Literature / Lincoln Rhyme

A Detective Drama series written by lawyer-turned-novelist Jeffery Deaver, currently at twelve books and counting.

The series follows Lincoln Rhyme, formerly one of the world's leading police investigators until a freak tunnel collapse left him paralyzed from the neck down. To compensate, Lincoln has his partner (and eventual love interest) Amelia Sachs run scenes on site for him while he pieces together the clues from his room. Together, the two come into contact with (and nearly always stop) a wide variety of serial killers, assassins, and mixes of the two.

Books in the series include:
  • The Bone Collector (1997)
  • The Coffin Dancer (1998)
  • The Empty Chair (2000)
  • The Stone Monkey (2002)
  • The Vanished Man (2003)
  • The Twelfth Card (2005)
  • The Cold Moon (2006)
  • The Broken Window (2008)
  • The Burning Wire (2010)
  • The Kill Room (2013)
  • The Skin Collector (2014)
  • The Steel Kiss (2016)

This page is about the Lincoln Rhyme series of novels. For the film based on the first book, check The Bone Collector

All book titles below are unmarked. As the series thrives on readers knowing nothing of each plot, beware of inherent spoilers.

This series contains examples of:

  • A-Cup Angst: Lucy Kerr in The Empty Chair. Justified as she actually lost her breasts to cancer.
  • Arch-Enemy: The Watchmaker, who is as intelligent as Rhyme and is to date the only Big Bad to evade capture for multiple books.
    • The Coffin Dancer, another Professional Killer, was implied to be this in the past after one of his bombs killed someone Rhyme loved.
    • To a lesser degree, Charlotte the Mad Bomber from the end of The Bone Collector, who reappears in The Cold Moon as The Man Behind the Man.
  • A Date with Rosie Palms: Garret Haldon in The Empty Chair — but then again, he's a 16 year old kid.
  • Alone with the Psycho: Many of the books have Rhyme or Sachs trapped alone with a killer at some point.
    • The Bone Collector: Both Sachs and Rhyme are subjected to this in the climax. The killer first ambushes Sachs in her house and buries her in a shallow grave in her backyard, then reveals himself to the helpless Rhyme and tries to murder him. Rhyme is forced to bite the man's throat out.
    • The Coffin Dancer: At the end, Sachs is trapped in a safehouse with the real Coffin Dancer, who has massacred the staff and is now hunting her.
    • The Empty Chair: Subverted when Rhyme is alone with Jim Bell, as it was all part of the plan to capture him. Played straight mere chapters later when the nurse in Rhyme's surgery reveals herself to be complicit in the plot and tries to sabotage the procedure.
    • The Stone Monkey: Every chapter Amelia spends with John Sung retroactively becomes this when it's revealed that he is the Ghost pulling a Dead Person Impersonation.
    • The Vanished Man: The Conjurer sneaks into Rhyme's apartment, toys with him for a while, and tries to kill him by burning the house down — or at least, acting like that was the plan.
    • The Broken Window: Amelia winds up trapped in 522's hoarder maze and is hunted by him until the police barge in.
    • The Burning Wire: The Watchmaker sneaks into Rhyme's room and prepares to kill him with an electrical circuit. Good thing Rhyme anticipated this.
    • The Skin Collector: Pam ends up in this position when her boyfriend Seth turns out to be Billy Haven, who beats and forcefully tattoos her until she fights back with her box cutter.
    • The Steel Kiss: Once Alicia realizes that Rhyme and Archer have her figured out, she tries to knock Archer unconscious and comes after Rhyme with a razor blade, almost successfully killing him. However, Archer, who turns out not to be completely crippled, knocks Alicia out with a lamp.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Detective Banks loses an arm in The Coffin Dancer, courtesy of Stephen Kall.
  • And the Adventure Continues: The Bone Collector and The Vanished Man both end with Rhyme preparing to solve a newly introduced case loosely tied into the recently resolved main plot. The "missing-shoe murder" in The Vanished Man is answered in the next book, but it takes until The Cold Moon nine years later for the Right-Wing Militia Fanatic Mad Bomber from The Bone Collector to be revisited.
  • Armor Is Useless: Averted. Several characters have been in shootouts and it's noted that the reason they came out with primarily minor injuries was thanks to their kevlar vests.
