Tag Archives: Lincoln Rhyme

Reading book series' in order – how often does it matter?

I read a lot of series of books – Lee Child‘s Jack Reacher books, Ian Rankin‘s Rebus series, Jeffery Deaver‘s Lincoln Rhyme series,  etc, etc & I have religiously read them in the correct order. I think it’s important to read them in the order that they were published, as you are reading them as the author intended & often there are small nuances in books, connecting details, that if you read them out of order could make the stories less effective, make less sense & potentially could ruin subsequent stories by giving away things that you wouldn’t necessarily know, not having  already read the earlier books in the series.

There are other series’ where it doesn’t so much matter whether you read them in any order. Series where  the main characters may remain the same, but because there is little to no chronology to the books, reading them out of order matters less. In these kind of series the author ensures you know what you need to about the main characters. Back references about the main characters  to make sure you know enough to ensure you can read the books in any order you want. The Sherlock Holmes books specifically spring to mind. Each of those books, while about the same core of characters, can be read as individual stand-alone books.

Well, it turns out that I have recently broken my unwritten rule & have read 2 books in a series – out of order. Obviously I didn’t realise at the time that I was doing this, otherwise I would have chosen a different book to read. Unfortunately, the  books in question were part of a series that need to be read in order, especially the 2 I read – Stone Cold & The Collectors, by David Baldacci. Even worse, I read Stone Cold first, then The Collectors & this is definitely one of the cases where reading them out of order ruined the reading. Stone Cold is essentially the continuation of The Collectors & having read Stone Cold first meant that I knew exactly what was going to happen (both the plot & the outcome) before I read it. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoyed reading The Collectors, but I would have enjoyed it far more if I had had no idea what was happening before it happened!

So, my question to you is: How do you feel about reading Series of books out of order?



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The Burning Wire by Jeffery Deaver

A while ago I went to a reading by Jeffery Deaver at Waterstones & had a really great night listening to him talk about his writing process & about his latest book – The Burning Wire & afterward Mr. Deaver signed copies of his books.

The Burning Wire is a Lincoln Rhyme novel, which was excellent news for me – I think that the Lincoln Rhyme series are Deaver’s best. It follows the trail of a man bent on destroying New York City, using the electricity grid as his murder tool. As usual this book featured the usual Rhyme cast of characters – Sachs, Mel, Thom, Polaski & Kathryn Dance (via telephone) & the patented Deaver plot twists & turns, but all that couldn’t save this book! I started reading The Burning Wire on the bus home from the Deaver reading, with his words ringing in my head – Deaver said there was nothing he hated more than an author who gives you a book filled with suspense, drama, excellent characters – in essence everything you could want, then gives you a dud ending. Well, that’s what happened in this book. Deaver’s characters are excellent, the plot is brilliant, it’s full of suspense, drama & unexpected twists & then he goes & throws in the cheesiest ending! Not to mention the boring lessons on electricity! I found myself skimming the more “technical”parts of the book. I wanted a murder mystery, not  Electricity for Dummies!

I seriously wanted to take the book back to Waterstones & tell them that I wanted my money back, that Deaver had ripped me off! Not only do you get the worst ending possible to the mystery, you also get the re-hash of Rhyme’s “will I, won’t I” of exploring the possibilities of surgery to get him out of his chair.

As sad as it makes me to say this – I think that Deaver needs to retire Rhyme, Sachs et al, write something completely new & maybe come back to them in 4 or 5 years.

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The Coffin Dancer ~ by Jeffery Deaver

the-coffin-dancer1I bought The Coffin Dancer a few weeks ago after a trip into The Works (I really should avoid this place!). I had innocently strolled into the store for a quick browse & was almost immediately attacked by 4 books demanding that I buy them “or else”! They were insistent little buggers, too! So, buy them I did & luckily it only set me back £8.50 for 4 books. Bargain, really, lol 🙂

I had been fairly confident I’d already read The Coffin Dancer, but couldn’t for the life of me remember any of the story, so managed to convince myself that maybe I hadn’t read it after all. Which is why this one sat on my sofa un-touched for a few weeks, until a few of the girls from the Book Club Forum started talking about the fact that they were going to read this at the same time as each other, so I thought “Why not join them?” – so I did.

The blurb from the back of the book:

The most dangerous and elusive hitman in the world is visiting New York City – on business………..

Percey Clay, one of America’s foremost pilots and the uncompromising owner of a struggling charter flight service, was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Now she’s the target of the Coffin Dancer.

Brilliant quadriplegic criminalist Lincoln Rhyme knows the killer only too well. He’s the man who’s raised murder to a form of high art; who’s deadliest weapons aren’t guns or knives but his uncanny knowledge of human nature…

And Rhyme must combat both the hitman’s amoral genius and Percey’s headstrong determination if he is to save her.

And keep himself alive.

It turns out that I had indeed read The Coffin Dancer already, but even though I knew this it didn’t take away from the enjoyment of the book & even though I vaguely remembered what was going to happen, Deaver still managed to surprise me with a few of his classic “you think you know what’s happening, but I’m about to prove to you that you’re sadly mistaken” twists, which made the book all the more enjoyable. The Coffin Dancer is the second in the Lincoln Rhyme series of books (the 1st is The Bone Collector, which I read a few years back, after having seen the movie that’s based on the book) & in my opinion, the better of the 2 novels.

The Coffin Dancer  sees Rhyme & the cast from The Bone Collector gather in pursuit of the Coffin Dancer (so called because of a tattoo that the Dancer has on his arm) – a for-hire hitman, who has been hired to kill 3 people who witnessed a crime & are now material witnesses in a trial. The book follows the team as they try to hunt down the Dancer, hopefully preventing him from killing the witnesses. Deaver, the master of the unexpected twist, has written a masterpiece here & it is one I thoroughly enjoyed re-reading!

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