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The Coffin Dancer (1999)

The Coffin Dancer (1999)

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4.14 of 5 Votes: 2
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0671024094 (ISBN13: 9780671024093)
pocket books

About book The Coffin Dancer (1999)

If you haven't read The Coffin Dancer, and you want the plot to surprise you, do not read my review after this first paragraph -- do not read anyone's review. I don't know whether I'm quicker or slower on the uptake than the average reader of Deaver's work, but a cursory glance at reviews here was enough to flick the switches in my brain and have me figuring things out ahead of Rhyme and co. So if you want to be left reeling, play it safe and stay out of people's reviews.Yeah, there was some stuff that I didn't get, but it was mostly the minor stuff. The Chekhov's guns, the little details that locked possibilities into probabilities. (Which, by the way, I deeply admired. There is literal Chekhov's gun moment, and I loved it.) The betrayals, identity issues (still trying not to spoil it for the unwary reader), the motives -- that I got. I still think it was well done, in all those respects, but I envy people who get to come to this novel without any clues beforehand.What caught me off guard was how much I care. Lincoln Rhyme could be my modern Peter Wimsey: a detective I become invested in on a personal level as well as just for the mysteries. That adds so much to these sorts of stories. Like, I was somewhat ambivalent about NCIS, because Gibbs seemed so goddamn immortal, and it was just about wrapping up the case, and then came the end of season two and then over the whole course of the show, more and more comes spilling out about Gibbs' past and just -- yeah. And I have that investment here, already, in Sachs and Rhyme. Less so in the supporting cast, but still. I found myself feeling edgy, because I wasn't sure if things would go right, on a personal level as well as in terms of the case.Couple of things did bother me: the latent homosexuality thing, the abused as a child thing, the killer with OCD thing. Come on. I wrote essays about crime fiction from decades before doing this sort of thing. It's not new. It's a cliché. Can we move on, now?

As too often, this rating is a compromise. If you love police procedurals with amazingly convoluted plots and even more amazingly ingenious fitting together of puzzle pieces, you'll give this five stars: It may have the most intricate manipulation of clues and motivations of anything I've read.On the other hand, if you like your plots to have at least the tiniest connection to reality and your villains to behave in the slightest like living human beings, you'll end up beyond frustration.I read "The Bone Collector" by Deaver sometime back and recall liking it pretty well. The same main character, quadriplegic forensic investigator Lincoln Rhymes, here attempts to thwart the machinations of the Coffin Dancer, a hired assassin who has never been caught, bested or even seen by his employers. 90% of the book is given to Rhymes and his introduced adversary (an extremely well detailed character – more interesting in many ways than Rhymes) continually outthinking each other in mental rollovers so convoluted that, to me, they make no earthly sense in even the most farfetched of criminal fairylands.But then we come to the denouement, where the unlikely – already beyond farfetched – advances to ludicrous. You can't help admiring as the forensic pudding congeals into a nested set of tiny gear noodles. But if you give a royal damn about actual human behavior, you're left in a dark, empty space.

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The second book in the Rhyme/Amelia series shows them facing a killer that is almost as smart as they are. The Coffin Dancer is an old nemesis of Lincoln Rhyme and the man he most desperately wants to catch for personal reasons as much as professional. He is a hired killer and his next assignment is to kill two federal witnesses, who may testify against an arms dealer, and Rhymes is determined to stop him. As in The Bone Collector Amelia does the legwork and Rhymes analyses the information and decides where to look in a fight against time to keep everyone safe. Unfortunately, not all the witnesses like to stay put and safe and it seems the killer is working with a partner so not only they have to follow the puzzling leads but they also have to control the witnesses. Deaver manages to include quite a few surprising plots twists in the action and the book really is a page-turner. I quite liked how he developed Rhymes and Amelia’s relationship, it wasn’t always easy for Amelia and she was a bit lost for the a while but the end is promising. Grade: 4/5
—Ana T.

I'm hooked on this series. I absolutely love Lincoln Rhyme and his cohorts. The story is very fast paced that allows the reader to discover the "bad guy" at the same time as the characters. There never seems to be hidden evidence that only the characters are privy too. I want to figure out who-dun-it before Mr. Rhyme. Doesn't usually happen. I enjoyed the different locales this book was set in. There is a very technical aspects to this novel; bombs, airplanes, subways but as a reader I kept up with the info. I enjoys Lincoln and Amelia relationship. I will be interesting to see it develop.
—Lisa Gines

Read this during my (mentioned before) Jeffery Deaver/Lincoln Rhyme "period". In this outing an old enemy who has killed some of Lincoln's assistants in the past returns. Lincoln unfazed by this bravely sends Amelia after him anyway....:) (little dark humor there). (Let's you and him fight :))The Dancer is one of Rhyme's deadliest foes...and I found one glitch in the story the conspicuous tattoo that figures so significantly in the story. I won't go into why here as that would be a huge spoiler, but I think you'll see what I mean if you read this one.
—Mike (the Paladin)

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