  • Ascended Extra: Detective Roland Bell, a homicide/witness protection detective, who stars in a very memorable scene in The Coffin Dancer in which he goes toe to toe with Stephen Kall while brandishing two guns in a close quarters gunfight in a burning building. He ends up replacing Banks after he's Put on a Bus due to losing an arm in a previous gunfight against the same perp.
    • Ron Pulaski started as a simple rookie cop in The Twelfth Card and has since become a main character on the same level as Sachs or Sellitto.
  • As You Know: Done in the books to give a quick intro to the characters and their nature if they picked up the series halfway through and did not read The Bone Collector. Like a quick summation of Rhyme's accident that left him a quadriplegic. It gets more jarring as the series progresses, though.
  • Badass: Roland Bell, who is proficient at shooting Guns Akimbo and has gone toe-to-toe with a multitude of dangerous criminals.
    • Stephen Kall in The Coffin Dancer is a Psycho Soldier turned Professional Killer with all of the special combat training that affords: he is proficient with most firearms at long and short ranges, regularly uses explosives of all kinds to his advantage, and expertly sees through every deception sent his way. He's the closest thing to a genuine One-Man Army portrayed in the series. The real Coffin Dancer, Jodie, is all of the above and more, with the added bonus of being a Master of Disguise.
    • Kwan Ang, the Ghost, manages to outrun and outthink Rhyme multiple times despite being just one random human trafficker, and demonstrates superb skills at gunfighting and hand-to-hand combat. This foreshadows his true nature as a Professional Killer.
    • Jacob Swann from The Kill Room. One only needs to look at the climax of the novel, in which he outruns a massive police sting including a helicopter, smashes through a glass door, and engages in a fist fight-turned-Knife Fight with Sachs that lasts over several minutes, not stopping when his hand is impaled on Sachs's blade.
  • Badass Gay: Thom shows himself to be capable of some pretty badass feats when the time calls for it, from charging through a frenzied gunfight with Lincoln in tow and only passing out from his own gunshot wound when they're in cover in The Empty Chair to scaring an assisted suicide advocate away from Rhyme in an uncharacteristic Berserker Rage in The Burning Wire.
    • In The Coffin Dancer, Stephen Kall turns out to be an Armored Closet Gay with an attraction to Jodie. He still ranks as one of the most competent and deadly villains in the series.
  • Batman Gambit: Rhyme and his opponents pull these with almost equal regularity. With the villains, this usually manifests with them staging their earlier crimes to distract from their true goals (this is consistently part of the Watchmaker's M.O.), while Rhyme tends to use elaborate trickery to fool them into taking an action that allows the police to ambush and arrest them.
  • Big Bad: The Watchmaker is a good candidate for the main villain of the series.
  • Big Brother Is Watching: 522 can spy on his victims and set them up for any number of misfortunes without being anywhere nearby. This is because he works for SSD, who maintain a vast database in collaboration with the government detailing every American citizen's real-time location, internet browsing habits, personal records, traits, etc.
  • Big Eater: Vernon in The Steel Kiss, who can scarf down a dozen burgers without feeling satisfied despite being notably skinny.
  • The Cameo: Kara, the magician apprentice from The Vanished Man reappears in The Twelfth Card to help with a clue.
    • Kathryn Dance, originally an Ascended Extra who got her own book series, makes appearances in The Broken Window and The Burning Wire searching for the Watchmaker. Similarly, in the other book series, Lincoln Rhyme makes several appearances and even helps out with a case on-site.
  • Character Development: Over the course of the series, Rhyme goes from a reclusive, suicidal alcoholic to a moderately well-adjusted man with a host of true friends and a stable relationship. He even regains the use of his right arm at the end of The Burning Wire. The alcoholism is here to stay, though.
  • Chastity Couple: Lincoln and Amelia, due to his condition. It's made clear that he can still have sex and father children with Amelia, but neither of them have any interest in it. At least, not initially — they start actively sleeping together in later books.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Just about every damn book features one or more.
  • The Chess Master: Lincoln Rhyme becomes this when he's trying to catch a perpetrator, usually able to think three steps ahead on the slimmest of trace evidence and take them down by the end. He is also shown to be proficient enough at chess to beat the computer.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Garret Haldon in The Empty Chair.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: The Ghost, 522, and Jacob Swann are all fond of slowly killing people with various types of blades.
  • Cool Car: Sachs' 1969 Camaro. Ends up getting completely destroyed in The Broken Window when 522 has it repossessed and sent to a junkyard to be scrapped. It then gets replaced by a Ford Torino Cobra.
