The Bone Collector (Lincoln Rhyme Series #1)

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Overview

Lincoln Rhyme, ex-head of NYPD forensics, was the nation's foremost criminalist, the man who could work a crime scene and come away with a perfect profile of the killer, frozen in time. Now, Lincoln is frozen in place - permanently. An accident on the job left him a quadriplegic who can move just one finger, a great mind strapped to his bed, mulish and sarcastic, hiding from a life he no longer wants to live. Until he sees the crime-scene report about a corpse found buried on a deserted West Side railroad track, ...
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The Bone Collector (Lincoln Rhyme Series #1)

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Overview

Lincoln Rhyme, ex-head of NYPD forensics, was the nation's foremost criminalist, the man who could work a crime scene and come away with a perfect profile of the killer, frozen in time. Now, Lincoln is frozen in place - permanently. An accident on the job left him a quadriplegic who can move just one finger, a great mind strapped to his bed, mulish and sarcastic, hiding from a life he no longer wants to live. Until he sees the crime-scene report about a corpse found buried on a deserted West Side railroad track, its bloody hand rising from the dirt. It belonged to a man who got into a cab at the airport and never got out. Reluctantly, Lincoln Rhyme abandons retirement to track down a killer whose ingenious clues hold the secret to saving his victims - if Rhyme can decipher them in time. The search leads him to the Bone Collector, whose obsession with old New York colors every scrap of evidence he leaves for Rhyme and his new partner, Amelia Sachs, whom he drafts as his arms and legs. But she's never worked a crime scene in her life - and he can only whisper in her ear as she does the exacting work he loved more than anything else.
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

Jeffery Deaver's 1997 thriller The Bone Collector gets a new lease on life, courtesy of a high-profile film adaptation starring Denzel Washington and Angelina Jolie. I haven't seen the movie, but I can vouch for the effectiveness of the novel. The Bone Collector isn't, by any stretch, world-class literature, but it's an absorbing, high-energy performance that features great technical expertise, some truly devious plotting, and one of the most unusual heroes in modern crime fiction: Lincoln Rhyme, forensic genius and former head of the NYPD's Central Investigation and Resource Department.

Lincoln Rhyme is a legend in his field, the man who literally wrote the book on forensic analysis of crime scenes. He is also a quadriplegic, his spine having been irreversibly damaged during a cave-in at an underground murder site. As the novel opens, Lincoln has reached the end of his emotional tether and wants only to die. Unable to endure the constraints and humiliations of his new condition, he has enlisted the services of a professional "euthanasist" to help him on his way. At the eleventh hour, with oblivion within his grasp, Lincoln is visited by a pair of detectives who offer him something he can't quite refuse: a new -- and unusual -- case.

On the previous evening, a man and woman returning from a business trip had been kidnapped at JFK airport, apparently by their taxi driver. The man's body -- shot, mutilated, then buried alive -- has just been found by an NYPD patrol officer named Amelia Sachs, who closes off the crime scene and secures the available evidence. Included among that evidence are some enigmatic clues -- a scrap of newsprint, a ball of asbestos, a rusted iron bolt -- that appear to have been placed deliberately at the scene. With the expert assistance of a reluctant Lincoln Rhyme, police follow these clues to the location of the abducted woman. They arrive just minutes too late to save the woman, who has been murdered in a particularly brutal fashion. Near her body is a second series of "staged" forensic clues, pointing to the location of the next unknown victim.

Against his will, Lincoln finds himself at the center of a manhunt that interrupts his planned departure and transforms his apartment into an impromptu forensic lab. Using patrolwoman Amelia Sachs as his eyes and legs, Lincoln engages in a sustained battle of wits with an unknown killer who leads him to a series of crime scenes, each of which is salted with evidence pointing to the next crime scene and the next victim. During the course of this macabre, extended game -- which lasts for about 36 hours and is played out against a backdrop of political infighting and jurisdictional disputes -- Lincoln saves a number of lives, including his own. In the end, he comes face-to-face with an elusive -- and very familiar -- madman whose pathological obsession has its origin in Lincoln's own past.

