I received this book free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Skin Collector Series: Lincoln Rhyme #11
on May 13th 2014
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A new type of serial killer is stalking the streets of New York – one more devious and disturbing than ever before.
They call this butcher The Skin Collector: a tattooist with a chamber of torture hidden deep underground. But instead of using ink to create each masterpiece, the artist uses a lethal poison which will render targets dead before they can even entertain the prospect of escape . . .
Drafted in to investigate, NYPD detective Lincoln Rhyme and his associate Amelia Sachs have little to go on but a series of cryptic messages left etched into the skin of the deceased. As the pair struggle to discover the meaning behind the designs, they are led down a treacherous and twisting path where nothing is as it seems. And with the clock rapidly ticking before the killer strikes again, they must untangle the twisted web of clues before more victims – or they themselves – are next.
A woman is discovered dead in an underground passage after being tattooed by poison with only a partial message “The Second”. Is this the second victim or is it only a partial message meaning that more deaths are in the works? The killer, known as Billy Haven, is seemingly killing at random and is constantly two steps ahead of the brilliant NYPD detective Lincoln Rhyme. It’s discovered that the killer has not only been researching Rhyme and Saches and their past cases together but one case, in particular, receives the most attention; the one where it all began: The Bone Collector. The two killers modus operandi seem entirely different and the detective is left grasping at straws in an attempt to collect clues for one of his most difficult cases to date.
I do so hate to criticize a lifelong favorite of mine but we all have our off days, right? I’ve been reading the tales of Lincoln Rhyme and Amelia Sachs for well over a decade but this mystery was completely lacking in more ways than one. I found the killer tattooing people with poison to be definitely crazy and creepy and it kept me guessing for sure but there was a second storyline that was actually ongoing from a previous installment in the series where the man that Rhyme caught had just recently died in prison. It was completely unnecessary and forced setups that we all could have done without. The tattoo killer mystery keeps you completely in the dark for the majority of the story only to give you an ‘ending’, but oh wait! Just kidding. Forgot that pesky second storyline… okay, let’s just combine the two stories even though neither seems to have a single bit to do with one another. And then we’ll have the requisite bad guy at the end tell all to make it all seem super legit. I had a similar reaction to another longtime favorite of mine I read last year and it makes me wonder if I’ve simply read too many of these authors works and at this point, I’ve become bored with their tried and true formulas or if they’ve just lost their spunk.
Are there more installments to come? No doubt after that ending. Will I be picking it up? I’m a sucker for continuing a series after this damn long. I’d love to see Deaver get back to his roots where the bad guys were sick and twisted and the mysteries weren’t so bizarre and outlandish that they ended up falling apart at the end. The Coffin Dancer, The Empty Chair, and The Stone Monkey are the best of this series and I’d love to see more installments along those lines.