A DetectiveDrama 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 ([[RelationshipUpgrade 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 [[SerialKiller serial killers]], [[ProfessionalKiller assassins]], and [[PsychoForHire 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 Film/TheBoneCollector''

'''All book titles below are unmarked. As the series thrives on readers knowing nothing of each plot, beware of inherent spoilers.'''
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!!This series contains examples of:

* ACupAngst: Lucy Kerr in ''The Empty Chair''. Justified as she actually lost her breasts to cancer.
* ArchEnemy: The Watchmaker, who is as intelligent as Rhyme and is to date the only BigBad to evade capture for multiple books.
** The Coffin Dancer, another ProfessionalKiller, was implied to be this in the past [[spoiler: after one of his bombs killed someone Rhyme loved.]]
** To a lesser degree, [[spoiler: Charlotte the MadBomber from the end of ''The Bone Collector'',]] who reappears in ''The Cold Moon'' as TheManBehindTheMan.
* ADateWithRosiePalms: Garret Haldon in ''The Empty Chair'' -- but then again, he's a 16 year old kid.
* AloneWithThePsycho: Many of the books have Rhyme or Sachs trapped alone with a killer at some point.
** ''The Bone Collector'': [[spoiler: Both Sachs and Rhyme are subjected to this in the climax. The killer first ambushes Sachs in her house and [[BuriedAlive 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'': [[spoiler: 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'': [[spoiler: Subverted when Rhyme is alone with [[DirtyCop 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'': [[spoiler: Every chapter Amelia spends with John Sung retroactively becomes this when it's revealed that he is the Ghost pulling a DeadPersonImpersonation.]]
** ''The Vanished Man'': [[spoiler: 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'': [[spoiler: Amelia winds up trapped in 522's [[TrashOfTheTitans hoarder maze]] and is hunted by him until the police barge in.]]
** ''The Burning Wire'': [[spoiler: The Watchmaker sneaks into Rhyme's room and prepares to kill him with an electrical circuit. Good thing Rhyme anticipated this.]]
** ''The Skin Collector'': [[spoiler: 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'': [[spoiler: 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.]]
* AnArmAndALeg: [[spoiler: Detective Banks]] loses an arm in ''The Coffin Dancer'', courtesy of Stephen Kall.
* AndTheAdventureContinues: ''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 [[spoiler: ''The Cold Moon'' nine years later]] for the [[spoiler: RightWingMilitiaFanatic MadBomber]] from ''The Bone Collector'' to be revisited.
* ArmorIsUseless: 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.
* AscendedExtra: 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 [[PsychoForHire Stephen Kall]] while brandishing [[GunsAkimbo two guns]] in a [[GunKata close quarters gunfight]] ''in a burning building''. He ends up replacing [[spoiler: Banks after he's PutOnABus 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.
* AsYouKnow: 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 GunsAkimbo and has gone toe-to-toe with a multitude of dangerous criminals.
** Stephen Kall in ''The Coffin Dancer'' is a PsychoSoldier turned ProfessionalKiller 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 OneManArmy portrayed in the series. [[spoiler: The real Coffin Dancer, Jodie, is all of the above and more, with the added bonus of being a MasterOfDisguise.]]
** Kwan Ang, [[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast 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. [[spoiler: This foreshadows his true nature as a ProfessionalKiller.]]
** Jacob Swann from ''The Kill Room''. One only needs to look at the climax of the novel, in which he [[spoiler: outruns a massive police sting including a helicopter, smashes through a glass door, and engages in a [[GoodOldFisticuffs fist fight]]-turned-KnifeFight with Sachs that lasts over several minutes, not stopping when his hand is impaled on Sachs's blade]].
* BadassGay: Thom shows himself to be capable of some pretty badass feats when the time calls for it, from [[spoiler: 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 BerserkerRage in ''The Burning Wire''.
** In ''The Coffin Dancer'', [[spoiler: Stephen Kall turns out to be an ArmoredClosetGay with an attraction to Jodie. He still ranks as one of the most competent and deadly villains in the series.]]
* BatmanGambit: 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.
* BigBad: The Watchmaker is a good candidate for the main villain of the series.
