Thursday, July 10, 2014

Book Review - "The Skin Collector" by Jeffery Deaver (No Spoilers)

Two weeks ago, Pirates fans were lamenting the fact that the team had traded relief pitcher and fan favorite Jason Grilli, and many of the comments were along the lines of "it's hard to watch when a favorite athlete ages and can no longer perform at his previous high level".

Well, the same can be said of just about anybody in any profession - actor, singer, Highmark Client Manager, and author.  

Which brings us to Jeffery Deaver and his series of mystery/thriller novels featuring quadriplegic criminalist Lincoln Rhyme.  I have read all of Deaver's Rhyme novels, and enjoyed them.  They were gripping to read, and always featured a twist at the end that surprised you.

A couple of books back in the series, I thought that the tone of the stories was slipping into formula and that the characters were becoming really annoying.  I wrote it off, figuring that anyone is entitled to an off-day, but with this most recent novel in the series, "The Skin Collector", I have to say that if Lincoln Rhyme were baseball player, it would be time designate him for assignment.

Rhyme's acerbic reactions to just about everybody, Amelia Sachs' fearlessness in the face of EVERYTHING, including how she drives her muscle car, and Rhyme's ability to be able to  just pull his solutions out of the air based upon his analysis of evidence have all reached the point where I am just pretty much tired of it.  Rhyme studies evidence, and the evidence in this story is presented in such minute and scientific detail, that I just want to say "enough, already!"

Also, the criminal protagonist in this book, does his dirty work by tattooing his victims.  I didn't do an actual count, but it seems like Deaver went into SO MUCH detail about the art, history, and significance of tattoos in different cultures, that I am thinking the book could have been reduced by about thirty pages if he edited himself just a little bit.  It all came across to me as a bunch of self-indulgent "look how smart I am" kind of writing.

I will say this, though.  Deaver did come through with the twist ending.  As with all of these books, it appears to be all wrapped up, when you realize that there are still about 75 pages left in the story, and the twist that you didn't see coming is delivered.  Trouble is, by that point in "The Skin Collector", I had ceased caring and was just plowing through it to get to the end. 

Deaver will no doubt continue to churn out the Rhyme novels (as a cliff hanger ending to this one assures us), but I am not so sure I'll be all that anxious to read them.  Too bad that one of my favorite authors and characters have come to this.

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