  • The Cracker: 522 / John Rollins in The Broken Window.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Every unsub in their respective books comes equipped with a plot that takes Rhyme and crew hundreds of pages to unravel, and they usually have contingencies for any attempts to arrest them. The Watchmaker is the king of this by nature, as his entire M.O. revolves around orchestrating fantastically complicated schemes full of misdirections and escape plans to serve whatever purpose he's working toward.
  • Creepy Souvenir: No points awarded for guessing what the titular villain of The Bone Collector collects.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: One of the first victims in The Bone Collector is basically steamed to death. Other victims would have met similarly cruel fates had they not been rescued, including being eaten by a swarm of rats.
    • The victims of the Conjurer are killed with repurposed magic tricks, including one being sawn in half.
    • The Watchmaker specializes in these. This is initially subverted, as he was only pretending to murder people in The Cold Moon to serve his guise as a vigilante. His victims in ensuing books are all too real.
    • Jacob Swann is fond of cutting and flaying people with kitchen knives just right so that they don't die of shock right away.
    • The Skin Collector takes up the torch of agonizing deaths from his bone-obsessed predecessor, resulting in some of the worst deaths in the entire series: he tattoos people with ink made from concentrated toxins, resulting in unimaginably painful deaths that explicitly last anywhere from thirty minutes to a full hour.
    • Vernon Griffith's first victim in The Steel Kiss falls into the motor of an escalator and is so horribly crushed and mangled by the gears that he almost splits in half, and he immediately begs Sachs to kill him.
  • Dead Person Impersonation: In The Vanished Man, the Conjurer is actually Eric Weir's assistant, not the man himself.
    • 522 is impersonating John Rollins in The Broken Window.
    • The Watchmaker kills electrician Raymond Galt, takes his identity, and frames him for the crimes in The Burning Wire.
  • Deep South: The Empty Chair takes place here, and is currently the only entry in the series to take place entirely outside of New York.
  • Dirty Cop: Amelia was in a relationship with one, a fact which is continually brought up throughout the series.
    • Mason appears to be one in The Empty Chair. It turns out that he and Lucy are just about the only ones in the department who aren't crooked.
    • A ring of these is also present in The Cold Moon and being investigated by Sachs. One of them tries to kill her after she learns too much, but the Watchmaker sabotages his attempt.
  • Disability as an Excuse for Jerkassery: Rhyme is made of this, especially at the beginning. Even after he undergoes Character Development and starts regaining some mobility, he's still a comical dick to people who slightly annoy him.
  • Doing In the Wizard: In The Vanished Man, Lincoln and a magician assistant (and Jeffery Deaver, by extension) provide concrete explanations for how various magic tricks are done while pursuing the Conjurer.
  • Driven to Suicide: Rhyme, at the beginning of the first book, is looking for assistance as he's a quadriplegic. He changes his mind by the end, ironically because the whole case was the killer's way of making Rhyme care about living again so killing him would be satisfying.
    • Vernon's brother Peter in The Steel Kiss.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Stephen Kall is Killed Offscreen by the real Big Bad in The Coffin Dancer. His corpse is unceremoniously identified just before his killer is revealed.
  • Drop the Hammer: The People's Guardian / Vernon Griffith bludgeons people to death with a ball-peen hammer in The Steel Kiss.
  • Evil Is Petty: 522 in The Broken Window is a Psychopathic Manchild hacker who robs, rapes, murders, frames, and otherwise torments random people for pure fun. His Freudian Excuse being raised by Abusive Parents who neglected to address his clear hoarding problem and mental instability — doesn't even begin to explain or justify the lengths he goes to.
  • Evil Luddite: Unsub 40 / The People's Guardian / Vernon Griffith in The Steel Kiss hates "Shoppers" and kills people with electronics to make a point. Except that's not really his motivation, it's actually someone else's revenge plot. When he refers to "shoppers", he is talking about the people that bullied him and his brother during his school years during the workshop class.
  • Extremely Short Timespan: Lincoln's investigations consistently span two or three days at most, despite all that goes on within them. Since the majority of real-life murder cases are either solved within the first 48 hours or not at all, this counts as Truth in Television.
  • Eye Scream: Near the end of The Coffin Dancer, the titular assassin is shot through his rifle scope by Amelia, filling his eye with bullet fragments and glass shards. He lives.
