Jeffery Deaver

Books: Mystery

The Bone Collector (1997)

The Bone Collector (1997)

The Bone CollectorI haven't read The Bone Collector in years. I read it soon after I got it--and since I own it in hardback, that means I picked it up reduced for quick sale after the paperback came out, so not that long after it was published. Which makes it about nine years ago. Yikes.

So I'd forgotten almost everything about the book except that it was a police procedural type mystery, the main character was paralyzed, and I really really liked it. But I hadn't picked it back up to read, primarily because it was in hardback, and I just don't find hardback books very comfortable to read. So I pretty much forgot about it, except when I would do an occasional inventory of my books.

However, I've been in the mood for mysteries recently, and saw that several other Lincoln Rhyme novels had been published since then, so I picked up the next book in the series, and then realized that I had to go back and reread The Bone Collector.

So was it as good as I remembered? For the most part, yes. The Bone Collector is as much a novel of suspense as of mystery, and I prefer mysteries to suspense. In some ways parts of it were difficult to read, because the point of view switches between Lincoln Rhyme or Amelia Sachs to the bone collector's victims. And since several of those victims don't survive, it makes for occasional tough reading. (I'm not fond of being introduced to a character, only to have him or her killed off. It makes me want to keep my distance from all the characters in the story.)

But I quite liked the mystery, especially since I couldn't remember in the slightest who the killer was. But most of all I liked Lincoln Rhyme. He's a top rate forensic detective, except that he's a quadriplegic, and unable to move more than his head and a single finger. He is also looking for a way to end his life, because he is tired of being a quadriplegic and being unable to do anything for himself. But his former co-workers specifically request that he help them, and since lives hang in the balance, he agrees to help. However, because he can no longer work the crime scenes himself, he must rely on others to gather and analyze the physical evidence, while he attempts to put the pieces together using only his brain.

Amelia Sachs, meanwhile, is on her last day as a beat cop. Hours before she is to begin training for her new position, she is called to the scene of a grisly homicide, and remembering her training, does all she can to protect the scene, so that can catch the killer. It was her willingness to protect the scene that draws her to Rhyme's attention, and he gets her to be his eyes, ears, and legs at the crime scenes he can no longer walk.

The relationship between Rhyme and Sachs is also an integral part of the story. She starts out hating--almost despising--Rhyme for what he puts her through to gather evidence, but as more victims are taken, her focus changes from doing what Rhyme tells her to do, to doing everything she can to find the killer. And it is this relationship, and Rhyme's reliance upon others that makes the story so interesting.

And now I get to see if the sequel holds up.

Rating: 8/10