a time. Very much like the Die Hard Movies after a while it becomes hard to swallow but worth a read as an escapist novel.
sanman More than 1 year ago
After reading The Bone Collector and other Deaver novels, this book was a real let down.
chilaport More than 1 year ago
Story line was good and interesting. My only complaint was is a little too verbose. Story tended to drag at times. I purchased as an audio book (I use for long drives).
amrahne More than 1 year ago
I used to love Jeffrey Deaver's books, but they keep getting more and more ridiculous. This one started off pretty well, but then became painful to read in parts with the double-, no, triple-, no wait! quadruple-crosses. I was appalled that his editor would let him get away with such sloppy writing. There were way too many "I know that he knows that I know that he knows what I am going to do, so I will do this!" plus the numerous times the victims are "cornered with no escape, surely this must be the end of the road", ad nauseam. I was very disappointed with the book. I hesitate to purchase another of his books.
Hannah33 More than 1 year ago
It's very rare for me to find a "suspense" novel whose ending I can't predict. This one had me delightfully guessing until the very end, and threw me curveball after curveball. The action is very fast-paced, and just sucks you right in. The characters, though, are a little one-dimensional and hard to relate to. You know which ones are "the good guys" (or at least you think you do. . .) and root for them accordingly, but only because you want to see the bad guys defeated, not for any particular attachment to a character. If you're looking to get lost in a good book for a while, and being taken on a roller coaster ride to boot, this one fits the bill. I can't wait to read more.
AliOK More than 1 year ago
The plot is intriguing. The characters are flawed which adds realism. The story had some twists and turns that made it a good read. After the climax, the story lost momentum. The wrap up was drawn out and needed some spicing up.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
After over 200 pages of the bad guys following the good girls through the woods, I give up. Will not continue.
1tonchev More than 1 year ago
i usually love deavers books but both of the books for 2008 were disappointments. the bodies left behind was nice in the beginning because it was a stand alone book, all new characters, sometimes lincoln rhyme can get tiring, kathryn dance is still new. i have to say that the story i though was better then the broken window, which i thought was rushed and not throughly worked out. this book the story was interesting up until about 90 pages left when it seems like deaver got tired of writing and just quickly wrapped up the book, more like a inexperienced author would. please mr deaver if you ever see this dont put out 2 books a year again, i would gladly have one great book every year or so rather than 2 ok books every year. still worth a read though, just dont get your hopes up.
tommygrrl723 More than 1 year ago
...when I reached the end of this book, I was really disappointed. It started off slow, picked up in the middle and then completely dropped at the end. I wouldn't recommend this one, but don't let this turn you off to all of the Jeffery Deaver books.
Twink on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
He is the author of the successful Lincoln Rhyme series, about a paralyzed detective who solves crimes based on the evidence gathered by his protege Amelia Sachs. This was made into a successful movie staring Denzel Washington and Angelina Jolie.But I digress. The Bodies Left Behind is a stand alone novel. Deputy Brynn McKenzie is just home for the night with her family when her boss asks her to check out a house on a sparsely populated lake. It could be nothing, but there was a 911 call that got cut off. Maybe it was a misdial. She heads up to the lake, finds the house and walks into a horrific crime scene - and the perpetrators haven't left the area yet. They're still looking for the female houseguest that escaped the carnage. Brynn finds her first and they're on the run into the State Forest that surrounds the lake with the killers hot on their trail. The killers have also called the 911 in as a false alarm. There will be no police help on the way for Brynn and Michelle. This is a nail biter of a novel, with lots of twists and turns that you don't see coming. Deaver's characters are always more than two dimensional. The bad guys aren't cardboard cut outs - their personalities are developed as much as the protagonists. You'll be turning pages to get in just one more chapter before you turn off the light.If you like Harlen Coben, John Sandford or Linwood Barclay you'll love Jeffery Deaver.
ctmsludu on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book was utterly boring and basically no plot or relation to the title the only good side was that it was well written but it had such a lack of excitement i dropped it after 50 pages.
harpua on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was my first novel by Jeffery Deaver. If all his books are like this one, then I'll go pick up the rest of his backlist as I really enjoyed this. While there was nothing really unique about this, I've seen similar plots before, this however moved quickly and kept me engrossed throughout. If I had to find a bit of criticism, I felt the ending just wrapped up too neatly. But the ending wasn't what kept me going, it was the ride to get there. There was plenty of action and twists galore (some you could see a mile away, others had me fooled). I'll definitely try Deaver again.