  • Fair Cop: Rhyme is described as a young and handsome version of Robert De Niro, despite being in his forties. Amelia Sachs is a more straight case considering she's a former model.
  • Faking the Dead: The Conjurer fakes being shot in the head during a prison transfer and escapes in the The Vanished Man.
    • The Watchmaker in The Skin Collector has been faking from the start. Billy Haven also gets in on this at the climax, dressing a homeless man as him and setting him up to gruesomely die so the police don't anticipate his next move.
  • Fat Bastard: The Watchmaker's partner in The Cold Moon, an obese serial rapist named Vincent.
  • Fish out of Water: The whole gang in The Empty Chair, where the action takes place in the swamplands of North Carolina rather than the usual urban streets. Rhyme even mentions this.
  • For the Evulz: 522 in The Broken Window destroys lives on a regular basis for shits and giggles. He even tracks and repeatedly torments a random doctor for years of the poor man's life.
  • Freudian Excuse: Many of the villains have one.
    • The Bone Collector watched his family die in front of him because of Rhyme's error in judgement.
    • Stephen Kall is heavily implied to have been raped by his father or the boys at his military school. He also inadvertently murdered his father by tying him to a tree for a period of time, coming back to find him covered in maggots.
    • Kwan Ang saw his family killed by students in Mao's revolution, and set to work over the next few years of his life hunting down and brutalizing every one.
    • The Conjurer lost his teacher Erick Weir in the circus fire.
    • The Watchmaker has a notably low-key one for the ostensible series Big Bad: his parents neglected him, so he started organizing things to stave off boredom.
    • 522 was abused by his parents, who neglected to address his mental health issues, and bullied by the foster children they eventually took in.
    • Raymond Galt got cancer from the power lines where he worked. At least, that's what the Watchmaker wants everyone to think.
    • Jacob Swann grew fixated on cooking as a way of getting his neglectful, frequently absentee father to pay more attention to him — which was an only momentarily successful endeavor. His acquired skills with knives, on the other hand, stuck with him for life.
    • Billy Haven was indoctrinated by a brutal, racist right-wing militia throughout his life, and has been forced into an incestuous relationship with his aunt from the age of thirteen on.
    • Vernon Griffith was viciously bullied by kids in his woodshop class for having Marfan syndrome, and his brother (who had the same condition) eventually killed himself after a particularly vicious prank.
  • Fun with Acronyms: Roland Bell is fond of them.
  • Geek Physiques: Cooper, who is Rhyme's main forensic lab guy, is often described as this, both when it comes to his actual body build and the way he dresses, but he has a hot blonde girlfriend and is a champion at tango competitions.
  • Genius Cripple: Lincoln Rhyme, a genius quadriplegic.
  • Government Conspiracy: The plot of The Kill Room revolves around the government assassination of an American citizen in the Bahamas and a subsequent coverup. However, while they are responsible for the hit, the Knife Nut Psycho for Hire cleaning up witnesses is completely unaffiliated.
  • GPS Evidence: In The Bone Collector, all of the evidence at each crime scene deliberately points to the location of the next victim as part of the killer's game. Rhyme and the NYPD cross-reference the evidence and are able to pin point the exact location somewhere else in the city. Justified in that the more unique evidence is, the easier it is to trace.
  • The Gunslinger: Sachs, who even got a perfect score on the three gun competition.
  • Hardboiled Detective: Sonny Li in The Stone Monkey.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: A victim in The Vanished Man is sawn in half by the Conjurer. He's mercifully implied to have been already dead of swift head trauma, though.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: Lincoln eventually ends up with Amelia, and in The Broken Window recounts with some embarrassment that his first love was also a redhead. Amelia seems more amused than anything.
  • Hero-Worshipper: Pulaski towards Rhyme, Sachs, and Sellitto. Also, in The Broken Window, 522 towards Andrew Sterling, the CEO of SSD, whom he looks up to as his God.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: In The Stone Monkey, the elderly Chang Jiechi sets up a meeting with the Ghost in lieu of his son Sam, pretending to sell out his family but actually intent on killing the Ghost. He manages to gun down one of his mercenary allies before dying himself. Toward the climax, Sonny Li also ends up pulling one, desperately crawling toward the Ghost after being mortally wounded and managing to secure evidence under his fingernails that tells Rhyme the Ghost's identity.
