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Literature: Lincoln Rhyme
Eleven-book series written by Lawyer-turned-Novelist Jeffery Deavers.

Lincoln Rhyme is one of the nation's top criminalists, or was until a tunnel collapse broke his spine and left him quadriplegic.

Now, the NYPD asks him for help once again after a murder and a kidnapping where very few, strange clues are left at the scene. He is assisted by NYPD officer Amelia Sachs, who has little forensic experience other than reading Rhyme's book on the subject, but has an extremely good eye for noticing evidence.

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 Killing Room (2013)
  • The Skin Collector (2014)

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


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 'Coffin Dancer' is implied to have been this to Lincoln Rhyme in the past.
    • The 'Watchmaker'.
    • To a lesser degree, the person who was behind the bombing at the end of The Bone Collector
  • 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: In The Bone Collector, and an especially creepy version - alone with the psycho while paralyzed below the neck. And said Psycho is your DOCTOR.
    • Also happens in The Empty Chair, where a nurse wants to kill you as you're about to go under anesthesia.
    • In The Stone Monkey, whenever Amelia is with John Sung, who's actually Kwan Ang the Ghost.
    • And again in The Vanished Man, where 'The Conjurer' sneaks into Lincoln Rhyme's apartment and almost kills him in a fire, or at least was highly convincing in that that was the plan.
    • Once more in The Burning Wire, this time with 'The Watchmaker'.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Detective Banks loses an arm in The Coffin Dancer
  • And the Adventure Continues: The Bone Collector, The Vanished Man.
  • Armor Is Useless: Averted. Several characters have been in shootouts and it's been noted that the reason they came out pretty much with minor injuries was thanks to their kevlar vests.
  • Ascended Extra: Detective Roland Bell, a homicide/witness protection detective, with a very memorable scene in The Coffin Dancer in which he goes toe to toe with the Fake! Coffin Dancer, while brandishing two guns, in a close quarter gunfight. He ends up replacing Banks after he's Put on a Bus after losing an arm in a previous gunfight against the same perp.
  • 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.
  • Batman Gambit: The 'Coffin Dancer' and The 'Conjurer' in their respective books.
    • Lincoln Rhyme himself in The Empty Chair book.
  • Big Brother Is Watching: 'God' Also, Sterling, SSD and the Government, where they have a dossier of just about every american, which keeps track of each and every single thing they do, including real time location, political affiliations, religious beliefs and everything else you can think of.
  • 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 an appearance 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.
  • Chastity Couple: Lincoln and Amelia, though one book has Amelia's narration make it clear that he's still physically capable of having sex (and thus could father children if they wanted) but neither of them having any interest in it.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Just about every damn book.
  • The Chess Master: Lincoln Rhyme goes into shades of this while trying to catch a perpetrator. He is also shown to be proficient at chess, beating the computer at one point.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Garret Haldon in The Empty Chair.
  • Cool Car: Sachs' 1969 Camaro. Ends up getting completely destroyed in The Broken Window when 'God' has it repo'd and sent to a junkyard for it to be trash compacted. Gets replaced by a Ford Torino Cobra.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Just about every Unsub in their respective books.
  • Creepy Souvenir: The Bone Collector. No points awarded for guessing what he 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 murder victims of 'The Conjurer', and later on 'The Watchmaker'. Subverted in the case of the latter, who "pretended" to murder his victim.
  • Dead Person Impersonation: 'The Conjurer' in The Vanished Man.
    • 'God' in The Broken Window
  • Deep South: The Empty Chair
  • Dirty Cop: Just about the whole department in The Empty Chair
    • Also present in The Cold Moon
  • Disability as an Excuse for Jerkassery: Rhyme is made of this, especially at the beginning.
  • Doing in the Wizard : In The Vanished Man, where the killer seems to know magic tricks.
  • Driven to Suicide: Rhyme, at the beginning of the book, is looking for assistance as he's a quadriplegic. He changes his mind later on.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: A cop in The Vanished Man
  • Evil Is Petty: 'God' in The Broken Window.
  • Eye Scream: The Coffin Dancer gets one in the climax of the book, courtesy of Amelia.
  • 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 during his prison break.
    • The 'Watchmaker' in The Skin Collector.
  • Fat Bastard: The 'Watchmaker''s partner.
  • Fish out of Water: In The Empty Chair where the action takes place in the swamplands of North Carolina. Rhyme even mentions this.
  • For the Evulz: 'God' in The Broken Window, specially when it comes to the poor doctor. He destroyed his life, his marriage, his medical practice, just for shits and giggles.
  • 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 has a hot blond girlfriend and is a champion at tango competitions.
  • Genius Cripple: Lincoln Rhyme, a genius quadriplegic.
  • GPS Evidence: In the first book, all the evidence points the location of the next victim. They cross-reference the evidence and are able to pin point the exact location some where in NYC. The Bone Collector was leaving these traces on purpose however.
  • The Gunslinger: Sachs, who even got a perfect score on the three gun competition.
  • Hardboiled Detective: Sonny Li in The Stone Monkey. Detective Lon Sellito and FBI Agent Dellray as well.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: A victim in The Vanished Man
  • 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 Sachs, Sellito and Rhyme. 'God' towards Andrew Sterling, the CEO of SSD, whom he considers 'God' instead.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: In The Stone Monkey, the old Chang Jiechi decides to meet the Ghost while pretending to sell his family, in order to murder him in lieu of his son Sam.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Malerick the 'Conjurer', who's eventually tricked and captured thanks to Kara, who's a skilled magician like him.
  • 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: The fake Coffin Dancer was a really good shot, but Swann from The Kill Room takes the cake.