* BigBrotherIsWatching: 522 can spy on his victims and set them up for any number of misfortunes without being anywhere nearby. [[spoiler: 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.]]
* BigEater: Vernon in ''The Steel Kiss'', who can scarf down a dozen burgers without feeling satisfied despite being notably skinny.
* TheCameo: Kara, the magician apprentice from ''The Vanished Man'' reappears in ''The Twelfth Card'' to help with a clue.
** Kathryn Dance, originally an AscendedExtra 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.
* CharacterDevelopment: Over the course of the series, Rhyme goes from a reclusive, suicidal [[TheAlcoholic alcoholic]] to a moderately well-adjusted man with a host of [[TrueCompanions true friends]] and a stable relationship. [[spoiler: He even regains the use of his right arm at the end of ''The Burning Wire''.]] The alcoholism is here to stay, though.
* ChastityCouple: 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. [[spoiler: At least, not initially -- they start actively sleeping together in later books.]]
* ChekhovsGunman: Just about every damn book features one or more.
* TheChessMaster: 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''.
* ColdBloodedTorture: The Ghost, 522, and Jacob Swann are all fond of slowly killing people with various types of blades.
* CoolCar: Sachs' 1969 Camaro. [[spoiler: 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.]]
* TheCracker: 522 / [[spoiler: John Rollins]] in ''The Broken Window''.
* CrazyPrepared: 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.
* CreepySouvenir: No points awarded for guessing what the titular villain of ''The Bone Collector'' collects.
* CruelAndUnusualDeath: One of the first victims in ''The Bone Collector'' is basically [[BodyHorror 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. [[spoiler: 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.]]
** [[PsychoForHire 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 [[MercyKill kill him]].
* DeadPersonImpersonation: In ''The Vanished Man'', [[spoiler: the Conjurer is actually Eric Weir's assistant, not the man himself.]]
** [[spoiler:522 is impersonating John Rollins]] in ''The Broken Window''.
** [[spoiler: The Watchmaker kills electrician Raymond Galt, takes his identity, and frames him for the crimes]] in ''The Burning Wire''.
* DeepSouth: ''The Empty Chair'' takes place here, and is currently the only entry in the series to take place entirely outside of New York.
* DirtyCop: 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''. [[spoiler: 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. [[spoiler: One of them tries to kill her after she learns too much, but the Watchmaker sabotages his attempt.]]
* DisabilityAsAnExcuseForJerkassery: Rhyme is made of this, especially at the beginning. Even after he undergoes CharacterDevelopment [[spoiler: and starts regaining some mobility]], he's still a comical dick to people who slightly annoy him.
* DoingInTheWizard: 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.
* DrivenToSuicide: 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 [[spoiler: the whole case was the killer's way of making Rhyme care about living again so killing him would be satisfying.]]
** [[spoiler: Vernon's brother Peter]] in ''The Steel Kiss''.
* DroppedABridgeOnHim: [[spoiler: Stephen Kall]] is KilledOffscreen by [[spoiler: the real BigBad]] in ''The Coffin Dancer''. His corpse is unceremoniously identified just before his killer is revealed.
* DropTheHammer: The People's Guardian / Vernon Griffith bludgeons people to death with a ball-peen hammer in ''The Steel Kiss''.
* EvilIsPetty: 522 in ''The Broken Window'' is a PsychopathicManchild hacker who robs, rapes, murders, frames, and otherwise torments random people for pure fun. His FreudianExcuse -- [[spoiler: being raised by AbusiveParents who neglected to address his clear hoarding problem and mental instability]] -- doesn't even begin to explain or justify the lengths he goes to.
* EvilLuddite: Unsub 40 / The People's Guardian / Vernon Griffith in ''The Steel Kiss'' hates "Shoppers" and kills people with electronics to make a point. [[spoiler: 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.]]
* ExtremelyShortTimespan: 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 [[RaceAgainstTheClock within the first 48 hours]] or not at all, this counts as TruthInTelevision.
* EyeScream: Near the end of ''The Coffin Dancer'', [[spoiler: the titular [[ProfessionalKiller assassin]] is shot through his rifle scope by Amelia, filling his eye with bullet fragments and glass shards. He lives.]]
