Lincoln Rhyme, the former head of the forensics at the NYPD is one of the world’s foremost criminalist and a quadriplegic, gifted with arcane forensic knowledge. But because of long time crippled state, he is despaired and is planning to commit suicide. Then he gets a call. A single human hand has been found, belonging to a man who got in a cab at the airport and never got out. The driver was The Bone Collector.
Then begins the game of cat and mice. As the clock ticks, slew of dead bodies pile up. Lincoln Rhyme pairs with female police officer Amelia Sachs who acts as his arms and legs. The Bone Collector is leaving behind clues at every victim. Rhyme and Amelia must outsmart the grisly killer by interpreting figurative cues. But as it looks that Rhyme could now narrow down on the perp and cease his brutish acts, it appears that The Bone Collector has some different plans…
This is the first novel in the Lincoln Rhyme series. So Jeffery Deaver has to develop the characters which would mature in the ensuing novels in this series. Believe me, he has done it splendidly. Jeffery Deaver has developed each and every character magnificently. I had heard a lot of praise for Lincoln Rhyme Series which made me curious about it. How could a quadriplegic be the protagonist of a crime fiction novel and that too he is helping to capture a serial killer. “You kidding?” was my first reaction. But Jeffery Deaver has articulated the rich and awe-inspiring forensic knowledge of Lincoln Rhyme very precisely. It is always a fun reading a group of ingenious individuals working to solve an intricate crime. Jeffery Deaver has developed an awesome team. Lincoln Rhyme is just fabulous in interpreting smallest of evidences which otherwise look trash to others, Thom as an aide to the Lincoln Rhyme, Amelia Sachs acting as arms and legs of Rhyme, Mel Cooper – one of the finest techies. This team deducing the whereabouts of the perp with just minimal evidences at hand is brilliant.
After every murder the perp deliberately places the clues at crime scene. It is like interpreting that clue for finding his next victim. Lincoln Rhyme being the quadriplegic can not run the scene. Amelia Sachs would run a grid (Unique way of running the crime scene of Lincoln Rhyme) of the scene and would convey it to Rhyme. It is amusing how Rhyme instructs Amelia on how to trace the evidences, what to bring to lab and so on. It is fun reading that. I liked the way Rhyme jots down all the findings on a white board. Every time he wants to deduce anything, he would mull over that board. Also, the perp leaves labyrinth of clues behind which would send reader brainstorming over them. I was left stupefied with the sheer talent of Rhyme in deducing those cues.
I have not read many novels which describe forensic details as richly as Deaver. At crime scene, running a fingerprint test is usual thing, I came to know how do forensic experts run it after reading The Bone Collector only. Alternative Light Source, Ninhydrin Test, Gas Chromatograph – you name it and you would find it in The Bone Collector.
Jeffery Deaver’s villains are always very queer. The Insect Boy in The Empty Chair, A Magician in The Vanished Man and so on. The villain of The Bone Collector is no exception to it. The perp is so precise and brilliant that I was completely blank till the last page guessing who the perp would be. The Bone Collector is very brutish, grisly and horrifying. Every appearance of him sends reader shivering in terror. The never-ending suspense, cruel deaths and equally adept Rhyme kept me turning the pages.
Jeffery Deaver is known for profuse forensic details, perpetual reversals in the plots and false endings. The Bone Collector is no exception to that. This novel marks the onset of Lincoln Rhyme series and it does it strikingly well. After reading this novel, I could not restrain myself from exploring other books in the series. Studded with incessant suspense, grotesque scenes and adept protagonist, The Bone Collector is one of the best crime fiction novels I have ever read.