Length: 467 pages
My rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Lincoln Rhyme was the best forensic expert the city of New York had known. Until an accident left him a quadriplegic. Now, he spends his time in the hope that someone will help him kill himself. But the Bone Collector has other plans for the once famous criminologist.
The first victim had been buried alive, his hand, stripped to the bone on the ring finger, left above the surface to beg for help that never came. And Rhyme comes face to face with an old colleague who brings the case to him. Finally given the chance for which he’s waited a long time, Rhyme doesn’t care about case. Until one detail catches his eye. And Lincoln Rhyme knew that there wasn’t much time for a second body to appear. Turning to many of the people he’d worked with at an earlier time, Rhyme begins to follow the clues being left by a deranged and sadistic killer. He is forced to face his most daunting rival even as he struggles with his own demons and decisions. But will a man who wants to do nothing more than die, hold on to his life to save another?
The Bone Collector is the first in the Lincoln Rhyme series, and it takes just a few pages to tell you why it went on to become such a famous series.
There are many things in Deaver’s writing that really pull you in – the first being his characterization. Whether main characters or supporting ones, every single person in the book has a presence of their own. They are real people with very real emotions, flaws and desires. And that makes it very easy for you to love and hate the same person in a single moment. The dynamics between the characters is extremely well-done and gives you an insight into each person’s nature. That’s what gives you the feeling of watching the entire story unfold before your eyes.
The story itself is really interesting. It takes you by surprise on more than one occasion, with the end being a real surprise. One major aspect of the story is the actual forensic procedures. The book has a lot of information on the analysis of physical evidence, something which I hadn’t expected. But it didn’t slow the book down, in my opinion; it only added a new, interesting angle to it. And it gave it its own unique place in the really popular genre.
The Bone Collector reminded me of Simon Beckett’s work which features another forensic expert – David Hunter. Deaver’s work though, focuses more on the technicalities of forensics. And then, of course, is the fact that his protagonist is a suicidal quadriplegic.
Rhyme is quite unlike any other protagonist. He’s mean, angry, irritable and brilliant. Deaver makes you want to take care of him and hit him, both at the same time. And the development of his character is the best thing about the book. You can see him fight – his circumstances and himself – and grudgingly face the truth about himself which isn’t always pretty. And he’s just one of a wonderfully complicated cast of characters that add multiple layers to the story.
A crime thriller with a technical edge, The Bone Collector is a fast, intriguing and sometimes-intense read. It introduces really interesting characters that you want to revisit, while also dabbling a bit in the macabre (the victims’ fates are a bit more disturbing than you’d expect). It’s the first of Deaver’s work that I’ve read, but definitely not the last. It’s a great read for those who like the crime and thriller genres. If you’re looking for a crime thriller that goes beyond the usual, I’d definitely recommend this one.