Although the plot of The Bone Collector occasionally strains credibility, it is still a compelling, cleverly-conceived narrative that achieves moments of great tension and creates something new and vital out of the marriage of two popular subgenres: the serial killer novel, as practiced by Thomas Harris and his numerous imitators; and the forensic crime novel, as practiced by Patricia Cornwell, Ridley Pearson, and Kathy Reichs, to name just a few. Ultimately, it is the range and depth of Deaver's forensic expertise that gives The Bone Collector its peculiar, undeniable fascination.

In crime scene after crime scene, Lincoln -- operating through his observant, mobile assistant, Amelia -- uncovers two distinct types of physical evidence: staged evidence deliberately left behind and other, unintended bits of evidence that lead, in incremental stages, to the killer's home base. Watching Lincoln and his cohorts interpret this evidence -- sometimes intuitively, sometimes with the aid of assorted technological marvels -- is the greatest of The Bone Collector's many pleasures. Like Michael Crichton, Deaver manages to integrate a vast amount of research into a coherent, involving novel without either lecturing the reader or crossing the invisible line into pedantry. It's a difficult trick to perform, and Deaver brings it off with impressive -- and deceptive -- ease.

It will be interesting, of course, to see what Hollywood makes of all this. But even if the movie is an unqualified disaster, readers will still have the Deaver original to return to. Lincoln Rhyme, for all his problems, is an engaging, complex character and may prove to be surprisingly durable. He has already made two return appearances (as the central figure of The Coffin Dancer and as a minor player in The Devil's Teardrop), and I hope Deaver sees fit to revisit him, at least occasionally. Unlike the majority of series heroes, he brings a depth of knowledge and a freshness of perspective to the traditional novel of detection. I look forward to encountering him again.

—Bill Sheehan

Peter Straub
Exciting and fast-paced.
Wall Street Journal
A breakneck thrill-ride.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Deaver (A Maiden's Grave) is too fond of gimmicks. They range in this novel from the extreme (his detective here, Lincoln Rhyme, is a quadriplegic who can move only one finger) to the moderately eccentric (beautiful policewoman Amelia Sachs, who acts as Rhyme's arms and legs, suffers from arthritis). And his villain, a serial killer who models his crimes on ones he finds in a book on criminal life in old New York, has an uncomfortable way of slaying each of his victims in ways guaranteed to stop the heart or turn the stomach: buried alive, flayed by high-pressure steam, eaten by hungry rats, burned alive, attacked by mad dogs. All this takes place in the course of one busy New York weekend as the killer helpfully leaves playful little clues as to where he's going to strike next and Rhyme uses his immense savvy (and a battery of computerized testing tools) to figure it out. The whole affair, in fact, is incredibly silly, though the headlong narrative, with Sachs arriving in the nick of time (driving at 80 mph through New York streets) to perform rescues that seem to belong in a comic strip rather than a novel, never lets up, and there is plenty of genuine forensic knowledge in evidence. There are dramatic switcheroos up to the very last page, and a climactic battle to the death that might make even teenage boys wince. For it seems to be at that kind of readership-uncritical and doting on violence-that the novel is aimed. 100,000 first printing; $100,000 ad/promo; film rights sold to Martin Bregman and Universal Pictures; simultaneous Penguin audio. (Mar.) FYI: An HBO movie of A Maiden's Grave, starring James Garner and Marlee Matlin, will air in January 1997.
Library Journal
The author of The Maiden's Grave (LJ 9/1/95) launches a new series featuring an unusual protagonista paralyzed criminologist who teams up with rookie cop Amelia Sachs to unearth a particularly vicious killer called "the Bone Collector."
Kirkus Reviews
A quadriplegic criminalist hunts the most elusive quarry of his career: a serial killer who leaves clues at each crime scene allowing the cops to head off the next murder—if they can decode them in time.