    • One is attempted at the climax of The Burning Wire by an agent who tries to stop Galt's / the Watchmaker's attack on a packed convention center by rerouting the electrical circuits in a way that will expose him to lethal amounts of electricity. It turns out that since the building was never the target, this was all for nothing and simply leaves him in an awkward position.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: The Conjurer excels at distracting the cops with complicated illusions. In the end, he's brought down when fellow magician Kara helps Rhyme and Sachs trick him into thinking he successfully blew up the circus, leaving him open to arrest.
  • Hypocrite: Lincoln Rhyme. See It's All About Me.
  • Impossibly Tacky Clothes: Dellray is always described as wearing the worst possible outfits out there, including green plaid suits and bright neon orange shirts.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Stephen Kall in The Coffin Dancer.
    • This is thought of the sniper in The Kill Room, who made a shot across the ocean from a mile away. As it's actually a drone that pulled this off, this is subverted.
  • I Need You Stronger: In The Bone Collector, this is Colin Stanton's motivation for his killing/kidnapping spree - he wanted Rhyme to have the will to live before killing him. Before that case, Rhyme is actively pursuing a way to euthanize himself and thus, killing him would have been unsatisfying.
  • Insufferable Genius: Lincoln Rhyme is brilliant and doesn't have a problem showing it off. He is rough and rude to just about everybody.
  • Interservice Rivalry: NYPD and the FBI in the first book, specially after Dellray takes over the case. Things got smoothed out before the end and now Dellray is one of Rhyme's staunchest supporters and hooks him up with connections within the FBI whenever he needs it.
  • It's All About Me: Rhyme can be like this, easily dismissing that he might be at fault for anything.
    • Particularly bad in The Steel Kiss where he steals Mel Cooper for a civilian liability case, even though it means Sachs is left to run a murder case with less than stellar technicians. Since the cases turn out to both be connected to the People's Guardian killing spree, this results in slower work and lost evidence.
  • It's Personal: The killer's motivation against Rhyme in The Bone Collector, and Rhyme himself in The Coffin Dancer and whenever the Watchmaker is around.
  • Jack the Ripoff: The Bone Collector, aka Dr. Taylor / Colin Stanton, bases his crimes off the murders of another bone-obsessed killer from 1800s with whom he feels kinship.
  • Knife Nut: Jacob Swann in The Kill Room is obsessed with knives, preferring to dispatch people by flaying them slowly.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: The fact that the Watchmaker is a Professional Killer who escapes and goes on to become Lincoln's Arch-Enemy forms the entire climax of The Cold Moon, but subsequent books (and this page) are open about it by necessity.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: The Conjurer in The Vanished Man tends to do this in his internal monologues, in which he addresses the reader as his audience.
  • Life-or-Limb Decision: A variation — Rhyme tells Sachs to cut a body's hand off rather than risk damaging the handcuffs which he wants to examine in The Bone Collector.
  • Locard's Theory: Brought up in every book, and sometimes directly quoted.
  • Man Bites Man: At the end of The Bone Collector, Rhyme bites through Stanton's throat after faking a dysreflexia attack.
  • Master of Disguise: Several of the Unsubs, like the Coffin Dancer and the Conjurer. Dellray is a heroic example.
  • Na´ve Newcomer: Pulaski, from The Twelfth Card forward. He's eager to learn and always looks up to Rhyme, Sachs and Sellito.
  • New York City Cops
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero:
    • Part of the twist endings of The Bone Collector and The Empty Chair. One of the kidnapped victims that was rescued in The Bone Collector turns out to be a domestic terrorist that blows a bomb in the UN building at the end of the book. And one of the rescued victims in The Empty Chair almost kills Lincoln in revenge for the arrest of her boyfriend.
    • What led to the 10-Minute Retirement right before the start of The Steel Kiss. His obsession with finding every single detail led to a white-collar criminal to be sentenced and eventually killed in prison, on a gun-possession charge, a gun that was his father's heirloom and had never been used, but still carried a mandatory sentence. Even worse when the white-collar criminal was using drugs and money to help out a charity to help heroin addicts, and with him gone it was gonna close.
  • No Name Given: The Coffin Dancer turns out to have an example: Joe D'Onofrio is a fake identity, and Stephen Kall is not the same killer, so we never learn the Dancer's name.
  • Nobody Poops: Averted. They go into some detail on how Thom has to help Lincoln do his business because, well, he's a quadriplegic.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Pulaski. Sometimes, he comes up with interesting insights in a case, and he knows Latin, something even Rhyme was impressed about.