* FairCop: Rhyme is described as a young and handsome version of Creator/RobertDeNiro, despite being in his forties. Amelia Sachs is a more straight case considering she's a former model.
* FakingTheDead: [[spoiler: The Conjurer fakes [[BoomHeadshot being shot in the head]] during a prison transfer and escapes]] in the ''The Vanished Man''.
** [[spoiler: The Watchmaker]] in ''The Skin Collector'' has been faking from the start. [[spoiler: 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.]]
* FatBastard: The Watchmaker's partner in ''The Cold Moon'', an obese serial rapist named Vincent.
* FishOutOfWater: 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.
* ForTheEvulz: 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.
* FreudianExcuse: Many of the villains have one.
** The Bone Collector [[spoiler: watched his family die in front of him because of Rhyme's error in judgement.]]
** Stephen Kall [[spoiler: 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 [[spoiler: lost his teacher Erick Weir in the circus fire.]]
** The Watchmaker has a notably [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking low-key]] one for the ostensible series BigBad: [[spoiler: his parents neglected him, so he started organizing things to stave off boredom.]]
** 522 [[spoiler: 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 [[spoiler: got cancer from the power lines where he worked.]] At least, [[spoiler: 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. [[KnifeNut His acquired skills with knives, on the other hand, stuck with him for life.]]
** Billy Haven [[spoiler: was indoctrinated by a brutal, racist [[RightWingMilitiaFanatic right-wing militia]] throughout his life, and has been forced into an [[VillainousIncest incestuous relationship]] with his aunt from the age of thirteen on.]]
** Vernon Griffith [[spoiler: 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.]]
* FunWithAcronyms: Roland Bell is fond of them.
* GeekPhysiques: 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.
* GeniusCripple: Lincoln Rhyme, a [[ExaggeratedTrope genius quadriplegic]].
* GovernmentConspiracy: The plot of ''The Kill Room'' revolves around the government assassination of an American citizen in the Bahamas and a subsequent coverup. [[spoiler: However, while they are responsible for the hit, the KnifeNut PsychoForHire cleaning up witnesses is completely unaffiliated.]]
* GPSEvidence: 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. [[JustifiedTrope Justified]] in that the more unique evidence is, the easier it is to trace.
* TheGunslinger: Sachs, who even got a perfect score on the three gun competition.
* HardboiledDetective: Sonny Li in ''The Stone Monkey''.
* HalfTheManHeUsedToBe: 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.
* HeroesWantRedHeads: 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.
* HeroWorshipper: Pulaski towards Rhyme, Sachs, and Sellitto. Also, in ''The Broken Window'', [[spoiler: 522 towards Andrew Sterling, the CEO of SSD, whom he looks up to as his God]].
* HeroicSacrifice: In ''The Stone Monkey'', [[spoiler: 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, [[spoiler: 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'' [[spoiler: 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.]]
* HoistByHisOwnPetard: The Conjurer excels at distracting the cops with complicated illusions. [[spoiler: 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 ItsAllAboutMe.
* ImpossiblyTackyClothes: Dellray is always described as wearing the worst possible outfits out there, including green plaid suits and bright neon orange shirts.
* ImprobableAimingSkills: 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. [[spoiler: As it's actually a drone that pulled this off, this is [[SubvertedTrope subverted]].]]
* INeedYouStronger: In ''The Bone Collector'', this is [[spoiler: 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]].
* InsufferableGenius: Lincoln Rhyme is brilliant and doesn't have a problem showing it off. He is rough and rude to just about everybody.
* InterserviceRivalry: 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.
* ItsAllAboutMe: 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.
* ItsPersonal: The killer's motivation [[spoiler: against Rhyme]] in ''The Bone Collector'', and Rhyme himself in ''The Coffin Dancer'' and whenever the Watchmaker is around.
* JackTheRipoff: The Bone Collector, [[spoiler: aka Dr. Taylor / Colin Stanton, bases his crimes off the murders of another bone-obsessed killer from 1800s with whom he feels kinship.]]
* KnifeNut: Jacob Swann in ''The Kill Room'' is obsessed with knives, preferring to dispatch people by flaying them slowly.
