I’m back with another book review! Unless I finish the final two Harry Potter books by next week, this will probably be the last one for a little bit. Today’s book is actually a two-for-one, kind of. I read the book The Skin Collector by Jeffery Deaver back in March and it got me hooked on the Lincoln Rhyme series. A family friend sent me the book while I was in the hospital last December. I had never heard of the author or the books before. I had heard of the movie, The Bone Collector, but had no idea it was a book first. I read it and instantly I loved it. It grabbed me and held me in until I finished reading it (in three days). Turns out The Skin Collector is actually book number 12 in the Lincoln Rhyme series, so I had to of course go back to the beginning to see how it all started. That’s when I got The Bone Collector. After I finished with that I knew I had to write a review before I read books two through eleven.
I’m going to attempt to give the most condensed summary possible, but there will probably be spoilers, because I cannot help myself. I won’t give away the actual ending and who the perp turns out to be.
Also, this is another book with a disabled character in it, so I feel like I’m on a roll (pun intended) with all these titles representing disability!
About the Book(s)
The Bone Collector introduces Lincoln Rhyme, a former NYPD forensics expert who was injured on the job and is now paralyzed. He spends his days locked in his bedroom watching a pair of birds on his windowsill. He has lost all motivation to live, and when the book begins he is talking to a doctor that has agreed to help him end his life (sound familiar? Stick with me though). His care attendant, Tom, and his primary Doctor are all against his wanting to die, and are doing everything they can to prevent it from happening. One day, as he is meeting with his death Doctor, his old pal from the force, Lon Sellitto, stops by to ask for help on a case. Beat cop, Amelia Sachs, discovered a body buried by a train track. One of the hands was sticking out of the ground, with part of the skin of the ring finger removed, and a ring from a future victim sitting on said finger. It’s a gruesome discovery and no leads other than the ring. Rhyme immediately turns it down and says that he is done with that stuff. But eventually softens to the idea as the body count increases and Sachs is brought in to help. The mystery only deepens when they realize that the killer has some sort of connection/obsession to Rhyme as they seem to be taking pages out of his playbook on how he solved cases.
Rhyme had a knack for being able to get into the mind of a killer and eventually get a step ahead of them. His methods border on obsessive-compulsive in the way he scans and sweeps a scene. But this one presents a major challenge since the killer seems to know how he works. The killer seems to also have an obsession with a criminal from the 1800s and is replicating his crimes. Also adding to the challenge: a UN conference being held across town that is using up most of the police force and FBI’s time. The killer’s final potential victims are a mother and her child. As the team scrambles to get to them on time, the killer decides to go after Lincoln, and try to take him out while everyone else is distracted. To everyone’s surprise, the killer is someone that is close to Lincoln and whom he trusts. The team manages to get the mother and her child, and just when they think everything is all worked out, it turns out that the mother they just saved is a part of a domestic terrorist group that has targeted the UN conference. Unfortunately they do not figure this out in time and the mother and child manage to escape. Rhyme decides to take a formal position as a consultant with the NYPD, if for no other reason but because he wants to take down the bomber and the group behind it.
The Skin Collector is the twelfth book in the Lincoln Rhyme series and takes place about fifteen years after The Bone Collector. At this point Lincoln Rhyme is a major player in the NYPD as a consultant and has his own staff of forensic scientists and assistants. He and Amelia Sachs are a couple, and they have managed to take down the terrorist group from The Bone Collector. They have even acted as surrogate parents for the little girl, Pam, whose mother was killed in the takedown, and is now 19 and in college. Their new case bears an eerie resemblance to their Bone Collector case, even down to the slight obsession the killer has with outsmarting Rhyme. Meanwhile, Pam announces that she has a new boyfriend and is planning on taking time off from college to travel the world with him. This does not go over well with Rhyme and Sachs, but unfortunately they don’t have a whole lot of say in the matter. Their case takes a vicious turn as the killer has taken to targeting those close to Lincoln, starting with Lon Sellitto and then Amelia. Luckily they are able to escape with only injuries. As their investigation ramps up, they learn that once again, the killer is amongst their ranks and they must hurry to find him, as Pam has been taken.
My Overall Opinion
I am a huge fan of these books! They remind me a lot of Dan Brown’s Robert Langdon series (The Da Vinci Code, Angels and Demons, etc.); they have a similar tone, and I am a HUGE fan of Dan Brown’s books. I am definitely a Jeffery Deaver fan now as well; his books are so well written and I love that there are so many twists and turns, which makes it really challenging to figure out who the suspect is beforehand (something I like to try and do). These books are written from both Lincoln and Amelia’s perspectives, but also occasionally from the actual killer and victim as well. I know I’ve talked before about how shifting perspectives can be tricky and has the potential of losing the reader. But when done well, like in these books, it works out. I hate how I had never heard of these books before, but am super grateful that I was sent the book, because I’m not sure I otherwise would have gotten into them.
I know the initial premise sounds largely like Me Before You, or the other way around, since The Bone Collector was written ten or fifteen years prior. But this is vastly different and has a much different outcome as well. I like the way that Lincoln’s disability is just kind of an afterthought for the most part, and the main focus of the book is solving the case and what Lincoln brings to the table. Him being paralyzed is not what these books are about, which is kind of a refreshing perspective. Of course, the author has obviously done his research and seems to have a good grasp of the situation that Lincoln is in and translates his perspective well.
The differences in tone from Bone Collector to Skin Collector is vast, of course many years have passed, but I liked Skin Collector just a little bit more. Things were more established and Lincoln was in a much different place mentally. Not that The Bone Collector wasn’t good or anything, just different. In the first book, Lincoln was bedridden and everyone was a little awkward around him since this was his first case since his accident. But by The Skin Collector, there was definitely a rapport that had been developed and everyone knew their role.
If you’ve never read these books, I highly recommend them. If you’ve read Dan Brown, or like a good thriller, these are for you. There are some graphic moments, so if you’re really squeamish, you may want to keep that in mind. Although there are maybe two or three of those scenes, at most, in each of these books.
That’s all for this one. Thank you so much for reading!
Until Next Time,