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on 8 August 2016
“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…”

This book is the 11th instalment in the Lincoln Rhyme and Amelia Sachs series and one of the best I have read. Lincoln Rhyme is the quadriplegic criminal investigator who had his first outing in the smash hit The Bone Collector, and this book is a follow up of that story. A young pretty girl who works in a little clothing boutique is found dead in a tunnel under New York city, having gone down to the basement of the boutique to collect more stock and not returning. Her hands have been handcuffed behind her back, and her clothes pulled up to reveal “The Second” freshly tattooed on her stomach. This is no ordinary tattoo though, instead of ink the artist has used poison. On the scene investigators are at a loss and call in the expertise of Rhyme and Sachs to become consultants on the case. There is no one in the New York area better equipped to catch this twisted murderer than these two when it comes to knowledge, experience and technology. Can they catch the insidious killer dubbed “The Skin Collector” before he finishes his masterplan?

Billy Haven is a loner, a talented tattoo artist with a special penchant for skin, but more than this he is a meticulous killer with the deadliest of poison as his chosen tattoo ink. Billy is looking for his “Lovely Girl” who was taken away from him to soon. Is he killing these women in the image of his “Lovely Girl” or is there something far more complex afoot?

This story had me utterly gripped from the beginning, and in true Deaver style he had thoroughly researched all subjects and issues touched upon in the book. If you are a fan of Deaver you will be familiar with the predictably unpredictable plot and attention to detail that gives all his work a winning formula, and this was no different. Plot twists, yes there were many, keeping the reader guessing right to the end. The storyline changed direction at least three times, and every time I thought the story was over another layer was peeled off to reveal something even more surprising underneath.

I loved this book. I like reading something that challenges me, and this book certainly did. The detail Deaver has went into on tattooing and body modification is immense, alongside his usual insights into history and forensic science meaning this book is not suitable for someone who is looking for an easy read. If you don’t like too many facts being mixed in with fiction then this book is not for you, but for me it was perfection.

5 stars.
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on 3 May 2017
This was a step up from the Kill Room, definitely on the way back to classic Rhyme. I enjoyed it until the rather disappointing ending, although there were too many failed attempts at introducing tension only to have the crisis miraculously resolved in the next chapter because Rhyme had figured it all out while we were busy reading about it. I don't feel any tension when Rhyme or Sachs are in danger because, come on, they are not going to die.


In the end however I was really disappointed to see yet again that the Watchmaker was behind it all. Wasn't that the EXACT premise of the Burning Wire? I was delighted when I heard he'd been killed off as it was all getting very silly and supervillain-ish with Rhyme as Holmes and the Watchmaker as Moriarty. Then it turned out he'd faked his death and here we go again...
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 26 July 2016
I started out at a big Lincoln Rhyme fan. He was something very different from the run of the mill mystery solver but as years passed and more and more Jeffery Deaver books came out, it all started to feel a bit too 'samey'. I had pretty much decided it was time to move on and leave the quadriplegic forensic expert behind me and then Amazon did a 99p deal on Kindle and I picked up the two I hadn't yet read.

There's something quite comforting about the deeply familiar plots, the predictable twists and turns, the entirely expected diversions and deceits. But the problem is I've had too much Rhyme and I know exactly where he's going.

Some of his earlier books were sheer genius but now it just feels like he could plug a few details into a computer and let it write the book for him. The 'algorithm' is over-used and worn out. I can honestly say there wasn't a twist or turn that I hadn't seen coming a long time before it was revealed.

Compared to most thriller writers, Deaver still chucks out a good book but I want something that surprises me at least a few times.
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on 1 November 2017
A smart a**e detective who can solve every puzzle except when it's convenient for him to get it wrong for plot purposes.
But most annoying is the constant reference to past opponents/books.
It's either a blatant attempt at selling those books or a lack of imagination in moving forward with his tales.
The last 10% ( including a segment of his next book) are just plain unecesarry and a further attempt to prolong his past baddies.
If the author had the imagination and courage to make this a standalone novel it would have been quite good. So 5 stars down to 3 max.
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on 11 August 2014
As an avid JD fan I know that not everything that he has written is of the same quality and some of his work over recent years has been suspect at best. So it was with wriggling delight that I found that The Skin Collector is a storming back to literary heights for Mr D. All of our favourite characters from the Rhymme series are assembled here and, by the end of the book, one of them is left with a potentially crippling ailment (other than LR of course).