* LateArrivalSpoiler: The fact that the Watchmaker is a ProfessionalKiller who escapes and goes on to become Lincoln's ArchEnemy forms the entire climax of ''The Cold Moon'', but subsequent books (and this page) are open about it by necessity.
* LeaningOnTheFourthWall: The Conjurer in ''The Vanished Man'' tends to do this in his internal monologues, in which he addresses the reader as his audience.
* LifeOrLimbDecision: 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''.
* LocardsTheory: Brought up in every book, and sometimes directly quoted.
* ManBitesMan: At the end of ''The Bone Collector'', [[spoiler: Rhyme bites through Stanton's throat after faking a dysreflexia attack.]]
* MasterOfDisguise: Several of the Unsubs, like the Coffin Dancer and the Conjurer. Dellray is a heroic example.
* NaiveNewcomer: Pulaski, from ''The Twelfth Card'' forward. He's eager to learn and always looks up to Rhyme, Sachs and Sellito.
* NewYorkCityCops
* NiceJobBreakingItHero:
** Part of the [[spoiler: twist endings]] of ''The Bone Collector'' and ''The Empty Chair''. [[spoiler: 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 TenMinuteRetirement right before the start of ''The Steel Kiss''. [[spoiler: 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.]]
* NoNameGiven: ''The Coffin Dancer'' turns out to have an example: [[spoiler: Joe D'Onofrio is a fake identity, and Stephen Kall is not the same killer, so we never learn the Dancer's name.]]
* NobodyPoops: Averted. They go into some detail on how Thom has to help Lincoln do his business because, well, he's a quadriplegic.
* ObfuscatingStupidity: Pulaski. Sometimes, he comes up with interesting insights in a case, and he knows Latin, something even Rhyme was impressed about.
* OmniscientDatabase: Lincoln was working on several, and he's dismayed to find out some were not completed once he was out of the force.
* OnlyKnownByTheirNickname: Kara.
* OnlyOneName: Thom. We don't find out that his last name is 'Reston' until ''The Broken Window''.
* OrgyOfEvidence: 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.
* PhoneInDetective: Rhyme.
* PlotTwist: 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.
** TwistEnding: ''The Bone Collector'' ([[spoiler: Carol Ganz is a terrorist who bombs the embassy]]), ''The Empty Chair'' ([[spoiler: Lydia the nurse was affiliated with the conspirators and sabotages Rhyme's surgery]]), and ''The Skin Collector'' ([[spoiler: the Watchmaker was FakingTheDead]]).
* ProfessionalKiller: The Coffin Dancer ([[spoiler: both Stephen Kall and "Jodie"]]), Thompson Boyd in ''The Twelfth Card'', [[BigBad the Watchmaker]], and Jacob Swann in ''The Kill Room''.
* ProperlyParanoid: Robert Jorgensen, a poor doctor whose life has been hell after 522 decided to steal everything from him.
** TheCloudcuckoolanderWasRight: 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.
* PsychoForHire: Stephen Kall in ''The Coffin Dancer'' is a reliable, world-renowned mercenary and ProfessionalKiller. 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 ColdBloodedTorture on his victims by [[KnifeNut using various types of knives]] to shred flesh like he's cooking is of no concern to his employers.
* PsychopathicManchild: 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.
* PutOnABus: [[spoiler: Detective Banks after losing an arm]] in ''The Coffin Dancer'', and [[spoiler: the Hardy Twins]] from ''The Twelfth Card'' forward.
* RaceAgainstTheClock: 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.
* RedHerring: Goes hand in hand with the PlotTwist.
* RedShirt: The poor cyclist cop in ''The Vanished Man''.
* RightWingMilitiaFanatic: 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 [[spoiler: ''The Cold Moon'' and ''The Skin Collector''.]]
* RockBeatsLaser: A major element of ''The Broken Window'': [[spoiler: 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'', [[spoiler: Amelia beats down the killer (who has a gun) with a stone.]]
* SayingTooMuch: [[spoiler: How Pam figures out that her boyfriend Seth [=McGuinn=] is really Billy Haven]] in ''The Skin Collector''.