WeeziesBooks on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Bodies Left Behind is a fun Deaver book. It begins with a couple, the Feldman¿s, relaxing in their vacation home on Lake Mondac. Two killers come into their home and murder them both. There is a surprise visitor in the home that is unknown to the killers who plays an important role in the story line. What follow is nothing less that an over the hills and through the woods series of near death adventures when Deputy Brynn McKenzie is sent to check on a 911 call that has come in from the Feldman home.There were some amazing chases, a chance encounter with drug sellers, falls and trips and frightening struggles through a cold and challenging countryside, all the time being trailed by people unknown and frightening. As a bit of side note, there was also the description of an interesting way to get a fire started when there are no matches available.All is all this is a good thriller and I was spellbound throughout the entire book. It is not a fast read but it is well worth the time spent. I recommend this book.
agehl on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Excellent book. There was always something happening. Definately kept my attention. When you think you have it figured out there was a turn of events and it had you thinking again of other possibilities. This was the classic cat and mouse plot. No one in the story knew who was who and when they thought they did know who was who it changed. This was a great book that will keep the attention of any reader reading it. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a good suspenseful, mystery. Definately the best mystery book I have ever read and I would most definately tell everyone to read this book. It is a really good book that you can't put down.
punxsygal on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The 911 call was canceled, but since she was already on her way, Deputy Brynn McKenzie decided to check out the address anyway. Arriving at the lake home, Brynn stumbles into a crime scene and just manages to get away from the killers. Brynn and a guest at the home, Michelle, flee into the woods of a Wisconsin state park. What follows is a cat and mouse game in the night in the woods in April. The two women have to rely on their wits and courage as they are the hunted. The plot contained twists and turns that should have made it a good thriller. However, I would have liked the book a whole lot better if I thought the author ever set foot in Wisconsin. It was obvious that Deaver knew nothing about the flora and fauna of Wisconsin, being on the trails of the state parks, or the city of Milwaukee when it was mentioned.
sbenne3 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Not my favorite Deaver. He spent way too long following a chase through the woods - not enough twists and turns. Got a little better toward the end (a few things that were unexpected), but I would save your time on this one if you are looking for something a little more suspenseful with a little more action.
Elwood67 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I just finished this book yesterday . I was very happy with how it was written, thought it had great characters and I was anxious to keep reading it to find out how it turned out. Would for sure read this author agian.
CelticLibrarian on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
3.0 out of 5 stars So-so stand alone..., April 21, 2011I have read all of Jeffery Deaver's previous books but this stand alone cat-and-mouse tale doesn't hold up to the high octane suspense thriller that I'm used to reading when I open one of his novels.Deputy Brynn McKenzie is dispatched to Lake Mondac to investigate an aborted 911 call from a cell phone that appears to have originated from a secluded lake house there. When she arrives and enters the house, she discovers the bodies of a man and woman who have been murdered. The killers are, however, still on the scene and when Brynn finds another potential victim unharmed at the residence they band together and run out from the house to evade the two killers. Although the plot advances at a rapid pace, and even as the events unfold and the reader is swept up into the tense chase, the narrative requires the reader to suspend disbelief as Brynn McKenzie and a friend of the murdered couple escape into the dark Wisconsin woods on a dark, cold night in April. Pursued by two ruthless hit men, they rush blindly toward any avenue of safety only to be thwarted by the men time and again. Dirtied and injured, they encounter others out in those dark woods that night. Are they friend or foe? The whole "in the woods" portion of the book goes on and on and on. In addition, there is another subplot involving union shenanigans and other red herrings that don't necessarily add to the story but only confuse the reader.The loose ends are all tied up neatly at the end, as expected. While not Deaver's best, I'm sure his fans will want to read this one but I suggest they borrow rather than buy. I enjoyed the experience of reading the Large Print version of the book as it is much easier on the eyes.
memasmb on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Great book, keep me up late at night. Loved the strength of the female deputy and her fast thinking in all kinds of situations. Reminds us not to jump to quick assumptions...nothing is what it seems.Recommend this book to fans of strong women and twisting plots.
MaryC22 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Jeffery Deaver has done it again. If you like nonstop action you'll enjoy this. A simple hit job goes wrong when a witness shows up. It has hints of Deliverance by Dickey as hunter and hunted fight for survival.