  • I Need You Stronger: This is the motivation of The Bone Collector 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 does seem to 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 Personal: The reason The Bone Collector wanted to kill Rhyme in the end
    • Also the reason Agent Coe was after The Ghost in The Stone Monkey
  • Jack the Ripoff: The 'Bone Collector', the 'Conjurer' and the 'Watchmaker'.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: The Conjurer killer in The Vanished Man tends to do this in his internal monologues, in which he addresses the reader.
  • 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.
  • Locard's Theory: Brought up a lot, and sometimes quoted.
  • The Main Characters Do Everything: Justified and deconstructed - Amelia Sachs is a patrol cop with no forensics training beyond reading Rhyme's textbook on the subject, and she's only involved in the investigation at his insistence (he feels she has good instincts) and against her and her SO's objections. When Rhyme pushes her over the limit by ordering her to dissect a body, she storms off the scene.
  • Man Bites Man: How The Bone Collector meets his end.
  • 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 6th book 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
    • More specifically: 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 Rhyme in revenge for the arrest of her boyfriend.
  • No Name Given: The Coffin Dancer. Joe D'Onofrio is a fake identity.
  • Nobody Poops: Sorta averted. They go into some detail on how Thom has to help Lincoln do his business because, well, he's a quadriplegic.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: 'God' going on the offensive and basically turning everyone into 'Job'
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Pulaski. Sometimes, he comes up with interesting insights in a case, plus he knows Latin, something even Rhyme was impressed about.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: Webley and Peabody in The Stone Monkey
  • Omniscient Database: Lincoln was working on several, 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 find out 8 books in that his last name is 'Reston'
  • Phone-In Detective
  • Plot Twist: Every single book. Sometimes even two in quick succession.
  • Professional Killer: The Coffin Dancer, both Stephen Kall and "Jodie" and the killer in The Twelfth Card. The 'Watchmaker' is one, posing as a psycho.
  • Properly Paranoid: Robert Jorgensen, a poor doctor whose life has been hell after 'God' 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 in the book he thought had "cursed" him.
  • 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 a shootout. The Hardy Twins from the 6th book forward.
  • Red Herring: Goes hand in hand with the Plot Twist.
  • Red Shirt: The poor cyclist cop in The Vanished Man.
  • Right Wing Militia Fanatic: Billy Haven's background in The Skin Collector. Also Pam's mother, one of the victims rescued in the The Bone Collector and what later found to be a domestic terrorist.
  • Rock Beats Laser: How 'God' would get the information from the SSD datapens. More specifically, SSD had a system that would wipe all electronics, be it a pen drive or a cell phone, so 'God' would just write everything down on a legal pad instead.
    • In the climax of The Twelfth Card, Amelia beat down the killer (who has a gun) with a stone.
  • Saying Too Much: How Pam figures out that his boyfriend, Seth, is actually Billy Haven, the unsub in The Skin Collector.
  • Science Marches On: The 2nd book The Coffin Dancer has Rhyme use his new computer, with a blazing speed of 200 Mhz.
  • 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.
  • Servile Snarker: Thom, Rhyme's caregiver.
  • 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 "God". 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.
  • Straight Gay: Thom.
  • Street Smart: FBI Agent Dellray.
  • Stuffed into the Fridge: An ancillary victim in The Coffin Dancer. The real John Sung in The Stone Monkey. A poor cop in The Vanished Man
  • Super OCD: The 'Watchmaker'.
  • Swarm of Rats: One of the victims ends up covered in rats.
  • 10-Minute Retirement: Rhyme, at the beginning of the series.
  • The Dog Was the Mastermind: Several books end like this.
    • 'The Bone Collector' was Lincoln's Doctor.
    • The real 'The Coffin Dancer' first appearance was that of a hobo, and stayed in that character for the majority of the book.
    • In the Stone Monkey, 'The Ghost' was pretending to be an injured chinese illegal immigrant.
    • In the Vanished Man, 'The Conjurer' was not the magician, but his assistant.
    • In the Twelfth Card, the mastermind was the director of a historical archive.
    • The person behind the UN Bombing at the end of The Bone Collector, and behind the plot to kill as many people as possible in a military award ceremony in The Cold Moon was one of the 'Bone Collector' victims that was rescued just in time.
    • In the Broken Window, 'God' is the security guard.
    • In the Skin Collector, 'Billy Haven' is Seth, Pam's boyfriend. Also, 'The Watchmaker' disguised himself as his own lawyer.
  • The Man Behind the Man: 'The Watchmaker' was behind 'Billy Haven'.
  • Theme Serial Killer
    • The Bone Collector is recreating the murders of James Schneider, a fictional serial murder, 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' kills his victims by mixing body modification and poisons, in The Skin Collector.
  • The Triads and the Tongs: 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: Billy Haven's MO is to use a tattoo gun to inject lethal doses of poisons known for not only their lethality but also the pain they can cause into his victims' abdomen.
  • 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: In The Cold Moon, it's present in the other books as well, but to a lesser degree.
  • Un-Person: A variation. 'God' takes possession of people's identities to commit crimes, then plants evidence that leads the police straight to the real, and innocent, people.
    • Then proceeds to Up the ante and do that to the whole investigating team, faking drug test results for some, having the wives of others flagged as illegal immigrants, cutting the power to their apartments and repo their cars.
  • Villainous Breakdown: The Coffin Dancer, after getting shot by Sachs and having his right eye destroyed, still tries to murder his target, slowly crawling towards her, holding a sharp stone in his hands.
  • Who Watches the Watchmen?: 'God' has access and can control all the data.
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: The Coffin Dancer and The Conjurer
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle: Sometimes, the cases seem to have been solved with about a hundred pages left in the book, this can't be, right?
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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
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