There are two traits that set a good Jeffery Deaver story above almost all others. The first of those is the labyrinth of plot twists that just keeps on going such that, just when you think that you've got to the heart of the real plot, it turns again. 'Goodies' are revealed as 'baddies' and vice versa. What really makes this work is the second trait; the use of language to manipulate. The words, sentences, paragraphs and phrases that are so, apparently, carelessly strewn across the page to set out the story are, actually, extremely carefully crafted to paint a picture in the mind of the reader that can, often turn out to be false. When a plot twist hits you like a slap in the face, you automatically think "That's not right, it said (insert thoughts of your choice) a few chapters ago" and, sometimes with indignation, you scroll back to re-read the offending section. That's when you discover that it didn't actually say what you thought that it did; you've just been manipulated into creating a false 'mind picture' by a very clever use of words; you have ASSUMED something not written and that has lead you astray. A common ruse is to have a character say something which you, as the reader, take as truth when, some time later, it is revealed that either the character was wrong or, it turns out, is a 'baddie' who was lying. I've read just about everything that JD has written and, even though I know his style and what to look out for, it still catches me out every single time. The Skin Collector is a masterclass in this style of deception.

If I must find fault it is with the sheer perfection in everything that Lincoln and Amelia do; it is impossible to fool them or trap them and they spot every pitfall, however fiendishly well crafted the trap is. I'd like to cite an example but it's difficult to do so without revealing a spoiler, but there is one point at which Amelia spots something, across a dark and dingy area, that is so small that it can hardly be seen by the naked eye even when close up. In this novel, Lincoln and Amelia are just that bit too infallible. There are also a couple of surprising technical glitches in the plot, such as the story relying on the fact that a newly 'needled' tattoo would appear exactly the same as an old tattoo instead of red, swollen and blotchy. But these complaints are like receiving a cheque for a large lottery win and complaining that the paper of the cheque is a bit thin.

Most of the peripheral characters in a JD novel are unsympathetic creations but, every now and then, a strong and likeable character turns up. Sometimes, such as with Kathryn Dance, these characters go on to be developed into the main hero of their own novel. The Skin Collector includes a couple of interesting characters that I'd like to see more of although quite how that would work beats me.

For me, this isn't the best novel that JD has written but it is right up there among the top contenders. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 21 March 2015
Unsub 11-5 is drugging women unconscious then killing them by tattooing (sorry, that should read inking or modding, a "body art" fact I picked up reading this novel) them with poison. After that it just gets complicated and I will warn any potential readers that you need your concentration cap on to read this book - I found it hard sometimes to keep up with all the twists and turns, but maybe that's because I was only reading in short bursts instead of immersing myself.
I am full of admiration for Mr Deaver's mind as his plotting never ceases to amaze me. Just as I think I've got it sussed he throws in more twists, most I don't see coming. This is a great read, extremely improbable and implausible, but if you just want a book to hold your attention and tease your brain about what's coming next for a few hours you couldn't do better than The Skin Collector.
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on 5 September 2017
This is a brilliant read. Just when you think everything is about to be neatly wrapped up, Deaver throws in another twist. So well written as always and Lincoln Rhyme is a wonderful creation - not your normal `detective`. As good as the very first Rhyme book, although this is the 11th, the series just keeps on getting better.
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on 20 June 2014

I'm a sucker for Lincoln Rhyme books and this one was brilliant. I did guess the twist but that didn't take anything away from the story. You have to suspend your belief in the realities of science a little to enjoy the books but it is fun seeing the jigsaw pieces of the crime scene be put together and what might be possible in an ideal world with no budgets.

Whilst I understand the people who are saying that they are becoming a little formulaic but there are enough differences book to book for me for it not to matter.

I didn't find this a true page turner but the story pulled me along nicely and as I said for me Lincoln can do no wrong so I would just keep reading anyway. Set up for the next book so hopefully that will be a stormer.
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on 18 August 2015
Good concept, but disappointly handled. Anyone who has read "SKIN" by Mo Hayder (DI Caffery series) will know that her work can never be equalled, must less excelled. This theme has been used elsewhere too, and always to better effect. Maybe it's because I definitely do not like the invalided Lincoln Rhyme. He is a narcissistic, self-pitying, bossy, insensitive bore. Unfortunately, he is also the genius detective mind of the book. To enjoy one, you have to endure the other. Very much regret buying other Lincoln Rhyme books. He is a real pain in the backside. Buy Mo Hayder instead. She was, is, and remains, at the top of the blood freezing thriller genre.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 23 November 2014
Im really chuffed with this. My husband does a lot of reading but has enjoyed the Jeffrey Deaver Lincoln Rymes stories best of all. Now its very strange but he obviously hasnt realised that the long awaited follow up to the bone collector has been released and i came across this when looking for Xmas gifts. He will be thrilled. Deavers books are crime novels with a usual grisly touch. They are real page turners and full of intrigue and suspence. Most people will have seen the bone collector on TV or at the cinema so you kind of know how the story is going to go. My husband reckons they are even better to read than to watch. So if you are a fan of this kind of novel and you havent read Deaver before get the bone collector first and then order this.
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