Lincoln Rhyme is New York City’s best Criminalist, who has helped solve some of the most perplexing crimes that have been committed in the city. He is also a quadraplegic, as the result of an accident at a crime scene, three years before; and has decided to kill himself. But then the Police need his help. Someone is committing brutal and seemingly random attacks in the city, and the only person who can solve the clues left behind is Rhyme. However, Rhyme can’t walk the crime scenes himself, so he needs somebody to do it for him. Amelia Sachs is working her last shift as a Patrol Officer, before she transfers into Public Affairs. But the scene she stumbles across in the morning, leads her head-first into a new investigation, where she finds herself being the eyes and ears of Lincoln Rhyme…
This is the first novel in the Lincoln Rhyme series, and I felt that it did a great job of introducing the two main characters, Rhyme and Sachs. The story itself had a lot of twists and turns, and there were some genuine surprises along the way. I was never able to second guess what was going to happen, and the action moved along at a fast pace, making me want to keep reading.
As well as the main storyline, about Rhyme and his hastily assembled team trying to solve the case, the relationship between Rhyme and Sachs is explored, and as a result, I felt that I got to know the two characters well.
The other characters weren’t so well developed (with the exception of Rhyme’s aide Thom, who I adored), but that did not detract from the enjoyment of the book. As this is the first in a series, there is presumably plenty of time to get to know the others.
I did feel that at times, the storyline about the kidnappings stretched credibility somewhat. Rhyme is certainly supposed to be brilliant, but on occasions he seemed able to deduce something very specific from the vaguest of clues. This is the course the character’s job, but it did feel slight unbelieveable. However, there was enough excitement and intrigue in this book for me to forgive that minor niggle.
Overall, this is a cut above a lot of other crime based novels, and is very cleverly written. (it’s very evident that Deaver has done his research with regards to forensic work and equipment). A highly recommended read.
(Author’s website can be found here.)