With nothing left to live for since an accident ended his forensic career and his marriage, bearish Lincoln Rhyme has made an appointment with Dr. William Berger, of the suicide-friendly Lethe Society. But Rhyme's old NYPD colleague, Det. Lon Sellitto, just happens to breeze in, uninvited and unwelcome, minutes before Berger does, and talks Rhyme out of suicide and into spearheading the hunt for Unsub 823, the demonic cabbie whose fares often face nightmarish scenarios of torture and death. Though he shows no mercy to his victims, Unsub 823 obligingly salts each crime scene with cryptic clues to his next, clues that whet Rhyme's jaundiced appetite and give him the hope of saving currency trader T.J. Colfax, German emigrée Monelle Gerger, elderly William Everett, and widowed Carole Ganz and her daughter. It's not long before Rhyme's blood is pumping again, and he's persuaded beautiful Amelia Sachs, the Major Crimes officer who preserved the first crime scene long enough to gather a few precious scraps of evidence, to put off her medical transfer to Public Affairs and become his eyes, ears, and nose at each gory scene. Working feverishly against a series of impossible deadlines, Sachs and Rhyme piece together a profile of the perp's appearance, his lodgings, his car, his habits, and the idée fixe that drives him: He believes he's the Bone Collector, a demented ghoul who preyed on New York's dead and near-dead at the turn of the century, determined to free his victims from this mortal coil by stripping them to ageless bone.

Deaver (A Maiden's Grave, 1995, etc.) marries forensic work that would do Patricia Cornwell proud to a turbocharged plot that puts Benzedrine to shame.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780736641333
  • Publisher: Books on Tape, Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/1/1999
  • Series: Lincoln Rhyme Series , #1
  • Format: Cassette
  • Edition description: Unabridged

Meet the Author

Jeffery  Deaver

Jeffery Deaver is the New York Times bestselling author of nineteen suspense novels, including The Blue Nowhere and The Bone Collector, which was made into a feature film starring Denzel Washington and Angelina Jolie. He has been nominated for three Edgar Awards from the Mystery Writers of America and is a two-time recipient of the Ellery Queen Readers Award for Best Short Story of the Year. A lawyer who quit practicing to write full-time, he lives in California and Virginia.

Biography

Born just outside Chicago in 1950 to an advertising copywriter father and stay-at-home mom, Jeffery Deaver was a writer from the start, penning his first book (a brief tome just two chapters in length) at age 11. He went on to edit his high school literary magazine and serve on the staff of the school newspaper, chasing the dream of becoming a crack reporter.

Upon earning his B.A. in journalism from the University of Missouri, Deaver realized that he lacked the necessary background to become a legal correspondent for the high-profile publications he aspired to, such as The New York Times or The Wall Street Journal, so he enrolled at Fordham Law School. Being a legal eagle soon grew on Deaver, and rather than continue on as a reporter, he took a job as a corporate lawyer at a top Wall Street firm. Deaver's detour from the writing life wasn't to last, however; ironically, it was his substantial commute to the law office that touched off his third -- and current -- career. He'd fill the long hours on the train scribbling his own renditions of the kind of fiction he enjoyed reading most: suspense.

Voodoo, a supernatural thriller, and Always a Thief, an art-theft caper, were Deaver's first published novels. Produced by the now-defunct Paperjacks paperback original house, the books are no longer in print, but they remain hot items on the collector circuit. His first major outing was the Rune series, which followed the adventures of an aspiring female filmmaker in the power trilogy Manhattan Is My Beat (1988), Death of a Blue Movie Star (1990), and Hard News (1991).

Deaver's next series, this one featuring the adventures of ace movie location scout John Pellam, featured the thrillers Shallow Graves (1992), Bloody River Blues (1993), and Hell's Kitchen (2001). Written under the pen name William Jefferies, the series stands out in Deaver's body of work, primarily because it touched off his talent for focusing more on his vivid characters than on their perilous situations.

In fact, it is his series featuring the intrepid and beloved team of Lincoln Rhyme and Amelia Sachs that showcases Deaver at the top of his game. Confronting enormous odds (and always under somewhat gruesome circumstances), the embittered detective and his feisty partner and love interest made their debut in 1991's grisly caper The Bone Collector, and hooked fans for four more books: The Coffin Dancer (1998), The Empty Chair (2000), The Stone Monkey (2002), and The Vanishing Man(2003). Of the series, Kirkus Reviews observed, "Deaver marries forensic work that would do Patricia Cornwell proud to turbocharged plots that put Benzedrine to shame."