  • Omniscient Database: Lincoln was working on several, and he's dismayed to find out some were not completed once he was out of the force.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Kara.
  • Only One Name: Thom. We don't find out that his last name is 'Reston' until The Broken Window.
  • Orgy of Evidence: In the short story "A Textbook Case", the killer left behind a near-mountain of contradictory evidence. Simply categorizing the various kinds of evidence, before any sort of analysis could occur, would give the killer plenty of time to cover their tracks.
  • Phone-In Detective: Rhyme.
  • Plot Twist: Every single book is filled with them, often multiple in quick succession. The series and author have become so associated with them that there's a good chance any fact supposedly laid out as truth is a multi-layered lie.
    • Twist Ending: The Bone Collector ( Carol Ganz is a terrorist who bombs the embassy), The Empty Chair ( Lydia the nurse was affiliated with the conspirators and sabotages Rhyme's surgery), and The Skin Collector ( the Watchmaker was Faking the Dead).
  • Professional Killer: The Coffin Dancer ( both Stephen Kall and "Jodie"), Thompson Boyd in The Twelfth Card, the Watchmaker, and Jacob Swann in The Kill Room.
  • Properly Paranoid: Robert Jorgensen, a poor doctor whose life has been hell after 522 decided to steal everything from him.
    • The Cloudcuckoolander Was Right: He turned out to be spot on about pretty much everything. Including there being an RFID chip in the book he thought had "cursed" him.
  • Psycho for Hire: Stephen Kall in The Coffin Dancer is a reliable, world-renowned mercenary and Professional Killer. He also has severe mental traumas and experiences hallucinations about worms in his hands that compel him to wash them until they bleed.
    • Jacob Swann in The Kill Room is an independent specialist hired to clean up and dispose of witnesses related to a military operation. That he has a perverse fixation on inflicting pointless Cold-Blooded Torture on his victims by using various types of knives to shred flesh like he's cooking is of no concern to his employers.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: Vincent, the Watchmaker's accomplice from The Cold Moon, is a particularly disturbing example. His internal monologue sometimes sounds like that of an eight- or ten-year-old boy, and he's also a vicious serial rapist.
  • Put on a Bus: Detective Banks after losing an arm in The Coffin Dancer, and the Hardy Twins from The Twelfth Card forward.
  • Race Against the Clock: Part of the Bone Collector's MO. He kidnaps people, restrains them in a place where they will slowly die in agonizing pain (and be stripped to their bones) if not found by law enforcement within a set time, leaves evidence at the scene pointing to the next victim, and so on.
  • Red Herring: Goes hand in hand with the Plot Twist.
  • Red Shirt: The poor cyclist cop in The Vanished Man.
  • Right-Wing Militia Fanatic: They play a huge role in the series, serving as supporting antagonists in The Empty Chair and The Vanished Man, and larger groups are responsible for the events of The Cold Moon and The Skin Collector.
  • Rock Beats Laser: A major element of The Broken Window: this is how 522 gets the information from the SSD datapens. More specifically, SSD has a system that wipes all electronics, be it a pen drive or a cell phone, so 522 would just write everything down on a legal pad instead.
    • In the climax of The Twelfth Card, Amelia beats down the killer (who has a gun) with a stone.
  • Saying Too Much: How Pam figures out that her boyfriend Seth McGuinn is really Billy Haven in The Skin Collector.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Sachs's reaction when Rhyme tells her to cut the hand off the body of a woman she saw die not ten minutes previously in The Bone Collector.
  • Self-Deprecation: In The Skin Collector, Rhyme reflects that the Bone Collector (who was never named as such in the original novel except for in his own thoughts) was given that title by an "overblown novelization", and remembers speaking to its writer about some case details not presented in the media accounts, expressing a poor opinion of the man in the process.
  • Servile Snarker: Thom, Rhyme's caregiver; see Vitriolic Best Buds.
  • Shout-Out: To Journey to the West in "The Stone Monkey".
  • Shown Their Work: Jeffery Deaver takes great care in researching things related to each case or the story as a whole.
  • Spanner in the Works: Robert Jorgensen in The Broken Window manages to save Sachs' life by tailing her and eventually tracking down 522 just as he's about to start torturing her. Sadly, he gets shot in the process.
  • State Sec: NIOS comes off as this in The Kill Room.
  • Stillborn Franchise: The film version of the first book never spawned sequels.
  • Straight Gay: Thom isn't explicitly identified as gay until The Empty Chair, and he displays very few stereotypical mannerisms.
