Spellbinder Saturday: Another collector for Lincoln Rhyme

As easy as A, B, C . . . from HA

The Skin Collector is the latest Lincoln Rhyme adventure by Jeffery Deaver. An adventure, not a mystery. Well, yes, a mystery, but Skin Collectoronly as to why, not who. Well, maybe who. I digress…

A serial killer is loose in New York City. His mode of killing is different than anything the crew of Rhyme’s has ever seen: he kills with tattoos; instead of ink, he uses poisons… homemade poisons. His tattoos appear to be clues, but clues to what are one of the mysteries. The killing ground he chooses is underground, deep underground: the utility tunnels under the city.

As usual, Deaver takes us on a ride. What appears to be cut and dried turns out to be filled with plot twists to the point where nobody is who they seem. Or are they? Duplicity runs amok. A side story even has Rhyme’s rookie assistant, Pulaski, going under cover.

The plotting is tight, the plot twists believable and the biggest shocker is saved until the very end. It also gives us the lead in to the next Lincoln Rhyme novel. Yes, that’s right: a cliffhanger. Not my favorite ending for a novel (or for a TV season), but it seems to be more common than it used to be. I blame it all on “Dallas” and the “Who Shot JR” episode. The ending of The Skin Collector is actually a practical place to end, considering the plot twist involved. I just hope it doesn’t mean we have to wait a couple of years to find out what happens next!

There are references to earlier Rhyme and Sachs mysteries, most prevalent is The Bone Collector. The character of the Skin Collector appears to be a natural extension of the earlier collector. Or is he? Does the Bone Collector have anything to do with this new serial killer? Maybe… maybe not.

The pace is fast, never a slowdown, and the bad guy is properly devilish. A good read as always.

See you next time for Tips on Tuesday.


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