On the creation of Rhyme, who happens to be a paraplegic, Deaver explained to Shots magazine, "I wanted to create a Sherlock Holmes-ian kind of character that uses his mind rather than his body. He solves crimes by thinking about the crimes, rather than someone who can shoot straight, run faster, or walk into the bar and trick people into giving away the clues."

As for his reputation for conjuring up some of the most unsavory scenes in pop crime fiction, Deaver admits on his web site, "In general, I think, less is more, and that if a reader stops reading because a book is too icky then I've failed in my obligation to the readers."

Good To Know

Deaver revises his manuscripts "at least 20 or 30 times" before his publishers get to even see a version.

Two of his books have been made into major feature films. The first was A Maiden's Grave (the film adaptation was called Dead Silence), which starred James Garner and Marlee Matlin. The Bone Collector came next, starring Denzel Washington and Angelina Jolie.

In addition to being a bestselling novelist, Deaver has also been a folksinger, songwriter, music researcher, and professional poet.

Deaver's younger sister, Julie Reece Deaver, is a fellow author who writes novels for young adults.

In our interview with Deaver, he reveals, "My inspiration for writing is the reader. I want to give readers whatever will excite and please them. It's absolutely vital in this business for authors to know their audience and to write with them in mind."

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    1. Also Known As:
      William Jefferies, Jeffery Wilds Deaver
    2. Hometown:
      Washington, D.C.
    1. Date of Birth:
      May 6, 1950
    2. Place of Birth:
      Chicago, Illinois
    1. Education:
      B.A., University of Missouri; Juris Doctor, cum laude, Fordham University School of Law
    2. Website:

Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 143 )
Rating Distribution

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(45)

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(7)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 143 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 13, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    So much more than the movie!

    I had seen the movie adaptation of this book long before I knew anything about the book itself. When I stumbled upon Jeffery Deaver, the author, and discovered a series featuring Lincoln Rhyme and Amelia Sachs, I wanted to read them all, based on how much I had enjoyed the film.

    As is all to often the case, the book and the film share a title and a few elements, but the stories are so very different as to be nearly unrelated. Fortunately, Mr. Deaver's story was exceptionally well written. I found the construction of the storyline dynamic and exciting, and the fact that it differed so from the movie left me guessing at many of his twists and turns.

    For those unfamiliar with the story, Lincoln Rhyme was the most brilliant forensic investigator ever to have been a part of the NYPD. He had created their protocol for forensic investigation, worked with the FBI, established databases for cataloging trace evidence. He'd done it all. Until a falling beam on a crime scene he was working stuck him, crushing the fourth cervical vertebra, leaving his supercharged brain nearly the only working part of his body. His head and shoulders, a little movement in his left ring finger, and his vivid recollection of the city are all he has; other than a desire to end his own life.

    Patrol Officer Amelia Sachs is a tall, beautiful, former model with aspirations of getting off the street and into her new assignment in public relations. In ways, she may be even more damaged than even Rhyme. When she is called to investigate the report of a partially buried body, she discovers an intentionally left clue to a series of abduction murders. Murders that have not yet happened.

    Racing against time, Rhyme is reluctantly drafted to run the forensics, and he pulls in the equally reluctant Sachs as his eyes and legs to work the scenes. The resulting symbiosis is far greater than the sum of its parts, and the whirlwind telling of the story is masterful.

    The Bone Collector is an energetic and well researched book, full of vivid and often troubling images. Jeffery Deaver has done a fantastic job here, and I whole heartedly recommend this book to all.

    13 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 21, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Read this first!

    I have been a follower of the "New Religion", Forensics, for years. While laid up with an injury, I discovered "Forensic Files" on CourtTV... which, unlike entertaining "scripted" TV series such as CSI, does not spoon-feed or sugar-coat the science behind solving crime for the audience. That being said, Mr. Deaver gives me the pleasure of enjoying true forensics... not something dumbed-down for the enjoyment of the masses. Truly, how often is the Gas Chromatograph-Mass Spectrometer even mentioned on CSI? Mr. Deaver is obviously very comfortable with the inner workings of forensic science... making sure his characters are fully capable of bandying the terms back and forth in a way that makes perfect sense to the audience, while never bogging down the break-neck pace of the story - a talent some other authors could well benefit from learning.