  • Street Smart: Fred Dellray exploits this trait and his penchant for disguises to blend into gangs and make busts.
  • Super OCD: The Watchmaker.
  • Swarm of Rats: One of the victims of the Bone Collector ends up covered in rats.
  • Sympathy for the Devil: At the end of The Steel Kiss, Rhyme and Amelia both express sympathy for Vernon Griffith after hearing of his traumatic past and how Alicia used him throughout the killing spree. Rhyme even comes to recognize Vernon as one of the most complex and tragic killers he has ever faced.
  • 10-Minute Retirement: Rhyme, at the beginning of the series. He has another one in The Steel Kiss after a case goes sour. Predictably, since the series continues on, neither of these last.
  • The Dog Was the Mastermind: Several books end like this.
    • The Bone Collector is Lincoln's doctor, Peter Taylor, who is actually the supposedly dead Colin Stanton from the story Rhyme told Sachs.
    • In The Coffin Dancer, the titular assassin is not Stephen Kall, but the scrawny homeless guy who joined up with him midway through.
    • In The Stone Monkey, the Ghost is pretending to be Dr. John Sung, the immigrant he killed on the beach at the start.
    • In The Vanished Man, the Conjurer was not Erick Weir, but his assistant.
    • The mastermind behind the events of The Twelfth Card is the owner of the historical archive.
    • In The Broken Window, 522 is a random security guard at SSD.
    • The Skin Collector, aka Billy Haven, is Seth McGuinn, Pam's boyfriend. Also, the Watchmaker was Faking the Dead and disguised himself as his own lawyer.
    • Vernon Griffith is taking orders from his girlfriend Alicia, who is the real mastermind and sole beneficiary of the People's Guardian scheme.
  • The Man Behind the Man: In The Skin Collector, Billy Haven's teacher was the Watchmaker.
  • Theme Serial Killer
    • The Bone Collector (Colin Stanton) is recreating the murders of James Schneider, a fictional serial murder who was also known as the Bone Collector.
    • The Conjurer is recreating famous magic tricks performed by famous magicians as part of his killing spree.
    • The Watchmaker does this twice, using a clock motif in The Cold Moon and electricity in The Burning Wire.
    • Billy Haven, aka the Skin Collector, kills his victims by mixing body modification and poisons.
    • Vernon Griffith kills people by hacking electronics with a smart remote, starting by crushing a man to death in a malfunctioning escalator.
  • The Triads and the Tongs: Present in The Stone Monkey.
  • Those Two Guys: Detectives Bedding and Saul, AKA The Hardy Twins.
  • Title Drop: The Bone Collector, The Coffin Dancer, The Empty Chair, The Vanished Man, The Kill Room.
  • To the Pain: Jacob Swann in The Kill Room is fond of describing exactly how he will go about mutilating his victims when they're helpless.
  • Troubled, but Cute: Sachs, who tends to chew her nails or scratch her scalp until she starts bleeding.
    • To a lesser degree, Garret Haldon in The Empty Chair.
  • Two Lines, No Waiting: Rhyme's and Sachs's parallel investigations in The Cold Moon. It's present in the other books as well, but to a lesser degree.
  • Un-Person: A variation. 522 takes possession of people's identities to commit crimes, then plants evidence that leads the police straight to the real, and innocent, people.
  • Villainous Breakdown: In The Coffin Dancer, the titular villain, after getting shot by Sachs and having his right eye destroyed, still tries to murder his target, slowly crawling towards her with a sharp stone in his hands.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Lincoln and his caregiver, Thom. They jab and snark at each other constantly and Thom has walked out as many times as Lincoln has tried to fire him, but they explicitly care deeply about each other, and Thom is known for flying into a sudden rage if anyone threatens the vulnerable Lincoln.
  • Who Watches the Watchmen?: 522 has access to almost all data and can manipulate it to suit his own ends.
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: The Coffin Dancer, the Conjurer, and the Watchmaker are all masters of it.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle: Sometimes, the cases seem to have been solved with about a hundred pages left in the book. This is a good indicator that a Plot Twist or seven are about to be dropped into Lincoln's lap.

Alternative Title(s): The Bone Collector, The Coffin Dancer, The Empty Chair, The Stone Monkey, The Vanished Man, The Twelfth Card, The Cold Moon, The Broken Window, The Burning Wire

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Literature/LincolnRhyme