B.O.L.O (Be on the lookout) is a new segment that will center on all mystery novels and short stories . Every month I’ll find a book (old or new) to read and then review.
This month’s BOLO is the 11th installment in Jeffery Deaver’s famed Lincoln Rhyme series entitled The Skin Collector. This is more then just a play on words, for this novel is the direct sequel to Rhyme’s first adventure The Bone Collector. This story pits the quadriplegic forensic sleuth against a villain who abducts his victims into the underground and tattoos his victims with poison, all while avoiding detection from Rhyme and his colleagues as well as leaving a cryptic messages on the victims which he challenges Rhyme to solve. But what Rhyme fears the most is that this killer has a twisted obsession with Rhyme’s first adversary The Bone Collector. But this only makes Rhyme and his protege Amelia Sachs more determine to catch him before he commits a plan of horrific tendencies. Meanwhile Rhyme’s long time nemesis, The Watchmaker is now long dead and buried but Rhyme feels that their are still some unanswered questions about his most ingenuous foe. So he assigns his second protege Officer Ron Pulaski to go undercover to see if any associates might come to pay their respects or perform any dirty deals that The Watchmaker may has planned from grave.
Anyone who is familiar with Deaver’s writing style should already know how well crafted his plots can be. every chapter that was read had such a strong feeling of bone chilling suspense and ending in a horrific cliffhangers. This allows readers to be glued in and check out the next chapter to see what would happen next. The pacing of the story is split between Rhyme and his team conducting their investigation and the killer who has certain rules that helps him avoid and target his pursuers.
As always the dialogue is top notch especially in the investigation scenes. Hearing the scenes where Sachs is “walking the grid” and she, Rhyme, and criminalist Mel Cooper begin analyzing the evidence and putting up the results on the white board is something that all armchair sleuths can follow along in order to put the pieces together. The scenes describing the killer’s movements will gain information from a different insight as well as look into the killer’s mind to uncover his diabolical plans for Rhyme, since he has managed to outwit Rhyme by cleaning and destroying crime scenes and planting traps for Sachs who processes each of the gruesome crime scenes.
Being that the killer’s modus operandi is tattooing his victims with multiple poisons they seek the aid of master tattoo artist TT Gordon for help in this tattoo work. Honestly I kind of like Gordon as he was a unique character who acted as like a master of his chosen profession. While he has a very unique taste for understanding grammar, he’s willing to help Rhyme in understand the method of tattooing in order to stop the skin collector from killing again.
This was an excellent way for Deaver to bring his series to full circle, for it earns the title of sequel. The Skin Collector will tests readers wits as well as their nerves. For like all of Deaver’s stories, it offers an action packed roller coaster without having readers lose track of working a well crafted puzzle of a mystery. So if you’re if not careful when reading this book, the twists and turns will make you want you read the story again and again until you understand every trick and curve ball that Deaver threw at you.
The Skin Collector is available on hardcover, E-book and audio.