The Bone Collector by Jeffery Deaver

The Bone Collector by Jeffery Deaver

Reviewed by L.D.Y.

Hardcover (available in mass-market), 421 pages, 1997

Rating: 9/10

Reason for Reading: I liked The Blue Nowhere so thought I should start Deaver’s Lincoln Rhymes series.

Synopsis: Quadriplegic Detective Lincoln Rhymes, able to move only a finger and his head, is discussing assisted suicide with a doctor when the police force asks him for help on a case. Despite himself, he’s intrigued. A criminal is kidnapping people and leaving clues to their whereabouts – and if the police can’t crack the clues in time, the victim dies. Rhymes uses Officer Amelia Sachs as his eyes to do the legwork on the scenes. Despite her insistence that she’s been transferred to deskwork and isn’t trained in crime scene work, Sachs finds herself bagging and tagging bones and other gruesome evidence for forensic testing in order for Rhymes to use his brilliant mind to try and save the victims.

Why you should read this book: Once again, Deaver manages to work great character development into a thrilling suspense book. If you think you’re not easily scared by a book, wait until the panic sets in as you read about people being buried alive and otherwise tortured by this killer known as the bone collector. Deaver also walks fearlessly into the territory exploring assisted suicide, which adds another level to the book as Rhymes tries to find a killer so he himself can die in peace.

Why you should avoid this book: Years have passed since the movie release based on this book, but if you’ve seen it and have a good memory, a lot of the suspense factor might be lost. There’s still a lot to be gained from hearing the thoughts of the characters, however, that the movie didn’t pick up on.

Opening paragraph:

She wanted only to sleep.
The plane had touched down two hours late and there’d been a marathon wait for the luggage. And then the car service had messed up; the limo’d left an hour ago. So now they were waiting for a cab.

Fabulous quotes:

‘PoliLight her body. He might have touched her with his bare hands. Look for prints.’

She did. ‘Nothing.’

‘Okay. Now cut the clothesline – but not through the knot. Bag it. In plastic.’

Sachs did. Then Rhyme said, ‘We need the cuffs.’

‘Okay. I’ve got a cuff key.’

‘No, Amelia. Don’t open them.’


‘The cuff lock mechanism is one of the best ways to pick up trace from the perp.’

‘Well, how’m I supposed to get them off without the key?’ She laughed.

‘There’s a razor saw in the suitcase.’

‘You want me to cut off the cuffs?’

There was a pause. Rhyme said, ‘No, not the cuffs, Amelia.’

‘Well, what do you want me to – Oh, you can’t be serious. Her hands?’

‘This isn’t good.’ He took the pressure again. ‘One fifty. Christ.’

‘It’ll kill him, she said.
‘Oh. That’s not the problem.’

‘What?’ a shocked Amelia Sachs whispered.
‘He doesn’t mind dying.’ He looked at her briefly as if surprised she hadn’t figured this out. ‘He just doesn’t want to be any more paralyzed than he already is.’ He prepared another injection. ‘He may already’ve had one. A stroke, I mean. That’s what terrifies him.’

Also recommended: Cause of Death by Patricia Cornwell; Death du Jour by Kathy Reichs; The Apprentice by Tess Gerritsen.

Also by this author: The Sleeping Doll; The Cold Moon; The Twelfth Card; Garden of Beasts; Twisted; The Stone Monkey; The Blue Nowhere; The Vanished Man; Speaking in Tongues; The Empty Chair; The Devil’s Teardrop; The Coffin Dancer; A Maiden’s Grave; Praying for Sleep; The Lessons of her Death; Mistress of Justice; Hard News; Death of a Blue Movie Star; Manhattan Is My Beat; Hell’s Kitchen; Bloody River Blues; Shallow Graves.

Author’s website:

© Lisa Yanaky 2003-2007

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