* ScrewThisImOuttaHere: 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''.
* SelfDeprecation: 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, [[TakeThatMe expressing a poor opinion of the man in the process]].
* ServileSnarker: Thom, Rhyme's caregiver; see VitriolicBestBuds.
* ShoutOut: To ''Literature/JourneyToTheWest'' in "The Stone Monkey".
* ShownTheirWork: Jeffery Deaver takes great care in researching things related to each case or the story as a whole.
* SpannerInTheWorks: [[spoiler:Robert Jorgensen]] in ''The Broken Window'' [[spoiler: 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.]]
* StateSec: NIOS comes off as this in ''The Kill Room''.
* StillbornFranchise: The [[Film/TheBoneCollector film version]] of the first book never spawned sequels.
* StraightGay: Thom isn't explicitly identified as gay until ''The Empty Chair'', and he displays very few stereotypical mannerisms.
* StreetSmart: Fred Dellray exploits this trait and his [[MasterOfDisguise penchant for disguises]] to blend into gangs and make busts.
* SuperOCD: The Watchmaker.
* SwarmOfRats: One of the victims of the Bone Collector ends up covered in rats.
* SympathyForTheDevil: At the end of ''The Steel Kiss'', [[spoiler: 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.]]
* TenMinuteRetirement: 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.
* TheDogWasTheMastermind: Several books end like this.
** The Bone Collector is [[spoiler: Lincoln's doctor, Peter Taylor, who is actually the supposedly dead Colin Stanton from the story Rhyme told Sachs.]]
** In ''The Coffin Dancer'', [[spoiler: the titular assassin is not Stephen Kall, but the scrawny homeless guy who joined up with him midway through.]]
** In ''The Stone Monkey'', [[spoiler: the Ghost is pretending to be Dr. John Sung, the immigrant he killed on the beach at the start.]]
** In ''The Vanished Man'', [[spoiler: the Conjurer was not Erick Weir, but his assistant.]]
** The mastermind behind the events of ''The Twelfth Card'' is [[spoiler: the owner of the historical archive.]]
** In ''The Broken Window'', [[spoiler: 522 is a random security guard at SSD]].
** The Skin Collector, aka Billy Haven, is [[spoiler: [=Seth McGuinn=], Pam's boyfriend. Also, the Watchmaker was FakingTheDead and disguised himself as his own lawyer.]]
** Vernon Griffith is [[spoiler: taking orders from his girlfriend Alicia, who is the real mastermind and sole beneficiary of the People's Guardian scheme.]]
* TheManBehindTheMan: In ''The Skin Collector'', Billy Haven's teacher was [[spoiler: the Watchmaker.]]
* ThemeSerialKiller
** The Bone Collector ([[spoiler: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 [[spoiler: 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.
* TheTriadsAndTheTongs: Present in ''The Stone Monkey''.
* ThoseTwoGuys: Detectives Bedding and Saul, AKA The Hardy Twins.
* TitleDrop: ''The Bone Collector'', ''The Coffin Dancer'', ''The Empty Chair'', ''The Vanished Man'', ''The Kill Room''.
* ToThePain: Jacob Swann in ''The Kill Room'' is fond of describing exactly how he will go about mutilating his victims when they're helpless.
* TroubledButCute: Sachs, who tends to chew her nails or scratch her scalp until she starts bleeding.
** To a lesser degree, [[spoiler: Garret Haldon]] in ''The Empty Chair''.
* TwoLinesNoWaiting: 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.
* UnPerson: 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.
* VillainousBreakdown: In ''The Coffin Dancer'', [[spoiler: 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.]]
* VitriolicBestBuds: Lincoln and his caregiver, Thom. They [[SnarkToSnarkCombat 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.
* WhoWatchesTheWatchmen: 522 has access to almost all data and can manipulate it to suit his own ends.
* XanatosSpeedChess: The Coffin Dancer, the Conjurer, and the Watchmaker are all masters of it.
* YourPrincessIsInAnotherCastle: Sometimes, the cases seem to have been solved with about a hundred pages left in the book. This is a good indicator that a PlotTwist or seven are about to be dropped into Lincoln's lap.