    7 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 18, 2013

    Great start to a series

    Characters are great, with many details about crime scene investigation. I found a later part of the series and had to start at the beginning, just because the one I read was so good. This helped me understand better some of the later parts in the series. Each book can be read out of order, but they make more sense if you start at the beginning.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 30, 2012

    Great story line poor language

    I tried to finish what others have raved about. The f word and its useage increases as the story goes on. I understand using language of the culture however this was over done. I have enjoyed his other books and as such am giving the second book a try. If language offends you avoid this book!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 12, 2013

    Highly Recommend

    This was a riveting book that kept my attention. I was looking forward to continuing reading every chance I got. I will buy more of this series and others by Jeffery Deaver.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 9, 2012

    Excellent! One of the best books ive read in a long time.

    This was an amazing book. Creepy, complex characters, twist at the end...what more coild someone ask for? Lincoln rhyme is a former detective who was injured in an accident that made him a quadriplegic. Now he can only move his head, shoulders, and left ring finger. Unexpectedly, hiold partner comes to him asking for his help on a case. This bothers rhyme because it gets in the way of his goal of killing himself, but he rediscovers that he is an amazing detective. Like brilliant.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 14, 2012

    Great read!

    Much more exciting than the movie, and I was PREVIOUSLY quite a fan of the movie. This happens to me every time I read a book/watch the movie, if the movie is too far off the original book, I don't like it anymore.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 15, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    One of my favorites of all time

    I LOVE this book. The bad guy, the Bone Collector, is fantastic. Deaver's writing from his point of view, delusional man thinking he is in the late 1800's is spot on. I wish all of Deaver's books were this good!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2000

    THIS BOOK WAS VERY VERY VERY VERY VERY GOOD!!!!!!!!

    I've read The Bone Collector and it's a very good book!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I saw the movie too, and the book and the movie where both very good!!!!!!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 21, 2014

    A must read.

    I am hooked. I am going to read every book. Could not put it down. A surprise even to the end.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 9, 2013

    i have a question

    What age group would this be appropriate for?

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 24, 2013

    Great series!

    I wasn't sure if I would like the character but have been hooked! Eager to read the next in the series!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 19, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Great book,

    kept me on edge most of the time. Very detailed,

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2012

    AWESOME

    Grabber from the start.. could not put it down

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2012

    Thrilling

    I couldn't put it down. I thought I had it figured out, but was surprised at the end. Great read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 26, 2011

    very good read

    i just recently started reading jeffery deaver and so far the book is awesome. really quite a page turner, keeps you involved.

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  • Posted August 3, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Gripping from the first page!

    I read this book in a day and a half! I could completely tune out everything going on around me...so much so that I would jump out of my skin if anyone tapped me on the shoulder. I will never again get in a taxi and not look at the locks and door handles. The movie sucked!!! Don't watch it, READ IT!

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  • Posted February 23, 2011

    awesome

    amazing book

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  • Posted July 22, 2010

    Ever so much better than the movie

    I've always been a fan of the movie, but once I got into the book, the movie was just a teaser. The story is really addicting and...spoiler alert, there's one heck of a twist at the end that I did not see coming.

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  • Posted May 19, 2010

    Unlikable Protagonist

    This is the first of Deaver's books to feature Lincoln Rhyme, quadriplegic criminalist. Rhyme has given up on life, literally. He has decided to have a doctor help him commit suicide. But a spree killer who starts taking tourists just before a big event at the UN and a gutsy female officer with problems of her own pique his interest.

    Deaver's protagonist would provoke no sympathy if we weren't handicapped. He's a jerk, plain and simply. A brilliant jerk, but a jerk. Amelia Sachs isn't much more likable. But their dedication to figuring out the clues, planted and unplanned, keeps the story racing forward.

    This is a page turner. The pace is often frenetic, but Deaver slows down--sometimes excruciatingly so--when the killer is at his cruelest. The book has a different outcome than the movie of the same name. I did feel a bit cheated by the big reveal, because it felt like the villian was a character who was chosen simply to throw the reader a curve.

    I'd recommend it as a lesson in the art of pacing.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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